IGE Research Associate Program
The Institute for Global Engagement’s Research Associate (RA) Program equips college students and recent graduates for careers in international affairs by providing them with valuable experience in a faith-based non-profit organization that works at the nexus of religion and politics in Washington, D.C., and worldwide. As young adults begin their careers in international affairs, one of the biggest hurdles is the requirement of many positions to have some experience in an established organization. Working at IGE provides this experience in a fast paced but learning environment that strengthens and prepares RAs for a career in the field of international relations.
One of IGE’s key tenets is “first understand, then engage.” We are always in the process of learning more about the world so that we might be better prepared to model the transformative power of Christ in addressing global issues. It is this perspective that forms and informs our two-track RA program. The intern (unpaid) track is for current college students and is offered three times each year to select students. The fellows (paid) track is for recent college graduates and takes place over a nine month period. Both programs develop RAs spiritually and administratively while deepening an international awareness. Combined with intensive mentoring, leadership classes, field trips and various responsibilities and opportunities to lead, a well-rounded leader is the result.
Our Intern Program is open to select undergraduate and graduate students. The internship takes place September through December, January through early May, and late May through August. During the academic year a part-time commitment is expected (at least 15 hours per week), and during the summer a full-time commitment is expected (8:30 am-5:30 pm Monday-Friday). We work carefully to tailor these internships in accordance with IGE’s needs and the interest and passions of each RA.
IGE’s fellows program provides for three positions: East Asia Fellow, Council on Faith & International Affairs Fellow, and a Middle East Fellow. Our Fellows Program is open to college graduates 21 years or older. A nine-month commitment is required, and participants will be paid a monthly stipend of $1,750. The fellowship begins in September, 2008 and ends in May, 2009. A full-time commitment is expected (8:30 am-5:30 pm Monday-Friday), with sufficient time allowed for job searching and interviews.
Application Schedule for 2008
Summer(2 June): Due by 15 April
Fall (1 Sept.): Due by 15 July
Spring 2009 (5 Jan.): Due by 15 October
Due by 30 May
What does a Research Associate look like?
Potential RAs must possess excellent research and writing skills, independent work ability, a personal and professional standard of excellence, a deep Christian faith commitment, and a desire to live out their faith in the context of the broader global community. Candidates must enjoy strategic thinking, attention-to-detail, and multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment. While RAs report directly to the RA Coordinator, they will work closely with all staff members, including the President. RAs make an invaluable contribution both to IGE’s work and staff, and are welcomed to the organization as colleagues and friends.
Each RA will function as an entry-level staff assistant. Depending on their specific area of interest and the needs of the organization, participants will be assigned to a staff member and will work closely with that individual, assisting with daily tasks and research projects. Possible focus areas are:
East Asia, including Vietnam and Laos;
Central Asia, including Uzbekistan;
South Asia, including Pakistan;
IT, web management, and graphic design;
The Council on Faith & International Affairs/The Review of Faith & International Affairs; and,
Press and Public Affairs.
Some examples of projects that will be assigned include:
Preparing briefing binders for international travel;
Accompanying staff to high-level meetings in D.C. and writing subsequent press releases;
Planning and overseeing external office events, including the annual Global Leadership Forum and the “Schools for Global Engagement” that IGE conducts with various partners;
Providing extensive background research on the religious freedom climate in our key program areas;
Communicating with strategic partners on behalf of staff members;
Researching compatible foundations and writing grant proposals;
Writing both research and opinion pieces on topics relevant to IGE’s work; and,
Assisting in editing for and production of The Review of Faith & International Affairs.
The RA Program focuses on three main components—spiritual development, administrative skills, and international knowledge—all of which work together to encourage professional development and a holistic leader.
As a team, we seek to come alongside the work that Christ is already doing in the world. One of our core principles for approaching this work is to cultivate the characteristics of the Biblical metaphors for Global Engagement: the street-wise common sense of a snake, the wise statesmanship of an ambassador, linked together through the gentle humility of the dove. In particular, IGE strives to integrate prayer into everything we do as we pray for wisdom and discernment in our programs, our overseas friends and partners, and ourselves.
The IGE staff sets aside time each morning for prayer. All staff, including RAs, take turns leading devotions. Facilitators develop a theme for the week that they lead. The theme is prepared in advance and announced on Friday of the previous week, thus allowing other staff to prepare their hearts and minds to engage the coming week’s theme. Devotions focus on the nexus of biblical truth and global issues—“a theology with legs,” as we say here. Staff members will work closely with their assigned RA in developing the week’s spiritual study. Possible topics for “devos” include, but certainly are not limited to:
A specific book/person/issue in the Bible;
A theological or biblical concept;
A particular country or region;
A particular religious or ethnic community;
Persecuted people in a particular country or region; or,
Music, art, or poetry with spiritual significance.
“Friday Fellowship” is another important component of spiritual development, developing a sense of community and trust among RAs. This time is set aside every Friday afternoon as a space in which RAs can discuss and reflect on their experience at IGE as a group. Each meeting centers on a specific Bible verse as it relates to a global issue while relevant books and articles are also discussed. RAs are expected to come prepared to discuss and engage the issues each Friday. Once a month, staff members or outside guests will participate in the discussion, providing personal insight and experience on the relationship between their careers and their faiths.
Everybody at IGE assists with administrative tasks—we are a “think-and-do tank,” and our “doing” requires excellence in the execution. All staff and RAs will know IGE’s administrative procedures, policies, and information technology. Administration is not the flashiest part of leadership, but we know from experience that acute attention to detail is the difference between good and great. Through their experience at IGE, RAs will be trained in and become comfortable with:
Entering and maintaining contact data;
Using Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook);
Working in the Content Management System (CMS), IGE’s website management system, which includes uploading pictures, daily news updates, events, articles, and press releases;
Taking pictures with the office’s digital camera for office events and editing pictures in Adobe Photoshop;
Assisting with designing and executing office mailings;
Assisting with internal and external office events;
Answering the phone and delivering messages to staff members; and,
Preparing informational folders for office guests and conferences.
RAs will be mentored and trained in international affairs through a capable staff that encourages hands-on experience. Researching and summarizing daily news on our country programs and religious freedom allows RAs to stay current on IGE’s overseas initiatives while providing consistent updates to our website. RAs will also write several papers during their time at IGE—ranging from longer research-based documents to shorter opinion-based pieces, and even including a book or movie review. The papers will be edited at roundtables attended by the entire staff. Final products will be posted to IGE’ three websites, and have the possibility of being published in The Review of Faith & International Affairs, depending on the piece’s relevance to the current issue.
In addition, each RA will be responsible for maintaining their own globalchristian blog once a week on international topics of interest (books, movies, news, social justice). This gives them the opportunity to reflect on what they are learning about as new professionals in a more personal way.
IGE RAs are servant leaders and we are intentional about setting aside time to discuss what this means and what it “looks like.” In addition to the daily, hands-on development that takes place through spiritual, administrative, and international training, leadership classes are given by the President and other staff. In addition, we bring guest speakers in to share their experiences, providing another opportunity to learn and build relationships and networks. For Christians, leadership is the external manifestation of a disciplined internal life, a life committed to knowing God, a life committed to critical thinking, and a life committed to continual education—all of which are qualities that we strive to develop in our RAs.
Throughout the year, IGE RAs will visit different organizations in Washington, D.C. These interactive field trips will give them opportunities to begin career networking, as well as a giving a glimpse into the way other international organizations function. For example, past trips have included the State Department, International Justice Mission, Sojourners, Becket Fund, The Council on Foreign Relations, and private meetings on Capitol Hill. Opportunities for trips to other U.S. cities (such as New York City) have also taken place to provide a different perspective on the scope of the international relations field.
After your RA experience, IGE stands ready to assist in any way we can with recommendations (according to performance), and placement in graduate programs or employment. IGE staff work very closely with RAs as they develop their resumes and cover letters, and begin researching their next steps. The extensive IGE network of partners, friends, and alumni RAs, is of invaluable assistance in this process.