Peace Fellow’s summer: a diplomatic experience

Sarah Sanderson and other embassy interns

Rotary Peace Fellow Sarah Sanderson (second from right) and interns at the U.S. embassy in Mozambique with Ambassador H. Dean Pittman.

161014_sanderson_hshotBy Sarah Sanderson, Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I had been looking forward to my summer applied field experience, which is self-designed by the peace fellow. So I was thrilled when I was accepted for a summer internship position at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.

The goal of a Department of State internship is to expose interns to a broad picture of how a U.S. embassy works. Because of this, over a ten-week period I was able to rotate through three different departments including: financial management, consular, and public affairs.

In financial management, I learned how the embassy budgets for not only the State Department but also for the CDC, USAID and PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), all which have a huge presence in Mozambique. In the consular department, I learned how to process non-immigrant visas for Mozambicans who wished to study or travel in the U.S. And in public affairs, I saw how the embassy managed the press and media and how to host large events for the ambassador or for international visitors.

Networking opportunities

But without a doubt, the biggest highlight and privilege of the summer was getting to know and spend time with Ambassador Pittman himself. Rotary’s Peace Fellow program affords valuable opportunities to network with high-level individuals working within their fields of interest and see first-hand what the work is like. I had lunch with the ambassador and talked about his past career, took part with him in different press meetings and photo shoots, and accompanied him on trips to different parts of the country. Some of the trips that we took included visits to peace corps volunteers’ projects and schools, local NGOs that trained women in entrepreneurial and business skills, and events to celebrate marine research in line with Secretary of State John Kerry’s oceans initiative.

Equally interesting was to spend time with Ambassador Pittman’s partner, Chris Milligan, who previously directed the U.S. relief efforts in Haiti and was USAID mission director to Burma in 2012.

The ten weeks with the Foreign Service in Mozambique was an incredible chance for me to grow personally and professionally and I’m grateful to Rotary for making such an applied field experience possible.

Learn how you can support the Peace Centers program

3 thoughts on “Peace Fellow’s summer: a diplomatic experience

  1. Looks like you a very fulfilling AFE. Thanks for sharing your experuence, and wish you the best in the final lap of your fellowship.


    Bradford Alumni 2012


  2. Pingback: Peace Fellow internship builds connections | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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