2018 Summer Internship Series: Rico La Viña at the Institute for Policy Studies

by: Rico La Viña ’19

I spent the summer interning at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington DC. IPS is a “progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society.” It conducts research and handles campaigns in the fields of economic justice, racial and gender justice, climate justice, peace and foreign policy, and community development. For five decades, IPS has supported domestic and global social movements fighting for a more just and peaceful world.

I worked directly for the Executive Director of the Institute, John Cavanaugh. I assisted him with research and advocacy work focused on the Philippines. I had primarily three tasks: (1) provide the Executive Director with briefers and memos on Philippine mining, (2) co-author a position paper on a controversial mine in the Philippines, and (2) conduct interviews with relevant mining experts while in the Philippines. My work with John and other anti-mining activists is still ongoing.

Rico at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC

I enjoyed my time at IPS. To begin with, I learned first-hand how rigorous scholarship can complement and enrich my activist commitments. The attainment of social justice is best served by careful and objective analysis. Furthermore, I enjoyed living in Washington DC. One of the perks of living in DC is having free access to its many museums. Undoubtedly, my summer internship was an enriching and fun experience.