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Student Spotlight: Luther Flagstad at the Council on Foreign Relations

Luther Flagstad standing outside the Council’s subtle entrance in Manhattan.

Luther Flagstad (IPED ‘18) is the U.S. Foreign Policy Volunteer Intern at the Council on Foreign Relations and in the David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR’s “think tank”–under Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy. The CFR is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. The U.S. Foreign Policy program at the CFR seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities the United States faces overseas and to assess the pressures and political dynamics shaping its foreign policy choices. The program’s goal is to provide insightful analysis and recommendations that help policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and the general public better understand how the United States weighs its interests and values when it makes foreign policy decisions.

One of the meeting rooms at the Council.

As an intern, Luther works closely with Ambassador Blackwill’s Research Assistant, Ted Rappleye, researching current U.S. foreign policy issues. The CFR provides interns with expansive opportunities for professional development.  Luther writes: “At CFR I’ve been able to listen in on “not-for-attribution” meetings delivered by policy makers from around the world, attend sessions on writing and research skills, practice writing policy memos, and learn and absorb as much as I can from fellows, researchers, and other interns.” Luther was involved in the research for a piece published by Ambassador Blackwill in Foreign Policy titled, “Fact Checking Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’ About Mexico”.

Luther Flagstad at his desk in the interns’ “pit.”

Luther obtained his position, initially, by attending the CFR’s back-to-school event where he created a network with the other research assistants. He was able to draw on these connections when positions when he submitted his applications.

Luther had this advice to offer: “If you are interested in a career in policy, I couldn’t recommend an internship with CFR enough. The exposure it provides to the field is outstanding.”

Luther maintains his status as a full-time students while performing his internship duties part-time.

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Student Spotlight: Thiviya Navaratnam at Women’s World Bank

Thiviya Navaratnam is a part-time student with IPED

Thiviya Navaratnam is a part-time student with IPED

Thiviya Navaratnam (IPED 2017) is a Compliance Associate at Women’s World Banking. Women’s World Banking is a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income women in developing countries gain access to financial tools and services to economically empower themselves.

Thiviya works on the Finance team as a Compliance Associate (one of two) with 2016 IPED alumna Veronica Karpoich, Senior Compliance Associate. Thiviya works on contracting and consultant procurement to verify compliance with donors’ requirements.

Thiviya spoke about her task handling the procurement of various translators and interpreters to put on retainer, an arduous but fulfilling project that required finding multiple translators across several languages (quite a large project!)

Thiviya also shares her experience in obtaining her position. “I found the listing through the IPED jobs digest. Veronica, a part-time IPED student at the time, was looking to hire an Associate to work with her and I managed to convince her I was the best person for the job. I would encourage all IPED students to take advantage of the Jobs Digest and reach out to any alumnus they can. I have found that all alumni have been very helpful, and I’ve always appreciated their advice.”

Thiviya manages to keep up her rigorous class schedule as a part-time student while working full time with Women’s World Banking.

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