Fall 2021, Drug and Wildlife Trafficking Internship, Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, Foreign Policy Program

Posted Date 1 week ago(6/7/2021 9:32 AM)
Foreign Policy
$15.20 per hour


Thinking about a career in public policy? Committed to improving the world we live in? Think Brookings - one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

Interns spend approximately 10 weeks remotely working alongside leading experts in government and academia from all over the world. Brookings also offers students the opportunity to intern in departments such as communications, human resources and central operations management. The mission of the Internship Program is to provide students with a pre-professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work experience related to their field of study or career interest. Students engage in career exploration and development as well as learn new skills.


Interns will have the opportunity to attend virtual meetings, local think tank events, professional development workshops, and public Brookings events.  In addition, interns will have the opportunity to network with other interns throughout the Institution.


This internship is an opportunity for undergraduate students in their junior or senior year and graduate students with an interest in illicit economies -- such and drug and wildilfe trafficking -- in China, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and beyond to apply principles and theory learned in the classroom in a professional environment. This internship pays an hourly rate of $15.20, and applicants must be willing to commit to a minimum number of hours per week (no less than 25 hours per week, during regular business hours), with some flexibility around an academic course schedule.


To learn more about Brookings research programs, click here.


Learning Objectives


The internship will focus primarily on both (1) drug trade, trafficking, and law enforcement, and (2) wildlife trade and trafficking, in China, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and beyond. Focus will include the manufacture and supply of fentanyl, precursor chemicals, and methamphetamine, as well as the opioids epidemic. Analysis will be conducted on how both non-state and state entities have responded to COVID-19.


Secondary attention may be devoted to non-state entities and conflict stabilization in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and Colombia.


Interns will learn how to apply theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom to a professional public policy institution and environment. They will monitor current developments in relevant research areas, conduct qualitative – and at times quantitative – research, produce written briefings and memos, brief support staff and senior fellows, summarize and synthesize documents, edit publications, help staff Brookings events, attend additional external think tank events, maintain databases, conduct additional administrative tasks related to web-postings, and logistical tasks related to events featuring guest speakers. Depending on an intern's foreign language abilities, they may also help translate documents or conduct some live interpretation during virtual meetings. 


Interns should leave the internship with a better understanding of how to conduct high quality research and impartial analysis, additional subject matter knowledge on a broad range of illicit economies and non-state actors, and experience interacting with top scholars in the field. 




Undergraduate students in their junior or senior year or graduate students working towards a degree in a relevant field (i.e. international affairs, foreign policy, political science, international law, international political economy, or related fields).


Qualified applicants will have a demonstrated interest in one or more of the following research areas: illicit economies, nonstate armed actors, counternarcotics policies, wildlife conservation, public health, and human rights. Knowledge of China and Southeast Asia, Latin America (especially Mexico), Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia (especailly Afghanistan) a plus.


An ability to collect, read, and summarize Chinese-language articles and written documents, and to provide light Mandarin Chinese-English interpretation in meetings, is highly desirable for this position. Proficiency in Spanish will also be useful. English fluency is required.


Additional Information:


This is a remote only opportunity. This internship requires you to be located in the U.S. for the duration of the internship.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for interning at Brookings.


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. You will also need to submit a 5-page writing sample. Please submit your resume as instructed and add your cover letter and writing sample as attachments when you apply. You are required to submit/attach a separate cover letter for each internship you apply to. Your cover letter should highlight your educational experience and skills, along with an explanation of how this internship will contribute to your professional goals.  Please address your cover letter to Hiring Manager.


If selected as a finalist for the internship, you will be required to submit two letters of recommendation or provide two professional references.  


Applications will be accepted until June 20, 2021. Applications not completed and submitted by the application deadline date will not be considered. Your application is considered complete when you receive an email confirming that your application was successfully submitted.


As you are applying, please be sure to click here to learn more about the Brookings Internship Program, deadlines, and directions on how to successfully submit your internship application(s).


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


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