The other day Gabriel asked me to write a blog post about why I am interning with Stop Genocide Now for the summer and what kinds of projects I am going to be working on. Thinking it would be simple, I eagerly nodded and started thinking of what I wanted to write about. Oddly enough, I couldn’t think of a solid reason why I was doing this. I thought about my decision for a week when suddenly, it came to me. I was getting ready to go to my sister’s Confirmation, when I realized I forgot to put on my rings. How could I forget to wear my rings? I grabbed one, but not having worn it in awhile, I had forgotten what it said. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Finally. It was as simple as reading a quote on my ring. I want to make a change. I want to make a difference.
Some people have a defining moment in their life where they go to a developing country, or have a religious epiphany and realize they want to help people for the rest of their life. Not me. Ever since I entered high school, I’ve had a fascination with learning about other cultures and seeing how people around the world live their lives. And ever since I entered college (a whole 8 months ago), I narrowed down my aspirations a bit and realized that I not only wanted to study other cultures, but I also wanted to make a change. I wanted people in different parts of the world to live a better life because I made a change. How, though, I wasn’t sure (and still am not sure). I could become a professor and teach my students about human rights and genocide, I could become a lawyer and work for the ICC, or I could become Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice. Hypothetically, of course. So right before summer started, I embarked on a journey to make a difference.
After weeks of stalking idealist.org, I came upon Stop Genocide Now. And a few weeks after talking to Gabriel and Katie-Jay, I started working with them. I work primarily on a new project called Bring Guisma Home. It’s a campaign to learn about a young refugee named Guisma, to teach one’s friends and family members about Guisma, and to act on behalf of the Darfuri refugees. I love this project because despite the various cultural differences, Guisma is a child, just like I was. And knowing that I can help spread her story to people around the world is a challenge I am ready to accept. I also work on Camp Darfur, which is an interactive awareness and educational event that brings attention to past genocides and the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
One of the coolest parts about working with Stop Genocide Now is that I get to bring my International Relations nerdiness to the table. I get to research past genocides, various human rights organizations, and what’s going on in Sudan. I try to apply what I’ve learned over the past year about IR and human rights to everything I’m working on (with a Constructivist/Rationalist perspective, for all you IR people out there). Does it get depressing? Yeah, at times it does. But I just hope that something I do here will help others, both today and in the future. Because I really do want to be the change I wish to see in the world.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.