By Olle Bergdahl Mjengwa
I have been very interested in the political situation in the Middle East for many years and after studying Arabic in Jordan for a semester I knew that I wanted hands on experience working with one of the biggest challenges the region is facing – human rights.
Being Swedish I had heard of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) and after contacting the RWI MENA office in Amman I had an interview and I was offered an internship. As I have been enrolled in an Arabic language course during the internship period, I have been working at RWI part time, studying in the morning and working in the afternoon.
My first few weeks at RWI were intense but very interesting. I quickly had to read a lot of material in order to get an in depth understanding of the projects that RWI is working on in the Middle East.
Luckily my supervisor was very helpful in answering any questions I had and the fact that every one at the office were so welcoming made it easy to integrate into the office environment. My time at RWI’s MENA office in Amman has been really beneficial on many levels. One of the things that I have enjoyed the most is learning more about the human rights situation in several countries.
The tasks that involved research were really valuable as it gave me a chance to get in depth knowledge of the different human rights challenges that face countries in the Middle East, especially Palestine.
During my time at RWI I also had a chance to attend a conference on Arab Renaissance in regards to human rights. This gave a lot of new perspectives on the role that religion plays in the modern Arab world. I have really enjoyed that every week at RWI brings something new and because I have had a variety of tasks my work has never felt static. I encourage anyone who is interested in human rights and wants to further his/her knowledge in the field to apply for the internship at RWI’s MENA office in Amman. As the position is currently part time it is great for anyone who is wishing to study Arabic while getting work experience at the same time!
In September I will be continuing my degree in International Relations and Arabic at the University of St Andrews and after everything I have learnt about the human rights situation in the Middle East I have decided that my final two years of my degree will focus on the conflicts and challenges facing the region at the moment.