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Juliana Bennington Internship

I am now wrapping up my internships.  It has been a great experience and I have learned not only about the organizations but also about myself.  It feels as if time has flown by but then I recall that this was a short internship, a mere 5 weeks.  I have begun closing up my projects at the International Center for Research on Women(ICRW) and readying my American Anthropological Association (AAA) paraphernalia.  With just over a week left, I feel that I have made tangible contributions to both organizations.

During my tenure at the AAA I have worked on various projects in addition to maintaining the social media sites.  I have had the opportunity to look at various ethics related documents and offer my opinions to the Executive Board as well as the Task Force for the Compressive Ethics Review.  I have learned much about the internal functioning of the AAA as well as the various services it offers to its membership.  This insight will no doubt be helpful in my future as I pursue Anthropology as a career path.

At the ICRW I have had the fortune of working on two very interesting projects.  The first was writing a journal article about the methods used in the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES).  This article is going to be submitted to peer review journals and will allow the organization to make known the great work it is doing.  This survey, which was carried out in five countries, looks at men’s attitudes and practices on issues relating to gender equality.  This article, as well as subsequent pieces which will highlight the data collected, will allow for a better understanding of how men view and interact with the idea of gender equality.  I look forward to continuing to work on this article after I return to college and will hopefully see it published within the year.  The second project on which I worked was a review of the services, legal environment and prevention initiatives around the issue of violence against women in four Melanesian countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) as well as Timor-Leste.  This project, which is a follow-up to a 2008 publication by AusAID entitled Violence against Women in Melanesia and East Timor: A Review of International Lesson, evaluates the changes that have occurred in the past few years.  My primary responsibility was to conduct a desk review looking at all of the new literature which has been published since the original document in 2008.  Through this experience, I was able to understand the current status of violence against women programming in each country as well as to get a sense of the regional response to this problem.  I was also able to participate in key informant interviews with people on the ground in these countries who are attempting to tackle the epidemic of violence against women.  This was a great opportunity to bring the literature to life and see how people speak about and interact with this issue.  My desk review will be integrated into a report which will be published and used to inform a dialog with stakeholders in the region.  My time at the ICRW was a very rewarding experience in which I was able to learn much and truly be integrated into the work being done by the organization.

I have gained much from this internship experience.  In addition to the knowledge I have acquired about violence against women and the functioning of the AAA, I have also been able to clarify my future, post-college, plans.  I have decided to pursue a PhD in Anthropology focusing on the issue of changing cultural expectations for young people and the structural violence which shapes their realities.  My work at the ICRW has made me aware of the role violence plays in people’s lives and I plan on continuing to look at this issue throughout my academic work.  I am excited to see what the future will bring and to continue to work in the field of anthropology.

In closing, I would like to thank my supervisors at the ICRW, Brian Heilman and Manuel Contreras, as well as my supervisor at the AAA, Damon Dozier.  I would like to thank both institutions for hosting me as well as my professors and family for supporting me.  I look forward to continuing to be part of the AAA as a student and eventually as a professional.

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