Center for Global Understanding Offers Internship Opportunities for Muslim-American Students
By Huma Ahmed

With an eye to the future, and a desire towards cultivating the next generation of Muslim-American leaders, the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU) offers Washington DC Internship Programs to college students seeking first-hand experience in working with governmental institutions in the United States. It is a year long program and is open to students from all major fields of study.
The Center for Global Understanding is a non-profit and non-advocacy organization, located in Los Angeles, California. One of its goals is to encourage Muslim-American students to participate in civic engagement through an active internship program in Washington DC. 
Students will have an opportunity to intern at the Executive, Legislative, or Judiciary branch of our government or with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Amnesty International or C-SPAN, to name a few.
Through a partnership with the Washington Center (TWC) for Internships and Academic Seminars, and under the TWC-CFGU Initiative, Muslim-American students will be provided with placement, housing and financial assistance. With a distinguished reputation for over 30 years and a staff of 70, TWC has played a crucial role in preparing young people for leadership and promoting civic participation. “CFGU students will be able to gain an appreciation for the vital role civic engagement plays in our society,” stated Michael B. Smith, President of The Washington Center. Many colleges and universities throughout the United States have a collaborative relationship with TWC and provide college credit.
The inspiration for the establishment of the Center for Global Understanding is Atif Moon.  Moon was born with late stage cancer of the spinal cord and had little chance of survival. After six major surgeries, today, Atif is a cancer survivor. Despite his challenges, he has moved forward with his life and graduated from UCLA in 2007. He interned at the White House in 2006. He has recently been selected for the prestigious "Outstanding Young Californian’s - 2008" award by the California Junior Chambers, also known as California Jaycees. What stayed with his family throughout was the team of doctors, a group of diverse individuals, from all faiths. Their common goal of saving a life and serving humanity trumped any cultural or religious differences they may have had.  
With such a powerful inspiration, CFGU’s role is to collaboratively develop an institutional model to promote Muslim American civic engagement. Students do not need to major in political science, in order to participate. Internship opportunities are available in all fields - for example, public health students may apply with the National Institute of Health (NIH) or the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), business students may consider an internship with the World Bank or Federal Reserve, while law students would have an opportunity to consider working with the Department of Justice or Supreme Court.
Students should simply have an interest and desire to participate in their communities here in America. CFGU is not unique in its perspective. A recent study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs concluded, “Young Muslim Americans are not as fully engaged as other American youth in US political and civic life. Developing the leadership potential and professional skills of young Muslim Americans is crucial to creating an informed, seasoned and capable group of leaders…” (Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans – June 2007). One of their recommendations is to “cultivate the next generation of Muslim American leaders.”
The Center for Global Understanding’s Internship Program is an opportunity for college students to gain insight into policy-making institutions and to see “democracy in action.” For more information about the Internship Program, please visit http://www.cfgu.us (click on Internships), send an email to info@cfgu.us or call TWC at 800-486-8921.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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