CIARAN RODDY, a final year law student from Derry, is about to finish a two month internship in Washington DC where he’s been participating in the prestigious Washington Ireland Programme (WIP). In this article, he talks about the “amazing” experience he’s had in the US capital.
In terms of personal development, the Washington Ireland Programme (WIP) could not be bettered.
Aside from being in programme along with 29 ambitious, talented university students; you are presented with some incredible opportunities and exposed to some tremendous individuals in US business and politics.
Everyone in the class has been given an opportunity to host or make a speech at an event. My most recent speaking opportunity came in New York when I delivered an address in front of the WIP class and various supporters of the organisation.
I shared a few anecdotes with the audience before delving into my background and my experience of the programme.
Meanwhile, back in DC, Cody Keenan, one of Barrack Obama’s speechwriters, spoke to the class.
He was amazing; such a candid guy, oozing with charisma. Someone asked him what he liked most about his job and his reply was: “Air Force One is pretty sweet!”
The best thing about it was that this guy is only 32 and he acted as a constant reminder to the class that the time is now, don’t sit and wait around for something to happen. Instead, go make it happen!
The one thing the programme always does is push you. A certain standard is always expected of you and it’s not OK to fall beneath that standard.
To start with, this seems daunting and demanding but by week eight I’m well accustomed to it and I’m just trying to make the most of my last few days.
That involves, as you could imagine, doing everything that is expected of me but having a good time in the evenings as well. Truly burning the candle at both ends.
As tokenistic as this may sound it’s actually remarkable how many of the esteemed personalities we had talk to us spoke of the importance of being a nice guy and that how, ultimately, it will get you places in your career.
One of the guys who spoke to us about this was Jake Sullivan who is Hillary Clinton’s Assistant Chief of Staff and who was included in Time magazine’s Top 40 under 40.
As far as my internship is concerned, last week I made it to the International AIDS Conference. It was the first time it had been held the USA in 22 years after President Obama lifted the HIV ban preventing people with HIV travelling into the United States.
Apart from that, I’ve been working on research projects with the Office of Global Affairs and the Office of Civil Rights.
One other aspect of the Programme that’s worth mentioning is the WIP Papers where we split into three groups and produce a collective opinion paper on a given topic.
Ours is on the topic of a Shared Future in Northern Ireland and we hope to present it to local decision makers.