When Derry’s Ciaran met Hillary, Will and Jada in ‘DC’

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

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A Derry law student has been rubbing shoulders with the great and the good during a summer internship in Washington DC.

Ciaran Roddy, a final year student at the University of Ulster, was selected from more than 350 applicants from all over Ireland to participate in the prestigious Washington Ireland Programme (WIP).

WIP is a cross-community charity which offers young leaders from both sides of the border the opportunity to live and work as an intern in “DC” while completing leadership training and public service projects.

Ciaran is interning at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which is headed up by Kathleen Sebelius - recently named by the influential ‘Forbes’ magazine as the 13th most powerful woman in the world.

Ciaran says he’s “very lucky” to have secured a role with the Department’s Office of Global Affairs (OGA).

One of his first jobs was to attend the official launch of the 2012 Trafficking in Person’s Report at which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was guest speaker. She was joined at the high profile event by Hollywood movie stars Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Ciaran says: “Talk about being awestruck! Aside from the intimidating company that I was keeping, Secretary Clinton’s speech was typically excellent and thought-provoking. It seemed that the term ‘human trafficking’ didn’t sit well with her as she suggested that the term doesn’t quite portray the severity of what it entails. “Instead, she preferred to describe it as ‘modern slavery’. Whilst Secretary Clinton et al were there to commend those who achieved excellence in the prevention of human trafficking, she reminded us that, insofar as 27 million people worldwide are living in slavery around the world, we still have a collective duty to bring this to an end. Before the end of her speech, she summarised: ‘Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those who are vulnerable. Our aim should be to put those hopes and dreams back within reach’.

“To have been privy to such an event and to be the first WIP intern at the Department of Health and Human Services is an honour and a privilege.

“With this honour and privilege comes a responsibility to HHS, WIP and myself to ensure that I avail of every opportunity that this internship bestows upon me. In the coming weeks of my internship I will strive to ensure that I can fulfill this responsibility.”