Evan Charney (BA '18) is submitting this field report from his summer 2016 internship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC.
This summer I interned as a research assistant at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a DC-based think tank that employs Middle East experts to write about aspects of U.S. foreign policy in the region. In addition, many of the experts will testify before Congress on Middle East topics that are being discussed on the hill.
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I have been deeply interested in the Middle East since my senior year of high school. I spent three weeks in the Middle East region the summer after my junior year of high school and I was immediatly hooked. I began reading as much as I could on the history of the region as well as the current geopolitics. WINEP had always been one of my go to sources of information on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
After spending some additional time in the region and studying both Hebrew and Arabic, I decided to apply to WINEP’s counterterrorism program. I arrived in late May and was immediately tasked with researching various terror networks with a focus on the financing aspect of these networks.
Throughout the course of my internship the Institute hosted a number of policy forums and smaller scale round tables. As interns we were invited to attend these events and listen to some of the most brilliant minds discuss the current events of the region. We participated in discussions with current government officials, journalists and other think tank experts. These discussions were by far one of the highlights of my internship experience. Just to be able to sit and listen to some of these experts go back and forth, agreeing and disagreeing, on some of the most pressing issues facing U.S. foreign policy makers in the Middle East was incredible.
Another unique moment of the summer occurred during the attempted coup in Turkey. To be working in Washington DC at a Middle East think tank that hosts one of the premier Turkey experts in the world, Soner Cagaptay, was truly unforgettable. After the attempted coup we hosted various events that focused on the recent events in Turkey and the U.S. foreign policy implications. Various government officials and regional experts attended these events and you came away with the feeling that these forums were actually making a difference in the policy conversations being had in DC.
I look forward to continuing my Middle East/foreign policy studies while at the Ford School.
Evan Charney is a University of Michigan junior and a bachelor's of public policy candidate at the Ford School.