Lauren Stevens was an intern at the Peace Institute in Autumn 2018 and has written a text about her internship:
I applied for an internship at the Åland Islands Peace Institute (ÅIPI) because I’m interested in issues concerning peace, security, minorities, and autonomy. I’m particularly interested in minorities related to sexual orientation, gender, and disability, and I wanted to learn more about national and linguistic minorities. I also like going to different places and trying to learn languages. Before I started my internship at ÅIPI, I’d visited Åland once before during last summer. I didn’t know any Swedish at all, I didn’t know much about the Swedish-speaking population in Finland, nor did I know much about the history and politics of Åland.
During my internship at ÅIPI, I learnt a lot about these, especially as I had the opportunity to participate in the e-course ‘Territorial Autonomy as a Tool for Diversity Management: Lessons from the Åland Example’. I now consider it important for people in Finland and beyond to know about Åland’s status as an autonomous, demilitarised, and neutralised territory, as well as Åland as an example of a successful solution to a minority conflict.
Being an Information Intern at ÅIPI also involved participating in meetings and seminars and helping with practical arrangements, research assisting tasks, proofreading, updating social media, and taking photos. I especially enjoyed helping to design ÅIPI’s newsletter and learning how to publish articles on ÅIPI’s website.
I really valued the opportunity to give two presentations and get feedback from the staff at ÅIPI. My first presentation was about Melilla, a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa that shares a border with Morocco, where I lived in 2014. My second presentation was about the impact of Brexit on the peace process in Northern Ireland, which is the topic of my Master’s thesis.
The staff were really friendly and it was fun to have conversations and visit local places with them. The internship was even better than I imagined because I was given much more trust and responsibility than I expected. I would definitely recommend it!