After a fifth email to my original internship placement in late May confirming my start date, I realized that I needed to create a new plan. This summer, I initially planned for my WOW grant to support an internship at a civil society organization that I am very passionate about called the Palestine-Israel Journal. I was so excited that WOW gave me a chance to be a part of the journal for the summer. Unfortunately, when the internship fell through, and I needed to find a new organization to support my WOW grant.
I tried to secure another internship at similar small social justice organizations in Israel-Palestine, but sadly (in part due to the hectic political climate in Israel and lack of support for civil society organizations), I was not able to fulfill my plan to work at a small civil society NGO. Finally, in early July, I received an internship offer from an organization called Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). I’ve been working at ALLMEP for the past two weeks!
ALLMEP is an international organization that supports grassroots, people-to-people peacebuilding, and civil society organizations in Israel-Palestine. ALLMEP supports these organizations in myriad ways. The non-Israel-Palestine based international staff mainly advocates to their respective governments for funding for grassroots peacebuilding projects in the region. The regional staff mostly supports and grows the 100+ member organizations (civil society organizations that participate in people-to-people peacebuilding).
Even though I wanted to work for a smaller civil society organization based in the region, I think it’s appropriate that I am now working for an advocacy organization that tries to strengthen and expand those smaller civil society organizations. In my tumultuous internship search, I saw firsthand the problem that ALLMEP tries to fix: that the civil society organizations in Israel-Palestine are gravely under-supported.
In the past two weeks at ALLMEP, I have been responsible for various tasks related to U.S. advocacy. I have been asked to compile literature reviews, one-pagers for congressional advocacy efforts (like a myths and facts document responding to critiques about peacebuilding) and write blog posts to highlight the work of ALLMEP’s member organizations. Hopefully, my work with ALLMEP will help all parties in the region and especially American representatives prioritize people-to-people peace building organizations over the peace process among elites. I also am excited for the chance I will have this upcoming month to work directly with and help strengthen member organizations in the region.
On the first day of my internship, an ALLMEP employee told me that establishing an International Fund for Middle East Peace is “endgame.” Modeled after the International Fund for Ireland (which many have credited for the Good Friday agreements), the International Fund for Middle East Peace would drastically increase the support and amount of people-to-people peacebuilding organizations. All of the blog posts, congressional meetings, and op-eds that ALLMEP produces are, in some way, aimed at establishing this fund. I am excited to help be a part of bringing this fund closer to fruition.