For Elom Tettey-Tamaklo ’19, a summer internship at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., was more than a chance to rub shoulders with a former president (with whom he, coincidentally, shares a birthday). The political science major and Africana studies concentrator was able to apply his passion for international development and social justice to real-world work.
With a mission to “wage peace, fight disease, and build hope,” the nonpartisan center was founded by President Jimmy Carter in his home state to exercise his commitment to human rights.
“As a political science major, the internship was extremely helpful as it gave me the opportunity to gain insight into the world of international development organizations in a more personal way,” Tettey-Tamaklo said. “I was able to see how civil society affects policy and the challenges that are faced in the quest to implement policy and initiatives in their field.”
An intern in the conflict resolution program, Tettey-Tamaklo was tasked with researching a variety of issues related to sexual and gender-based violence around the world and youth participation in politics. He helped design the center’s maiden program in Liberia, wrote and edited donor reports , and was involved in curating and authoring daily news updates for an audience of development practitioners in Liberia and Atlanta.
“Amongst the host of things I learned during my internship—such as communication as a tool for impact, new methods of research, and the power of networking—one thing that stands out for me is being exposed to the world of international development and the many complexities that come along with it,” he said. “I was also very interested in seeing how the theories I had studied in class came to life during my internship.”
In particular, Tettey-Tamaklo learned a lot about conflict situations and the multiple complex ways that they affect society. He became interested, specifically, in programs that work to rebuild post-conflict societies and the effects of conflict on youth combatants.
“Through this internship, I have seen first hand the great need that exists the world over and the work that is being done to ameliorate it,” he said. “However, I also recognize the danger development practitioners face in becoming desensitized, distanced or overwhelmed by the work they do.”
He was so inspired by his summer’s work that he hopes that it is only the beginning of a long career in international human rights and conflict resolution.
“I definitely have an interest in this field and hope to pursue further opportunities moving forward,” he said. “I envision myself going back to work with the Carter Center or an similar international development organization. I am also interested in pursuing a masters in conflict resolution in order to broaden my scope and gain more knowledge in order to work effectively in the field.”
Photo: Elom Tettey-Tamaklo ’19 (center), with President Jimmy Carter (right) and his wife Rosalynn. (Photo courtesy of Elom Tettey-Tamaklo.)