A week in the life of a Wilton Park intern

26 January, 2011

Phoebe Blagg, Intern at Wilton Park, writes:

There is no typical week here.  One day I might spend drafting letters, preparing briefings for meetings and doing research on useful organisations and contacts for Wilton Park – the next I might sit in on a conference session in the morning and then be asked to draft a concept note on Central Asia in the afternoon.

(Concept note has become a well worn if initially ambiguous term for me and among the ideas I have been asked to expand into a conference or programme proposal, there has been illicit trade in counterfeit medicines; the private sector and the new development paradigm; and the international landscape of big science There is something initially daunting about being asked to produce a document on a subject you have limited prior knowledge on, but in grappling with these issues I quickly came to realise that the real objective is not to necessarily to become a world expert, but to pose the right questions to attract those who are).

This week my attention has been focused almost entirely on the swiftly approaching e-Government conference we are organising in collaboration with the British Embassy in Athens, where it will also be held.   My role in this conference has been to work closely with Richard and with the Embassy team to put the programme together and build up a list of possible speakers and participants.  After considerable editing and re-editing, careful consideration over the overall tone of the programme and a certain amount of deliberation over the speaker selection we are close to finalising the agenda.  Following a conference call with the Ambassador in Athens this morning our first batch of  invitations will be sent out this afternoon.  Just over a month to go before the conference starts might feel like a comfortable timeframe for our Mediterranean partners but here we are rapidly entering into go go go mode.

My experience of interning here over the last 4 months has been an illuminating one.  The range of subjects that I have been exposed to has been huge from the ongoing conflict in Sudan to cyber security.  On my plate next week I have, among other things, a trip to the FCO, where Ill take minutes at the Wilton Park International Council meeting and a presentation from the FCOs head of digital diplomacy to attend.  I have no idea what the next couple of months of my internship will hold or, the question that is increasingly occupying thoughts where next? However, the opportunity to gain first hand experience of organising conferences in the UK and overseas has been invaluable and one that I would unreservedly recommend to other graduates looking for broad ranging experience relating to international policy issues.

If you are interested in becoming an intern, please see the Wilton Park Careers page for further details.

 

Phoebe Blagg

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