August 08, 2017

“If you want to live and work in D.C., you must know how to speak D.C.”

Junior international studies major Shelby Karpa is getting an intensive introduction to D.C. speak and other matters of diplomacy as a public affairs intern with the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the United States.

The internship is part of a larger program with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

“This internship provides endless opportunities for interns to interact and network with leading Middle East scholars, diplomats and government officials,” Karpa said. “I love learning about the politics of the Middle East, and living and working in D.C. has provided me a unique perspective on the conflict; I am witnessing diplomacy in action.”

With the PLO delegation, Karpa reports on events regarding Palestinian-Israeli relations in and around the D.C. area and promotes the Palestinian presence in the United States through social media. She attends lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and site visits—to the Islamic Center, Al Jazeera, the CIA, Saudi Arabian embassy and the Library of Congress—on Wednesdays.

Karpa credited her International Organizations and Law course with professor Andrea Lopez as being integral to her preparation for her work with the PLO delegation. Perhaps even more important have been her two years of Arabic language training and her Global Opportunities experience in Jerusalem.

“I was able to witness the conflict firsthand, interact with Palestinians and Israelis living there and live with a family in the West Bank,” she said. “I bring my amazing experience in the region to work with me every day.”

A native of Birdsboro, Pa., a small town in Berks County, Karpa previously envisioned a career at a small, grassroots organization but her D.C. internship has opened her eyes to many more opportunities.

“Diplomacy matters—actions and words matter,” she said. “Through this internship my future goals have become clearer. I have reaffirmed what I want to do.”

See more internships here.