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  • Sarah Malak

Meet IBI’s 2023 Summer Interns Part 2

IBI offers a competitive internship every summer for current and recent graduates. The program is an opportunity for interns to explore their interest in international development by being placed in different departments.

Global Experiences Shape Career Interests

Sarah Malak hails from Cairo, Egypt. She graduated from Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and a minor in International Relations. Malak realized she had a passion for helping people through her international volunteer experiences. Before university, Malak spent a year aiding various communities around the globe. She taught English to African refugee children who escaped war, violence, and persecution from different African nations. Malak then served as an Arabic/English translator for Syrian and Kurdish refugees in Switzerland and volunteered at a homeless shelter and an anti-sex trafficking organization in Hungary. In each of those experiences, her language skills in Arabic, Russian, English, and French proved advantageous.

After graduating from university in spring 2022, Malak moved to Washington, D.C. where she first learned about pursuing international development as a career. Curious about how she could help disadvantaged communities on a larger scale and leave a greater impact, she began doing research on how to get into the international development world. A friend at the United States Agency for International Development highly recommended applying for the IBI internship which is how she ended up as this summer’s Operations intern.

Malak says, “It is fascinating watching everyone work on their department’s tasks and then to see it all come together during our weekly meetings. It helps you see the bigger picture.” Some of the tasks that Malak has done include processing payroll for employees in the international field offices, procuring technology and tools needed for IBI’s projects abroad, and helping in registering IBI as an organization in the host countries through embassy visits. Through this internship, Malak has learnt about the functions and mission of USAID as a whole and how IBI, guided by its tagline, global insights – local solutions, works as a partner to USAID.

This Fall, Malak will be moving to New Jersey where she will begin her master’s degree in theological studies with a specialization on politics and society at Princeton Theological Seminary.

From Saving Lives to International Development

Louden Mazen is also an Operations intern with a rather unusual background for this internship. Originally from Queens, New York, Mazen is currently pursuing his masters in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy at American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to starting his graduate program, Mazen spent six years serving the United States Coast Guard. During his Coast Guard career, Mazen was the lead boarding officer on law enforcement teams for over 700 boardings in federal waters and participated in over 100 search and rescue cases to assist mariners in distress. He even rescued a mother and daughter from a strong rip current in North Carolina – a modern day hero.

When asked why he pursued an internship in international development this summer, Mazen responded by saying he wanted to broaden his horizon in terms of his career interests. “Most of my work experience and university studies have focused on domestic security issues and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn about the challenges that face developing nations that the United States is involved in aiding,” says Mazen. Some of the tasks that Mazen has done this summer include writing office policies, organizing office events, and creating a tracker for IBI’s projects overseas. "I have never been in an office work environment before, it's a very new experience and the work is rewarding", says Mazen. Mazen says his favorite aspect of his role has been getting to work with and learn from the different departments in the office.

Mazen will be returning to American University this fall where he will graduate with his master’s degree in the spring of 2024.

IBI attracts a diverse group of interns for their home office in Arlington, Virginia every summer. Check out this blog post to read about this summer’s project management and business development interns!

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