Human Rights Internships
MT IDCR Internship Programme
Joint Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution - Mountain Trust Internships
This initiative is supported by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, by the Chancellor of the University of Essex, Lord Phillips, by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, Professor Anthony Forster and Professor Todd Landman, Director of the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution.
"I am delighted to give my support to the Mountain Trust and its important work in Nepal.
I am particularly pleased to see that my alma mater, the University of Essex, is closely involved in the Trust's work through its Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution and that students from Essex are interning in Nepal."
The Rt. Hon. John Bercow, MP
House of Commons,
“The Mountain Trust is a great initiative in so many ways and the University is committed to further strengthening its long established relationship with the Trust. Our partnership is unique. It enables us to pool our resources and talents in order to maximise the impact of the valuable work of both the Trust and of our Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution. The joint internships programme helps to really bring together academic expertise and practical project-based work and enables us to provide challenging and life-changing opportunities for our students which clearly enhance their student experience and employability prospects.”
Professor Anthony Forster
University of Essex
"The IDCR engages with a variety of partners from the inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental sectors across a wide range of issue areas relating to democracy and conflict resolution. As Nepal is a democracy undergoing post-conflict reconstruction and constitution-building processes, it is a country of great interest to the IDCR. It is great to find an NGO like the Mountain Trust that is close in proximity to the University of Essex with which a strong relationship can be built. Our work with the Trust has only just begun, but I am certain that it will develop considerably as we move forward and as Nepal takes on the challenges associated with being a new democracy."
Professor Todd Landman
Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution
This exciting new programme was launched in February 2012. It is designed for high achieving undergraduate and postgraduate students of International Development, Human Rights, Constitutional Law and related disciplines such as politics, sociology and law who are nearing the end of their course or have graduated. Candidates accepted for the programme spend a month (sometimes longer) in Nepal volunteering with one of our host partners.
The programme includes logistical support, cultural briefings, options to stay with Nepali families, social programmes & sightseeing and the opportunity to pick up some basic Nepali language.
"One often hears people say that an experience 'changed their life'.But the phrase has become so hackneyed with overuse, it has stopped meaning what it should: an experience that is so intense, so overwhelming, brings such a sense of fulfillment that it alters the way one looks at one's career, the world and oneself.
I have worked with many volunteers and interns in the newspaper I edit, and many of them say that their short stay in Nepal 'changed their lives'.
Seeing another culture up close, adjusting to it, being receptive to a different way of doing things, coming out of one's comfort zones, are all part of it.
More importantly, volunteers gain stronger motivation, commitment and passion for one's field of study, or interest.In some cases, volunteers who come for a journalism stint and are sent to profile a person running a children's home are so inspired by that they give up journalism and end up working with a charity when they go back to their country.
There is one common refrain from most volunteers who have spent time in Nepal: 'How come people in my rich country are so sad, and people in a poor country like Nepal are so happy?'
They go back with a better understanding of what brings true contentment, and the world for them is suddenly wider and at the same time the truths become simpler.
The best thing about volunteerism is that it is twice blessed: it blesses visitors with immersion into a wholly new learning experience, and it blesses the local person who gains from the exposure, language and knowledge."
Editor-in-Chief. Nepali Times.
For a gripping talk by Kunda Dixit on Media & Conflict Reporting click here.
Our partners range from Transparency International to the International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance and the Editor-in-Chief of the leading English newspaper, the Nepali Times. The programme is designed to match each participant with one of our host partners to enable each Intern to put their theoretical knowledge and studies to the test with practical hands-on experience in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal. The programme is designed to benefit host partners, raise awareness in the West and to build bridges between experts in Nepal and outside. It is also designed to strengthen employability by applying substantive practical experience to each participant's academic studies.
This programme is ideal for people wishing to become more involved in international development and human rights, constitutional democracy, conflict resolution etc. during their careers. It is intended to bridge the divide between often highly theoretical academic courses and practical hands-on experience in ways which will benefit people in Nepal, the participants and enhance the prospects of employability where both qualifications and experience count increasingly heavily.
Interns are required to write a field report and will be assessed by their host partner. Authors of exceptional reports which offer valuable insights may be invited to submit a paper for publication by the IDCR.Selected participants may be invited to contribute a short article on their experiences for publication in Himalayas Nepal magazine.
Very exceptionally, Interns may be attributed the courtesy title of 'Scholar of the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution' and or of the Mountain Trust.
In 2013, the University of Essex has made available three bursaries of 1,500 Pounds each to enable its students to contribute to and benefit from this unique programme who might otherwise be unable to afford to participate in the first year. The Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution also will be supporting one bursary in 2013 to the value of 1,500 Pounds for an outstanding student at Essex to participate.
The first cohort of Interns on this programme were in Nepal between August and October 2012. Besides Ben Britton (ex-Cambridge University) and Dougie Foster (Bristol University) who have been spearheading the project in Nepal for its first year, participants have included: Andrew Tchie, Claire Simmons and Jan Majchrzak (University of Essex) Ian Vickers (ex-Cambridge University) and Quincy Wiele (ex-Trent University, Canada).
This innovative project has been covered in a two page article in Himalayas Nepal magazine (Issue 77). We anticipate that there may be several academic papers accruing from individual assignments.
We are in the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Essex, UK and Purbanchal University, Nepal, to establish a series of international fellowships (Teaching Fellows and Research Fellows from the UoE and other academic centres working in Nepal for between two months and two years in areas of Human Rights and allied fields of law). The Trust already has an agreement in place to send Teaching and Research Fellows to Purchanbal's Law Department. We anticipate sending doctoral and post-doctoral students together with academics in the early stages of their career on this part of the programme. Further ahead, we intend to establish visiting professorships and to expand the number of universities we collaborate with in Nepal and the West.