2015 PFIG Recipient Samantha Guthrie
Journal Entry #1
Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
Status: Intern at the Parliament of Georgia’s Committee on Foreign Relations
Friday was the hottest day I’ve experienced so far in the city, and my whole office ditched work an hour and a half early. Thus, the first week of my internship ended.
It has been…a slow start. My actual boss, the Member of Parliament who hired me, wasn’t in this week (working in South Africa, I think) and I wasn’t really given much to do. My first day we got my security pass worked out, quick tour of the office, and I was introduced to a few of my colleagues. I was given a huge legal document written in very rough English to edit, so I spent a couple days working on that. Otherwise, I have been invited on an office trip to the mountainous northern region of Tusheti, which I will probably attend, and there has been some talk of me attending a NATO-integration conference in Batumi next month! So, fingers crossed that I get to see more of this beautiful country.
On Saturday, I finally got to meet with my boss. He was just in the office for a couple hours and they called me in last minute to have a flash-meeting. It was brief, but really good- I’m very optimistic about the rest of the summer. It seems like they have some plans for me, and my boss was very encouraging of my desire to see the inner workings of Georgian democracy.
The task I have now been set is to come up with some possible topics/outlines for what will essentially be a final paper. I will be working on a research paper or article (lots of flexibility with the direction I take it) that draws on my experiences here in Parliament. Once I get the topic figured out, I will be able to ask my boss for introductions to relevant people for interviews and comments, and be able to access archives and institutions as well.
So, my goals for the internship are as follows:
- Be helpful and useful in the office
- Attend a parliament session in Kutaisi
- Increase my understanding of how business and government work in the Caucasus
- Use and improve my Russian language skills
- Make personal and professional connections
- Build my written portfolio with articles and blog posts, including a final research paper or article
- Work on my DMP academic research by visiting relevant NGOs