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Home News Organizing Updates November Vigil 2009: Thousands Protested to Demand SOA Closure
November Vigil 2009: Thousands Protested to Demand SOA Closure PDF Print E-mail

Internship and Volunteer Opportunities at SOA Watch

Internships
Summer Internship in the SOA Watch Latin America office in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
Organizing Intern
Legislative Intern
Communications Intern
Fundraising Intern
Volunteer Opportunities
Database and Correspondence Volunteer
Media Volunteer



Internships

We are a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC), and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to accompany them in their struggle for economic and social justice.

Our staff is made up of paid, unpaid, full-time, and part-time activists who are all dedicated to this work. Interns have played a critical role in the campaign to close the School of the Americas. While these positions are unpaid, financial assistance for housing and transportation is available.

All of the internships and volunteer opportunities listed below are offered at the SOA Watch Washington DC office, which is a ten-minute walk from the Brookland-CUA station on Metro's Red Line.

There are four different internships and two volunteer positions currently available at SOA Watch.

Summer Internship in the SOA Watch Latin America office in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

This summer we will be inviting several interns, from the U.S. and from Latin America, for an exciting opportunity to join our new School of Americas Watch (SOAW) Latin America office in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC), and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents.

Interns would form part of the new SOAW PARTNERSHIP AMERICA LATINA (PAL) initiative which has brought hundreds of Latin American organizations to join forces with the U.S. SOAW movement to bring closure to the School of the Americas/WHINSEC. This initiative has also led to the announcement by 5 countries of withdrawal of their troops from the SOA.

A time commitment of 7-8 weeks would be expected, from late May to late July. There is flexibility with exact dates.

The internship requires basic knowledge of spoken and written Spanish, but the experience itself will be an opportunity to improve Spanish language skills.

Interns would assist SOAW Latin America Coordinator Lisa Sullivan in organizing a major gathering that SOAW is organizing in Venezuela, called “SOAW SOUTH-NORTH ENCUENTRO”. This “Encuentro” is a gathering of activists from 17 Latin American countries and an equal number of US grassroots activists. It will take place from June 21-26 in Sanare, Venezuela. The Encuentro will lay the groundwork for a vibrant South-North SOA WATCH movement of the Americas that seeks to close the SOA and to challenge other expressions of U.S. militarization in Latin Americas.

In order to also experience the hands-on reality of Latin America, they will be encouraged to spend several afternoons a week doing volunteer work in the barrios of Barquisimeto. Some volunteer possibilities include working with youth and children in a vacation program, learning with local youth about traditional Afro Venezuelan drumming and dancing, helping out with community radio and t.v., and teaching English with one of the informal educational programs in the barrios.

Interns will be housed with a local family in Barquisimeto, a city of 1 million, located 6 hours west of Caracas.

Qualifications for Internships:

1. Strong commitment to working in a diverse, grassroots movement rooted in solidarity with the people of Latin America.
2. Basic knowledge of written and spoken Spanish. While the experience in Venezuela will offer the opportunity to improve Spanish language skills, interns must arrive with ability to carry out basic written and spoken communication in Spanish without the need for translation.
3. Openness to and interest in new cultures is essential to having a good experience, as is a large large dosis of flexibility. Previous experience with other cultures is ideal. Good people skills are necessary to having a positive living experience. Venezuelans are very warm, generous, expressive, outgoing and community-oriented. They are also spontaneous, and much less structured and punctual than most US citizens. This experience would be a challenge for a person who considers him/herself a strong introvert. For someone with very strict dietary requirements, this would be a hard placement, though basic vegetarians would not find this a problem.
4. Ability to work independently and in a collective process; follow-through and attention to detail is essential.
5. Good computer skills.
6. Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
7. Willingness to work in a consensus decision-making environment

To Apply:

Please send your resume, list of three references (email addresses), and a cover letter indicating:
1. Why you would like to intern at the Latin American SOA Watch office.
2. What strengths you would bring to the staff collective.
3. Describe what expectations you would have for this internship
4. Describe any concerns that you might have

Please submit your application by April 1st via email to Lisa Sullivan, SOAW Latin America Coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We will let you know by April 15th of your acceptance.

Internships in SOA Watch's Washington, DC office

Organizing Intern

The Organizing Intern work with the Outreach and Events Coordinator to organize, develop, and promote the SOA Watch campaign and major events such as the yearly November demonstration to close the SOA/WHINSEC and Trial Preparation for members of the SOA Watch movement who are standing trial for civil disobedience actions. The internship could include, but is not limited to: working with SOA Watch working groups on elements of event organizing, assisting the Outreach Coordinator with convening the organizing process for major events and bottom-lining major events, updating the web site, and contacting partner organizations and supporting grassroots activists in their work to build outreach, media, direct action, legislative and organizing capacities.

Legislative Intern

The Legislative Intern will work with the Legislative Coordinator to implement the national legislative strategy to close the SOA/WHINSEC. This work could include, but is not limited to: Assisting with the preparation of materials for Members of Congress and for the grassroots including website updates, attending meetings with coalition partners, participating in direct lobbying efforts, researching and monitoring Congressional activity as it pertains to Latin America, and working with the nationally representative Legislative Working Group via email and conference calls to discuss, formulate, and carry-out the legislative strategy.

Communications Intern

The Communications Intern will work with the SOA Watch Communications Coordinator in implementing media efforts to close the SOA/WHINSEC. This could include generating US and Latin American media lists, developing educational material for media and grassroots activists, updating the web page, and building relationships and pitching stories about the SOA to alternative and corporate media.

Fundraising Intern

The Fundraising Intern will work with the SOA Watch Development Working Group, and directly in the office with the Development and Operations Coordinator. Tasks for the Fundraising Intern include, but are not limited to:
1. Grant research and writing
2. Organizational funding appeals
3. Facilitating donor relations
4. Compiling regional fundraising toolkits and guides
5. Updating the fundraising page on SOA Watch's website

More Information About Interning with SOA Watch:

These positions last for two to four months and interns commit to a certain number of hours per week. The minimum commitment is 20 hours per week; 32-40 hours per week is most common.

Interns become a full member of the SOA Watch staff during their internship. All staff responsibilities are expected of interns, such as participating in weekly staff meetings and sharing in the facilitation and note-taking of these meetings. By the same token, these interns are given the same decision-making power as a staff person. These interns have input into her/ his job description and work. In other words, an invitation to join SOA Watch in one of these four internship roles is an invitation to join the staff collective.

A little less than half of these interns' time will be spent doing the general administrative work that all office staff participate in. These duties include answering the phone, responding to e-mail requests, going to the post office, etc. These interns' share of these duties will be no more than any other staff member. These four positions are not all filled at once; typically there are one or two of these interns working at any given time.

The internship program is generally very flexible and can be shaped for each person. An important part of the work environment is participating in the collective process and supporting each other in our work.

Qualifications for Internships:

Required:
1. Strong commitment to working in a diverse, grassroots movement rooted in solidarity with the people of Latin America. Commitment to the mission of SOA Watch as described above.
2. Ability to work independently and in a collective process; follow-through and attention to detail is essential.
3. Strong computer skills.
4. Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
5. Willingness to work in a consensus decision-making environment

Desired:
1. Experience overseas
2. An ability to speak Spanish
3. Strength in the program area for which you applying

To Apply:

Please send your resume, list of three references, and a cover letter indicating:
1. Why you would like to intern at SOA Watch.
2. What strengths you would bring to the staff collective.
3. Whether you are applying for a half-time or full-time position, and that you acknowledge this position to be unpaid.
4. What types of projects are you most interested in. Describe what you would like to do in an internship at SOA Watch.

Please submit your application by mail to SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017, or e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
We are accepting applications for these internships on a rolling basis.



Volunteer Opportunities

Database and Correspondence Volunteer

The Database and Correspondence Volunteer will facilitate communications with its grassroots membership of over 40,000 supporters.
We need someone who can:

--Enter new contacts into database
--Change and delete contacts based on the Postal Service's Address Service Requested system
--Respond to e-mail and letter requests for information
--Manage partner outreach operations

Media Volunteer

The Media Volunteer will support the Communications Coordinator and media working group during SOA Watch events and when general media work is needed throughout the year

Duties include:
1. Making pitch calls to media outlets--newspaper, television and radio.
2. Website Updating
3. General Media Office Support

Required Qualifications:
1. Excellent communication skills
2. Familiarity with CMS and HTML systems
Desired Qualifications:
1. Professional experience working with media
2. Bilingual Spanish/English
If you are interested in any of these volunteer positions, please contact the SOA Watch office at (202) 234-3440 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to arrange for a short interview. Volunteer positions may start at any time.
 

Contact us

SOA Watch
733 Euclid Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

phone: 202-234-3440
email: info@soaw.org