International Programs since 1924

Category: News

Fall 2022 Internship on Mediation and Violence Prevention

Program description

This internship will support the work of the Institute of World Affairs (IWA), under the direction of Dr. Joyce P. Kaufman, in collaboration with the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM), a non-profit community-based organization in Washington, D.C. During this period of increased violence particularly in economically and socially challenged communities, it is imperative to develop and implement programs that provide youth, especially, with tools that can help prevent violence while also building life-skills necessary to build productive lives. The target population for this effort is high school age youth from violence-prone communities in the District of Columbia. For the first time starting in the fall, we will also be working with a younger (middle school-aged cohort) at Chester Charter School in Pennsylvania as well. This project draws on IWA’s extensive experience in violence prevention, negotiation and mediation. The workshops are all developed in consultation with our ACM partners, and are presented using a hybrid format, with some of the participants in person, and others connecting via Zoom. With the exception of the final simulation, our work and delivery of the workshops will all be done via Zoom. The capstone simulation uses the University of Maryland International Communication and Negotiation Simulation (ICONS) platform. This system provides ongoing written transcripts of all interactions that can be used for analysis, debriefing and assessment.

This program was initially implemented as a pilot in November 2021 with another iteration of the program run in spring and summer 2022. Based on what we learned, we made modifications to the program which will be run again in fall 2022 and spring 2023 with students in three public high schools in DC, and also with a group of middle school students in Chester, PA. These two groups of students will require that the program be modified still further, and also that stronger evaluation methods be put into place. The intern(s) will be an important part of that implementation going forward.

Position description

The internship will directly support the work of IWA and the Alliance of Concerned Men in a number of ways. It is important to note that all work will be done remotely with the exception of the capstone simulation which comes at the end of the program. That has been done in person at ACM headquarters in Washington, D.C. The internship will involve an average of 15-16 hours a week, with the understanding that there will be more time required in some weeks than others. The exact schedule and timeline will be determined by the intern in conversation
with Dr. Kaufman. This is an unpaid internship, but can be applied for credit toward AU graduation requirements.

Position responsibilities include:

  • Learning more about “triggers” that lead to violence in community settings in general, and particularly in the communities of interest
  • Reviewing materials on mediation, especially in conflict-prone communities
  • Help prepare the power point presentation for the workshops and be prepared to lead some of the workshops (all held on Zoom)
  • Meet weekly or biweekly with Dr. Kaufman to review the materials and prepare for upcoming workshops
  • Participate in meetings of the project team
  • Based on the transcript of simulations, help with the evaluation and assessment of the interaction and the learning that took place during the pilot
  • From that evaluation, help make recommendations on next steps going forward
  • Assistance in drafting the reports on the pilot and grant proposals for future work


  • Interest in mediation, conflict resolution and violence prevention
  • Outstanding research skills
  • Basic understanding of community violence, the causes of such violence and impact of mitigation efforts
  • Understanding of, familiarity with, and sensitivity to cultural issues pertaining to the target group of participants
  • Basic familiarity with simulations, what they are designed to do, and their effectiveness for teaching and learning
  • Organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Excellent oral and writing skills (most communication is in writing)

Application process

Interested applicants should send a resume and a cover letter documenting your interest in this internship to: In the cover letter, please focus on any experience you have had in the target areas, both academic and practical, why this internship appeals to you, and what you bring to the position. All applications will be screened upon receipt, with likely candidates invited to do a Zoom interview. The application process will be open until the position(s) is filled. There will be at least one and perhaps two interns hired.


This internship will immerse the participant in the application of a Conflict Resolution Manual to teach “real-world” skills about violence prevention and mediation focusing on economically underserved youth. To get the most from it, the intern will learn about the demographics of various areas in DC, and the ongoing causes of violence. The intern will be involved in developing and helping to teach workshops on conflict resolution, and will be part of developing and implementing the simulation that is the capstone experience for the participants. Part of the intern’s responsibility will be helping in the assessment of the program as we move into larger-scale implementation with a range of participants. Through this project, the intern will also learn valuable skills in mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution and violence prevention.

Experiences of the Subsequent Generations: A Salvadorian-American Conversation

Sticky post

Adrienne Castellón, Program Associate, IWA
Margaret Smith, Director of Trauma Healing and Community Resilience, IWA

  1. Executive Summary

This pilot project convened a group of subsequent generation Salvadorian-Americans (2nd generation and 1st generation who came over as children/adolescents) with strong ties to community work to discuss and better understand the experiences and needs of the Salvadorian-American and Salvadorian community in the DC Metropolitan area.

Needs identified by the discussion group sessions included: increase access to opportunity, destigmatize and promote mental health, and strengthen a sense of community and identity.

Participants shared a concern about the poverty narrative that dominates the portrayal of the Salvadorian community and functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy, reducing expectations of what is possible. They underlined the need for a different, positive narrative that highlights accomplishments and presents stories of success.

They also emphasized that the refugee history of the previous generation points to a legacy of inherited trauma that is still being negotiated.

The group brainstormed projects that could make a difference.  All agreed that the idea of a cross-generational oral history and art project held particular promise since engaging in artistic endeavors can provide a socially acceptable way to express and process trauma.

The proposed follow-up project would consist of oral recordings, written accounts, or artistic renderings of personal stories from first and subsequent generation Salvadorians, particularly in the context of emigration/immigration, the civil war, and acculturation in American society.

This project will piece together a history of collective experiences and exhibit them as an attempt to help heal fragmentation, preserve history, foster shared identity and heritage, and create a more positive narrative for this community going forward.

  1. Project Background

The “Experiences of the Subsequent Generations – A Salvadorian-American Conversation” was conceived as a pilot project that would explore the sense of identity, the aspirations, and the needs of second-generation Salvadorian-Americans living in the metropolitan Washington, DC region. The pilot project was carried out in a discussion group format and endeavored to encourage honest dialogue about how participants viewed their experiences, how they saw their current status and, as consequence, choices made about the future.

The project was supervised by Margaret Smith, Director of Trauma Healing and Community Resilience at the Institute of World Affairs (IWA).  Adrienne Castellón, IWA Program Associate, served as the project manager and discussion facilitator. 

Dr. Michael Lund Presents Findings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

IWA Senior Associate, Dr. Michael Lund, gave two talks recently at a high-level conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference was attended by two hundred influential Ethiopians from the government, political parties and civil society. The conference was held to discuss how Ethiopia can build on the Prime Minister’s initial reforms to transition from its top-down political system to a more pluralistic and stable democracy. Lund presented findings from his recent research on how multi-ethnic developing countries can avoid the possible hazards of attempted political transitions, such as political violence, repression, civil war, mass atrocities, and state breakdown. The new President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde (the first woman to hold that position), gave the opening speech, and former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, was the conference keynote speaker. Several follow-up activities are planned to build momentum behind the reform effort. About this unusual opportunity, Lund noted, “I’m very grateful I could apply my research on peaceful transitions to help this great and beautiful country of 103 million people at this immensely critical moment in its history!”

IWA President Hrach Gregorian and Senior Associate George Irani present study on Lebanon’s displaced at ISA meeting in Toronto

IWA President HG and Senior Associate GI present study on Lebanon's displaced at ISA meeting in Toronto.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén