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.