Michael Keller (Sri Lanka)

Michael Keller (Home for Human Rights, Sri Lanka): Michael worked as a summer-school teacher, a research assistant at a counter-terrorism consulting firm, an intern at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris, and a consular intern at the US Consulate General in Naples. At the time of his fellowship, Michal was in the fourth of a five-year program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, pursuing a BS and MS in Foreign Service. He speaks Italian, French and German.

Training in DC

19 May

My journey to Sri Lanka has already begun, though I have yet to see any of the elephants I’d been told I would run into on a regular basis. Instead I am in the company of a group of very capable interns that the Advocacy Project is preparing to unleash upon humanity. Our goal, we’ve been told, is to change the world. Right now getting my business visa seems to be a less lofty objective, yet even that is no simple task, and I fear the bureaucracy that awaits me.

Here in AP’s comfortable Washington, D.C. office, fresh off my exams and far away from the daily human rights abuses that I’ll soon help document, I’m unable to imagine the challenges that will face me. I truly look forward to seeing this tropical island, meeting its people, contributing to their well-being, and learning a lot in the process. Yet my enthusiasm is dampened by an enormous sense of anxiety.

I ask myself repeatedly whether or not I’m ready to do this. Am I qualified to advise human rights workers twice my age on how to do their jobs more effectively? More importantly, will they listen? I have my doubts. I just hope the staffers at Home for Human Rights are as excited to host an intern as I’ve been told they are.

In three months, when I post my final blog, I hope to be able to look back on my time in Colombo with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that has been absent in my internship experiences in the private and public sectors. Even better, I hope to have helped a country move one step closer to freedom. But first it needs to authorize my visa.

Posted By Michael Keller (Sri Lanka)

Posted May 19th, 2004

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