Internships Help Global Affairs Student See the World

The challenges and opportunities provided by internships with ONE and the State Department give Henneberger global vision.

by B.J. Koubaroulis

Danielle Henneberger’s Burke, Virginia, home is less than 10 miles from George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. A few years ago, when she chose to attend college close to home, Henneberger never thought her studies would take her so far away.

A 22-year-old global affairs major, Henneberger is approaching the end of her college career, a four-year stretch during which she’s traveled the world and interned with the United States Department of State and The ONE Campaign.

Henneberger is currently interning with ONE, formerly The ONE Campaign, which is an anti-poverty advocacy organization, started by U2 singer Bono and Bob Geldof, and is based in Washington, D.C., London, and Berlin.

“I have been with ONE for three terms now, each time doing something a little bit different,” said Henneberger. “My first time around, I was involved with the U.S. government relations team and worked to facilitate lobbying efforts and provide research for whatever they might need.  I also worked with the trips and events team to plan an interactive internal website featuring information (site visits, contacts, hotels, restaurants, quotes, etc.) from past staff trips to Africa in an effort to help future trips go more smoothly and for all staff members to learn more about what happens during trips.”

During this experience, Henneberger spent time in meetings on Capitol Hill, with various non-governmental organizations, at development updates at various institutes, and in numerous meetings in-house.

The experience also took Henneberger to Geneva, Switzerland, where she helped with the creation and implementation of the organization’s intranet site.  She also met some of the world’s most recognizable difference-makers.

“One of the most inspiring events I attended with ONE was the presentation by Bill and Melinda Gates in launching their ‘Living Proof Project,’” said Henneberger, who, in addition to her major, is pursuing a concentration in international health and global governance and diplomacy. “The project brought together facts, figures and personal stories about the successes that U.S. development assistance has achieved. The presentation really showed how much has been done and even more of what can be done. The tag line of being “impatient optimists” really hit close to home and has inspired me further to do what I can in international development to play my role in furthering these examples of living proof. “

In addition to her three terms with ONE, Henneberger spent the 2009 spring semester in Geneva, Switzerland interning for the United States State Department.

“I spent a significant amount of time learning the diplomatic process,” said Henneberger. “The department I worked for was responsible for assessing and funding projects put forth by various humanitarian organizations. I had the opportunity to sit in on executive committee meetings for The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which analyzed UNHCR’s budget, goals and structure. I attended meetings of the human rights council and for emergency appeals and flash humanitarian updates.”

Henneberger’s experiences abroad have changed her perspective.

“A key inspiration that the internships gave me was the overwhelming desire to understand as much as possible about international development,” said Henneberger. “I not only grew professionally, but as a person. Not only did I learn about the United Nations and the United States’ role in it, but I learned more about what I’m capable of and how important helping others in need is to me in anything I choose to do in the future. I also got to travel quite a bit in Europe and had the chance to meet other interns from around the world.”