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Exceeding Expectations

Report by Mrs. Henriette Hänsch on her internship at the Regional Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation from January 1 to March 31, 2008

My three month internship at the Foundation’s regional office in Cairo, from January to March 2008, was a very valuable experience which exceeded my expectations. On my first day at the office Dr. Ronald Meinardus, the Foundation’s regional director, assured me that I would get a good insight to the work and functions of a political foundation during those three month.

Now looking back, I can say that thanks to the office staff who constantly gave me the opportunity to participate and get to know the daily work routine, I was really able to get an impression of what work in a political foundation is like.

The work I was assigned varied from monotonous but necessary office work, like organizing the foundation’s library, to very exciting things such as attending workshops, seminars and conferences. Occasionally I was asked to do translation work or to research certain topics. The fact that I was invited to attend the regular staff meetings and follow-up meetings on projects gave me an idea about the organizational structure and decision-making processes inside the office.

In particular it was interesting to learn about the Foundation’s local partners and the way they cooperate with FNF. Here, I read proposals and agreements on events that later took place either organized by a partner organizations or by the Naumann Foundation. I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of workshops and seminars were targeting university students. Twice, I was able to attend such events.

The first one was a four day workshop in Ismailia in cooperation with the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth and aimed at enhancing participation and to improve performance of youth organizations in Egypt. The second workshop was on academic freedom and students rights in cooperation with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. During theses workshops I got the chance to talk to the participating students and get first hand information on student concerns in Egypt and the difficulties they are facing.

The good thing about the internship was that I constantly had a task to work on and work in general was very balanced - most of the time it matched my interests. Another thing I would like to mention is that the atmosphere in the FNF office is very pleasant. The staff members are all really nice and were always willing to assist me and to include me in their work.

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty in Egypt :