I spent the summer as a research associate at the Washington, D.C. think tank Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). COHA was founded in 1975 and has a long history of informing U.S.-Latin America policy. In addition to drafting and editing pieces on human rights and current events in the Americas, I assisted extramural research fellows with the editorial process. I also was able to attend events on corruption in Colombia, gender violence for migrant children in the Northern Triangle, and peace building and negotiation, getting the opportunity to sit feet from Panamanian president Varela.
This was an excellent networking opportunity and a few COHA colleagues and I founded an organization that promotes dialogue on current events in the Americas. In addition, I became more informed about U.S.-Latin America policy and practiced condensing information from multiple sources into press releases and briefs as well as drafting effective, concise op-ed pieces. COHA allowed me to select my own research topics and was fairly loosely-structured. I authored or co-authored 6 pieces, some of which were published in the bi-weekly journal Washington Report on the Hemisphere.
I believe that it could be valuable for a MIIS student to serve as an extramural research fellow for COHA in the future.