Q&A with Mark Besonen
Master of Public Policy, 2017
Global Policy Concentration
Summer Internship: Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The internship began in mid-March, so I started on a part-time basis, telecommuting, until classes ended in May. Then I moved to Chicago for 11 weeks and returned to Minneapolis in mid-August.
Tell us about your internship. My primary assignment was to conduct foreign policy research for the president of the Council, Ivo Daalder, for a piece he is writing for publication in the Washington Post this fall. The focus of the piece is the National Security Council, and it will make recommendations on how the next president should set up and manage the NSC. I researched various topics such as the history of the NSC, its role in previous administrations, and the NSC’s decision-making process. I also did research on President Obama’s handling of foreign policy issues, for a separate series of articles that Ivo Daalder is writing.
What in particular made this internship rewarding? The most rewarding assignment I had was writing a piece that was published online on the Council’s Global Insight blog. It’s about how the timing is right for Kurdish nationalists to succeed at establishing an independent Kurdish state.
How will this internship shape your completion of studies at the Humphrey School? This internship gave me incredible first-hand experience working on foreign policy issues with some of the best experts in the field, especially the president of the Council, who is a former ambassador to NATO. I don’t think I could have gotten this experience anywhere else.
How do you see this experience impacting your plan to advance the common good after graduation? My goal is to work in Washington, DC, either for a federal agency or a Congressional committee. This internship was a great step toward that eventual goal.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of the oldest think tanks in the country, founded in the 1920s. Over the last two decades it has transitioned to a broader focus on issues like climate change, terrorism, and the global economy.
Working at the Council gave me a broader perspective on global issues. I had interned last summer at the Hudson Institute, which is a conservative group. The Chicago Council has a more nuanced perspective on these issues. So when I look for a position I can point out my broad range of experience from both sides of the aisle. It was a great experience.