|Student monitors world affairs from Carter Center
RELEASED: Aug. 14, 2002
DANVILLE, KYEach day he goes to the office and monitors conflicts throughout the world and determines how to resolve these conflicts.
He keeps a close eye on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the situation in Kashmir and the changing political landscape in Nepal.
He also has to be prepared to respond to up-to-the-minute developments half a world away.
Is this President Bush? U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell? Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge?
The scenario above is actually a typical day this summer for Centre College junior Nate Olson, who is an intern at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
The Carter Center, celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, is a nonpartisan public affairs institute dedicated to fighting disease, poverty, conflict and oppression. It was founded by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.
Olson, an Owensboro native who is pursuing a double-major at Centre in government and economics, is taking part in the Conflict Resolution Program, one of the four Carter Center peace programs.
"The internship has been a wonderfully substantive experience," he said. "I've benefited so much from the diversity and expertise of the people with whom I've worked. In the peace programs, for instance, we have interns from Germany, Japan, Sudan, Brazil, Kenya, Gambia, Tanzania, China, Ukraine and England. Each program can claim staff who are internationally recognized in their respective fields. It's just a fascinating array of people who are intelligent, dedicated, good-humored.
"Above all, I love tackling issues and I love working with conscientious people. I got both this summer, and I'm most grateful."
Olson and five other interns organized and presented two workshops on conflict and mediation. The first was for a group of Cincinnati youth who had been affected by the April 2001 race riots. The second was for a local affiliate of the Ulster Project, which brings together Catholic and Protestant students from the United States and Northern Ireland.
"These workshops were every bit as educational for me as they were for the kids," Olson said.
His major project has been preparing for upcoming symposia on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and problems in Kashmir. Duties include developing agendas, choosing participants and anticipating what challenges participants might encounter in their discussions. Olson plans to return to the Carter Center after his internship for one, and possibly both, of these symposiums.
Olson was an intern for U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) during the summer of 2001, working specifically for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Olson will study abroad during Centre's spring term. He'll be in the College's London program under the guidance of Centre's Elizabeth Perkins, Gordon B. Davidson Associate Professor of History, and Nayef Samhat, NEH Associate Professor of Government and International Studies.
An article Olson wrote on issues he was working on at the Carter Center appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader earlier this summer.
Jessica Gibson, a 2000 Centre graduate, is also at the Carter Center this summer, serving as a graduate assistant. Centre graduate John Goodman '00 worked as an intern at the Carter Center in 1998.
President Carter was Centre's Commencement speaker on May 31, 1987.
To learn more about the Carter Center, visit http://www.CarterCenter.org/.
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