The following are testimonials written by International Affairs Fellowship alumni.
Photo Credit: Jenifer Morris Photography
Class of 2017 Testimonials
The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship has gone above and beyond my expectations for this summer. Interning at the State Department is already a great opportunity - add in the additional mentorship from former fellows and the ambassadors and you have a wonderful program brimming with professional and personal development. In this summer alone I have been able to identify a concrete career path I would like to follow (foreign service) while also noticing other potential avenues that I haven't previously thought of before (congressional committees). I have also been inspired to apply to programs like Rangel and Pickering, and now I am even considering graduate school! I came to DC this summer unsure of where I wanted to go with my career, and I'm leaving with a new confidence and ambition for the future. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!
Being a CAA Annenberg Fellow has been a thrilling and rewarding experience. My internship with the State Department afforded me the opportunity to develop professional experience with work in a region that I have a background in and passion for, while the classes through The Fund for American Studies offered arenas for discussion on the pressing issues facing current and future policymakers. Furthermore, the opportunities for professional development - through both TFAS and CAA - were unparalleled. This summer experience has not only allowed me to develop valuable skills that will aid me greatly in a future career in public service, but it has also empowered me with a wider professional network and a better idea of the myriad of opportunities awaiting me after graduation.
The CAA Fellowship is a one of a kind opportunity. The advice given by two former U.S Ambassadors, and a peer mentor is invaluable. This Fellowship provided me with extra knowledge that the Internship alone did not. It provided me with a network of people that were there to offer career and personal advice. CAA offered unique events with great opportunities to network. The CAA Fellowship and the TFAS program also gave me with friendships that will last after I have left D.C. This has been one of the most intense and rewarding summers of my life. I will be forever grateful and proud to be a CAA Fellow.
The CAA Fellowship gave me the most rewarding summer experience of my college career. It connected with a diverse network and offered candid accounts of life at the State Department and civil service in general. My mentors went above and beyond to connect me to career opportunities and new contacts. I hope to stay in contact with the Council, my peer fellows, and the wide alumni network for years to come.
This summer as a CAA Fellow has been an incredibly rewarding experience. As an intern in the Office of Southern European Affairs, my time on the Turkey, Greece and Cyprus desks has solidified my desire to pursue a career in public service. There was never a quiet day on the desk and I felt like the work I did truly contributed to the overall efforts of the office. My CAA fellowship was a great compliment to my time at State. It provided me with incredible access to a career network that I otherwise would not have been a part of. The mentoring sessions expanded my conceptions of what my career can look like postgrad, and my that I am grateful. I am lucky to be part of such a wonderful network that is truly interested in helping me advance my career goals.
The Council of American Ambassadors program was a great opportunity that allowed me to further solidify my aspirational career goals. The ambassador and peer mentorships built upon some of the knowledge I acquired at my State Department internship, leaving me with a better understanding of life in the government and the Foreign Service. It also gave me an opportunity to meet with and learn from other interns, rounding out my summer experience.
The Annenberg Fellowship supplemented an already impactful internship at the State Department with an experience that will stick with me for a lifetime. My cohort and I have been warmly welcomed into the CAA family, an invaluable and unique community of former ambassadors, driven and passionate young people, and of course, the incomparable Carolyn Gretzinger. From participation in academic courses and regular mentoring sessions to a trip to the Nats game and professional development workshops, this fellowship helped me grow as an individual and future professional. I know my experiences from this summer will play a huge role in shaping my future career decisions, and I couldn't be more grateful for having been selected as a 2017 Fellow.
I loved my time as a CAA Fellow. It was such a privilege to get to know my ambassador mentor and the rest of the CAA network, and the CAA events were a crucial complement to my State Department internship. I can't imagine a more well-rounded experience for a student of foreign policy and international affairs.
I really learned a lot from this summer. I am grateful for the opportunities that this program gave me and the experiences I had through my interactions with the ambassadors, the peer mentors, and the other fellows. I truly enjoyed this fellowship and would recommend anyone to apply.
Class of 2016 Testimonials
This summer has been an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience due the Council of American Ambassadors Annenberg Fellowship and my internship at the State Department. My internship provided me with substantive work, the opportunity to delve deeper into a region I am highly interested in, and a better understanding of the complexities of the U.S. government. The fellowship was the perfect complement to my internship, as it gave me practical skills including ambassador mentorship, academic coursework, and exposure to new career paths in government. Between the ambassadors, peer mentors, and other fellows, I feel I have joined a community that is interested in my professional and personal development. I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a unique and rewarding program.
The Annenberg Fellowship allowed me to combine the incredible internship opportunity I had interning at the Office of International Health and Biodefense with academic courses that discussed topics related to international affairs each session. The seminars gave me insight to fields -- like intelligence -- that TFAS did not. And finally, I will be forever grateful to both my ambassador mentors and my peer mentors for conversations on careers and my future as well as their insightful advice.
John P. (Trey) Curran
The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship program has been the perfect complement to my internship at the State Department. The unparalleled combination of professional experience, academic enrichment, and exceptional mentorship dovetail to afford me the most transformative summer of my life.
The Council of American Ambassadors fellowship provided me with invaluable experiences this summer. The mentoring sessions were informative and insightful, offering an honest and real-world view of a career in international affairs. The relationships that were built among the fellows were not only a support system throughout the summer, but also act as a springboard for our futures. We have each become a part of a small community of like-minded individuals within the broader DC and international affairs world. The investment, commitment, and time the mentors and the Council have made to us will also be appreciated as an effort to truly guide and help us enhance our careers.
Sricharana (Sri) Muppidi
The CAA Fellowship has been incredibly beneficial to both my personal and professional development. I've really appreciated my time with the Ambassador mentors as well as my peers in the program, and I hope to continue my relationships and remain a part of this incredible community despite the summer ending. I also appreciated the substantive work experiences I gained from my internship at the State Department. I'm very grateful for being a part of this program, and I appreciate everyone's support who made it such an amazing experience.
My overall experience with the CAA Fellowship was entirely positive -- I have been thankful every day that I decided to apply. I did not have a "typical" CAA experience due to my decision to not participate in TFAS classes and therefore not live on GW's campus, but this is another decision I have not regretted. While the classes have sounded interesting, the CAA Fellowship was a strong program without them, and I never felt excluded from the program or less than any of my fellows as a result of my decision. My ambassador mentor, Ambassador Valdez, always had great advice during our sessions in addition to fascinating conversations that ranged in topic from history to world politics. Finally, this fellowship has resulted in meeting the eight other participants, which has been a great boon during my time in D.C. this summer, and I hope we will continue our associations in the future. I am both honored and exited to join the alumni of this program after I graduate and intend to remain an active participant in the CAA alumni network.
I loved my internship with the State Department's IIP Office. As promised, I did real work (not just "intern tasks") and worked with very friendly people who took time out of their day to talk to me about their careers and give me advice about my future. My work was concrete in that I knew it was going towards the Young African Leaders Initiative Washington Mandela Fellows Summit held in August. Additionally, I knew the work was substantive because I did not get bored. I learned a lot and will never forget my summer with the CAA program!
This fellowship experience was extremely beneficial both for my present and future plans, goals and aspirations. The learning that occurred through these lectures and programs stretched my thought processes to a new level. The classes at George Mason University nicely complemented the issues and discussions exposed during the mentoring and lecture series.Interactions with other fellows and my mentors allowed for discussion of topics that were of mutual interest at a deeper level than in classroom settings. I plan to keep in touch with my mentors following the conclusion of this program.
I cannot begin to thank the fellowship committee for selecting me to take part in this unique fellowship to help fund a memorable summer. The summer was intense between work, class and fellowship requirements, but I leave DC with a deeper understanding of how policy works in real life, via my internship, and theoretically, via my classes. The peer mentors also served as an invaluable addition to the fellowship. Tapping into their experience as current professionals who have gone through the fellowship, graduated college and who could relate to similar anxieties and life goals that we have was great. They provided sound advice and genuinely wanted to see us succeed in the future. How often can one say that they were mentored by two former U.S. Ambassadors? The guidance I received and connections that my mentors facilitated on my behalf opened doors and opportunities that I would have never imagined. Their life advice and desire to see us succeed was greatly appreciated and pushed us to do even greater things. Getting to know eight brilliant fellows who are all so brilliant and amazing was truly humbling and I learned so much from them. While we all work in different offices and have different interests, we are all oriented towards service in some capacity. Learning about each fellow and why they are drawn to service was both inspiring and pushed me to do even more.
Class of 2015 Testimonials
The CAA Fellowship provided an incredible, unique opportunity to explore different public service careers in the federal government. Each meeting with Ambassador Valdez and my peer mentors provided new insights into public service job opportunities and how to best line up these opportunities to fit my interests. I was especially struck by the depth of the Ambassador’s first two questions to me: “How do you make decisions?” and “What do you find fulfilling?” Those two questions could only come from someone who truly cared about my future and who wanted me to succeed.
My time as a CAA Fellow was so rewarding. Besides being among likeminded young people with positive aspirations, the mentoring provided by Ambassador Russo and others is an experience that I would not have been able to get anywhere else. As if that wasn’t enough, the pro seminars offered invaluable advice that will help me move forward into the career that I want. I look forward to being a part of the alumni association and seeing how the program continues to grow.
Being a Walter and Leonore Annenberg Fellow in addition to interning at the State Department made a substantial difference in my time in Washington this summer and a lasting impact on my future path. Throughout the summer I was thoroughly impressed by the kindness, warmth, and thoughtfulness I received from my ambassador mentor, Laurie Fulton, and the other ambassadors who took part in the program. I will continue to value their advice and the close friendships I have made with other CAA fellows long after this summer. I am truly grateful to have been able to participate in this incredible opportunity, and can only hope that the CAA fellowship program continues long into the future. I cannot recommend any similar summer program in Washington more strongly.
I was struck by how many opportunities for personal and professional development were presented to me throughout the summer. I am very grateful to the Council for organizing this program and allowing us to see and do so much in such a brief time, and I would happily recommend any future interns at the Department of State to apply for this program in the future.
Interning at the Iran Desk during such a momentous time has been an incredible experience. I am so grateful to my supervisors and colleagues for giving me the opportunity to learn and work on a huge range of issues while at State. But I am also infinitely grateful to the Council of American Ambassadors fellowship for making this summer truly unforgettable and giving me the opportunity to learn and listen from an amazing group of former ambassadors who have served across the world.
I greatly enjoyed my Fellowships experience. My ambassador mentor was exceptional, and I would do the entire Fellowship over again simply to be able to meet with her. The professional seminars provided an inside look at a wide-range of career options, and it was nice to hear from professionals who were closer to our age. They made relevant points, and we were able to ask questions pertaining to each of our interests. I thought that the Fellowship was a useful experience, and it complimented my internship well.
The CAA fellowship was the perfect combination of professional development and hands-on learning. In my internship, I gained a deeper understanding of the State department and multilateral diplomacy, and at fellowship events I learned about the breadth of options for students interested in international relations. Both my ambassador mentor and peer mentor gave me excellent advice and guidance about the future. It was a summer well spent.
My experience as an Annenberg Fellow was truly remarkable and supplemented my summer internship at the State Department. The Ambassadors and the Alumni Fellows offered great insights into career possibilities as well as support and guidance through mentoring sessions during the summer. The speaker series provided the opportunity to hear from individuals who were successful in their careers, and could offer apt advice for those of us facing graduation within the next year. Lastly, the opportunity to meet and become friends with the other Fellows was one of the greatest highlights of the program, and one that will extend far beyond the conclusion of the summer.
Class of 2014 Testimonials
The CAA Fellowship helped me make the most of my internship at the State Department. All the Ambassadors have an enormous wealth of knowledge about working in international affairs and gave candid, specific advice that was very useful in preparing for senior year and beginning the job search. It was also great to connect with other fellows and alumni and learn about their experiences.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the CAA, and I really appreciate their help in making this an unforgettable summer. Overall, the fellowship exceeded my expectations. I was surprised by everyone in the program’s genuine desire to help, and I was surprised by the camaraderie I found amongst the fellows. Ambassador Hughes was an excellent mentor. He went through great efforts to make himself as available as possible, and his advice was always well backed and thoughtful. I did not know what to expect of this summer coming in, however I was definitely not expecting everything to turn out as well as it did.
The Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg Fellowship of the Council of American Ambassadors has been a wonderful opportunity that has facilitated immense personal and professional development. My Ambassador mentor and peer mentor have been willing and motivated to meet with me regularly throughout the summer; these rewarding relationships that have developed, as well as the advice I have been given, are invaluable. One of the other valuable aspects has been the opportunity to get to know young professionals on a substantial level, and the camaraderie that has then been established between the fellows. Most importantly, my State Department internship has been perfectly complemented by this Fellowship, placing my career aspirations into a tangible context, with mentorship each step of the way. The final piece to the Fellowship, the Fund for American Studies courses and lectures, have made this summer the rigorous experience that I had desired. The high-level of debate and discussion in these courses challenged me intellectually in a refreshing way, as I was exposed to new views and opinions daily.
The Annenberg Fellowship has provided an invaluable complement to my State Department internship, allowing me to interact with inspiring Ambassador and peer mentors, and challenging me to participate in coursework on economics and foreign policy. I have grown professionally and personally, and I have been exposed to a plethora of opportunities that I did not even know existed. My ultimate goal is to enter the Foreign Service, but regardless of where I end up, I am incredibly thankful that the Council chose to invest in me, a first-generation college student who would never have dreamed of an opportunity like this.
What makes the Annenberg Fellowship so special is the involvement of the ambassadors throughout the entire summer. Their genuine interest in our overall DC experience and their willingness to provide career and life advice was incredibly encouraging. The conversations I had with Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, my assigned mentor, and the other ambassadors over coffee or lunch are some of the most cherished moments I will take from this summer. I had some incredible moments during my internship at the Department of State as well. My supervisor and the rest of our team were great about including me in their projects and inviting to exciting events within the department and even at other agencies. I got the opportunity to be at negotiations for an international convention, attend senate hearings, manage social media for my bureau, and meet public officials such as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, among many other things. I’m leaving the department with a better understanding of the way the government works and with a desire to return to DC and join the public service some day. Overall I feel inspired by the mission of this fellowship and I hope to one day be in a position where I can do the same for someone else as the Council of American Ambassadors has done for me and the other fellows this summer.
Over the course of the summer, I formed close friendships and had the opportunity to speak with a number of current and former government officials both within and outside of the State Department about their work. The Annenberg Fellowship made the critical summer before my senior year of college a highly enriching and rewarding stepping-stone on my path to a career in foreign affairs. Thanks to extensive and personalized mentoring and support from the Council of American Ambassadors, along with the public sector exposure and valuable professional experience I gained from my internship in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, I feel confident and prepared as I enter my final year of undergraduate education and the post-graduation job market.
The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship is a unique, eye-opening opportunity that has helped me grow both academically and professionally as I prepare to graduate and enter the workforce in a few months. My internship at the State Department brought me into contact with phenomenal people and the work they do to promote the United States’ best interests abroad. Interning has helped me narrow down the fields I want to target as I prepare to enter the workforce. Together with the fellowship and its unique opportunities, my summer has been truly valuable and memorable. The ambassadors are a fantastic resource and were always eager to share and impart a collective wealth of information and advice. Lastly, getting to know the other fellows in the program has been absolutely wonderful and has led to relationships and connections that I know will last beyond the summer. I am humbled and honored to have been chosen for this fellowship.
I had high expectations for the Fellowship and it far surpassed them. I had the chance to work on many issues I am passionate about and it was a very valuable experience to see how the State Department functions. It was incredible to be able to have the undivided attention of someone with years of experience and an unparalleled knowledge of how Washington is wired. The advice I received was invaluable. It was an incredible experience and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have participated.
The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship program has both enhanced and complemented my summer internship at the State Department, through the lessons learned in class, as well as the mentoring advice. The classes helped to add another layer of complexity and nuance to the scenes I witnessed at the State Department. Additionally, the mentoring I received in this program was by far the best mentoring advice I’ve ever received. CAA provides a strong support system, through both its alumni Fellows and the Ambassadors, which significantly helped to guide me closer towards achieving my goals and realizing my dreams. It was an invaluable experience and an incredible addition to my summer.
Class of 2013 Testimonials
The Council of American Ambassadors Annenberg Fellowship program is a fantastic, eye-opening way to spend a summer. During my internship at the State Department, I have gained real-world experience working in international relations, which has given me a clearer idea of the career path I would like to pursue in the future. The mentorship component has also been hugely valuable, providing me with an insider's perspective on how to have a successful career in Washington. Lastly, the classes and guest lectures provided by The Fund for American Studies have opened my eyes to new ideas and ways of thinking, and given me a more well-rounded perspective on the major issues facing us today. During the course of the Fellowship program, I have grown as a thinker, worker, and student, and I know that the knowledge I've gained and friendships I've made will stay with me well after the summer ends.
Overall, the fellowship was very rewarding. It really complimented the internship nicely and I was able to take advantage of some great mentoring....[T]he fellowship was a wonderful opportunity to meet a wide range of successful and helpful individuals in a line of work that I am very interested in pursuing. Thank you so much for an incredible summer in D.C.!
The Council of American Ambassador’s Annenberg Fellowship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate education. Interning at the State Department in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has been a dream come true in itself, but the opportunities offered by the fellowship program have made this experience even more rewarding. The CAA mentors are not only an impressive, fascinating cast of characters, but are overwhelming generous in their willingness to invest in a group of aspiring young professionals. Sessions with my mentors yielded incredible stories about their lives and experiences as foreign policy insiders and invaluable guidance and career advice. Getting to know my fellow Fellows and peer mentors has been a reward in itself, and I have been friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. I am proud and honored to join the ranks of Annenberg alumni, and I look forward to being an active member of the Annenberg Fellow network.
I feel incredibly grateful for having participated in the Council of American Ambassadors’ Annenberg Fellowship. At every step of the program, I was surrounded by amazing individuals who were motivated by a shared desire to create positive change in the world. The CAA staff was always very accommodating to all of my needs and I felt like I had a strong support system throughout my rigorous summer internship. The ambassador mentors were always kind, encouraging, and engaging. They always conveyed a deep interest in all of the fellows and shared their experiences in a candid and humble way. I think the most important element of the mentoring process was being able to see a human side of extremely accomplished individuals. After all of my conversations with the fellows, alumni, and ambassadors, I was left with feelings of inspiration and hope. This program has helped me think critically about my goals and plan for my future.
The Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg Fellowship of the Council of American Ambassadors provided an unparalleled opportunity to explore my interest in international affairs and to accelerate my academic and career growth. By complimenting my State Department internship with classes in international economics and foreign policy, the Fellowship transformed my internship into a deeply engaging and immersive experience. I learned a great deal about foreign affairs and public service not only from fellow Fellows and CAA Alumni, but also from Ambassador Abelardo Valdez and other CAA Ambassadors who so generously shared invaluable wisdom from years of dedicated and accomplished careers. I am grateful for the engagement and support that this community of incredible individuals has shown me. It made my summer truly profound and reinforced my commitment to one day serve our great nation through a career in public service. I am deeply grateful for all that this summer has provided and I look forward to the collective impact the CAA family will make in helping to shape a positive future.
The Council of American Ambassadors fellowship was an extraordinary opportunity to combine practical work experience at the State Department with mentorship from leaders in the international affairs field. The former ambassadors really take an interest in your work and your aspirations, and are willing to be helpful in any way they can. This fellowship is a rare opportunity to forge a close relationship with mentors who have a wide range of experience in foreign affairs - both in the private sector and in government. The fellowship has not only confirmed my interest in pursuing a career in foreign affairs, but also broadened my interests and opened new doors of opportunity. The fellowship offers an unrivaled experience for college students passionate about public service and foreign affairs.
The CAA Fellowship as a whole added an entirely different dimension to my summer experience here in DC—without which I would not have gained such significant personal and professional development. The academic, professional, and mentoring components of the Fellowship created a powerful “trifecta” of challenging yet remarkable experiences that I will never forget. The academic courses provided a space for intellectual expansion and a community of students with whom to engage. The internship at the State Department exposed me to the complex and vital work involved in all aspects US foreign policy, and the people responsible for carrying out the nation's interests and values. The Ambassadorial Mentoring provided invaluable support and guidance in sharpening both my professional pursuits and individual ambitions. Two months have never flown by so fast, yet I feel that I have accomplished a great deal. I know that I will carry this powerful experience with me into the future; no matter what career path I choose to pursue.
Class of 2012 Testimonials
"The Council of American Ambassadors International Affairs Fellowship has been indispensable in the invaluable experience I have had in Washington this summer....The advice if my Mentor and Peer Mentor and willingness to share their life journeys have informed the way I think about my future and how I can become successful in the field of international affairs. I am so grateful to have been a part of this fantastic program and I look forward to giving back in whatever way I can in the future. It is truly a great experience for young, motivated college students who desire to make a difference."
"The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship has provided me with invaluable insight and professional experience this summer...All three aspects - the mentoring, internship and academic components - were extremely beneficial. I am deeply thankful that I was able to participate in the program, as it has helped pave a clearer road towards where I would like to see myself in the future."
"My time at the State Department was a great chance to explore future career opportunities, meet interesting individuals from diverse backgrounds, and get a better sense of what it is like to live and work in Washington DC. The CAA Fellowship program provided me with the opportunity to interact with like-minded interns from across the country, as well as to receive invaluable mentorship from ambassadors who have achieved so much. Learning about each of their paths enhanced my understanding of government service and furthered the idea that there is no 'one way' to be successful in a career in international relations. Participating in the fellowship program has strengthened my desire to serve my country upon graduation next year."
"I loved my internship...The classes offered value-added by further exposing me to economics and to American foreign policy, a subject I will be pursuing in the upcoming semester. Yet the most important aspect of my experience was the mentorship, both from CAA and from my internship."
"With my mentor, we discussed current trends, lifelong goals, aspirations, and the workings of the international system. Peer mentors, who come from recent and similar experiences, advised me on how they made similar decisions to those that I will make over the next few years. In the American Foreign Policy class, I was challenged by a great professor to think critically on the controversial issues in American Foreign policy while simultaneously recognizing and understanding fundamentally different viewpoints of relations in an international system. All of these experiences were made possible through the fellowship. Each one has strengthened me personally, professionally, and academically."
"Being given the opportunity to tap into the minds at The State Department, Georgetown University, and at The Council of American Ambassadors has allowed me to shape some of my life's most important decisions, in the best possible setting. Perhaps more importantly, the relationships I have developed with The Council, my Ambassador-Mentor, and the other fellows are simply irreplaceable, and are certainly relationships that will stay me for the rest of my life."
Class of 2011 Testimonials
"The CAA Fellowship has been an opportunity of a lifetime---one that has shaped me into a more focused and driven individual with a greater understanding of what my future will look like...I'm continually grateful to the Council for such a special experience and I walk away from this summer with a renewed sense of confidence as I approach my final year of university, ready for the 'real world.'"
"The mentoring sessions with my ambassador-mentor have given me ideas and advice on career advancement, getting a job, and networking. The mentoring sessions, as well as the [events with the] other Ambassadors, were really quite valuable in terms of focusing my career goals and figuring out how to go about achieving them."
"Through individual and group mentoring sessions, I received personalized guidance on a host of topics ranging from education and careers to networking and public speaking. I entered the fellowship with a general conviction to pursue an international career. Three months later, I returned to school with a clarified idea of both my options and preferences for my post-graduation trajectory."
"The Fellowship program was the opportunity and experience of a lifetime. I so distinctly appreciate the time my mentors and CAA administrators devoted to helping me. It was invaluable."
"I am astounded by how much I learned---about DC, Department of State, my bureau, professionals skills, Foreign Service, and much more. I felt extremely honored to be in the company of both the Council and my fellows, and learned just as much from them as I did from my internship and mentoring...While I hope to pursue the Foreign Service or other opportunities in the diplomatic realm, I know that the technical abilities and interpersonal skills gained with this internship are invaluable to my future."
"My internship afforded me the unique and extraordinarily fulfilling opportunity to research, review and analyze one of their projects entirely autonomously. I could not have asked for anything better...My mentor has proved to be an unending source for career advice and his opinions have been very helpful to my thinking about my future...My experience [was] truly indescribable."
"The mentoring sessions were incredibly useful in discerning appropriate career paths and relevant 'next steps." As a rising senior, I appreciated my mentor's generosity with his time and resources to provide me with the best possible mentoring experience. Additionally, the collaboration between mentors for group mentoring sessions or events allowed me to observe dialogue between highly respected former ambassadors with vastly different political views and affiliations...The mentoring was engaging and useful both personally and professionally."
Class of 2010 Testimonials
"The internship and mentoring went hand in hand. While the internship introduced me to the everyday work load and responsibilities of civil and foreign service officers, mentoring by my Ambassador-Mentor and Peer Mentor gave a completely different type of insight. Whenever I had questions ranging from 'how do I advance?', 'how should I determine what field to enter?', or 'how does that really function?', they provided thoughtful insights."
"Having a former ambassador spend time with me one-on-one to think about my future has been an incredibly beneficial gift. These experiences have opened new options and directions that I would never have thought of in the past."
"I think one part of the experience that I did not expect to be so valuable was the relationships I have formed and connections I have made at all different levels---through my internship, The Fund for American Studies, the Council of American Ambassadors, and through my time in DC in general."
"I never thought I would look forward to three hour lectures after a nine hour work day. What I learned in these classes became so relevant to understanding my work experience that I constantly found myself debating issues from class with my coworkers, as well as the other fellows, with whom I have built fantastic friendships."
"This summer has been very challenging and rewarding, and I know that everything I have learned and experienced will continue to be a major part of my life as I finish college, consider continuing my education, and begin my career."
"My mentor was genuinely engaged in the direction I am headed in and actively provided suggestions to enhance my experiences at each anticipated turning point. I not only feel encouraged by his support, but empowered to carry through the architecture we have arrived at for my future."
"At a time in my life when so many important decisions regarding my future plans are confronting me, it has truly been extremely advantageous to hear the life story of a former Ambassador and to receive advice regarding steps I can take as I set out on my career path."
"One of the most important things I have learned from my interaction with the former Ambassadors is that there are many ways to achieve a goal, and that unexpected changes can turn into rewarding opportunities."
"I was pleased that none of the CAA members I spoke to tried to push me in a particular direction, instead saying that any path I chose to work in International Affairs, be it business, non-profit or government, would bring value. It was also a pleasure simply to listen to peoples' stories and discover what ignited their passion."
"From stories that my mentor as well as the other participating ambassadors have retold, relationships with people were what allowed them to attain their current and former positions. Relationships fostered growth in their careers as well as their characters. Relationships connected them with others who often assisted them in job transitions, work/balance questions, and new networks of people. Lastly, relationships generated a level of camaraderie for my mentor that he has now passed onto me."
"My Mentor and I met often over the course of the summer, and every conversation taught me something new and helped me garner a more complete understanding of the kind of career that I want to pursue. As result, I am more confident in my plans for the future."
Class of 2009 Testimonials
"Working in the State Department has helped me understand first hand the internal structure and process of American foreign policy. As someone interested in the Foreign Service, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to reach out to someone interested in the Foreign Service, learning about what they do."
"I was fortunate to work for the office director in INR/OPN [Bureau of Intelligence and Research] this summer. He gave me many substantive projects including crafting a questionnaire for a multi-country survey on climate change issues, analyzing data and writing reports for a project on Islamic extremism and writing media reaction products. I got to sit in on high level meetings and attend interagency conferences. I had a great time!"
"The professors were generally very engaging and instructive. These courses were a welcome departure from my usual university coursework, and I return from this summer not simply with an expanded knowledge base but with a new perspective with which to view the world."
"I know I benefitted tremendously from my mentoring sessions. Learning how he [my mentor] both made career decisions and took advantage of opportunities has inspired me."
"I really liked the mentoring aspect of the program and thought CAA did a great job matching my mentor and myself. The most helpful in this area was the two times we met outside the organized CAA events wherein we could just talk, and I could ask questions of him."
"The Fellowship experience has been tremendous and gone above and beyond expectations. This is in no small part due to the hard work of CAA!"
"This summer in Washington, DC has been a formative experience in my college career. The partnership program has been a real immersion in all aspects of U.S. foreign policy."
Class of 2008 Testimonials
"My Fellowship experience has imbued a noble, sure and useful combination of goodness and knowledge...I will return for my senior year at Harvard with a holistic and developed understanding of arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament issues after having interned at the State Department. I will return with a surer grasp of how to apply my social anthropology concentration to international relations and global development after having experienced this summer's coursework. I will return with a shrewder outlook on all matters pertaining to my potential and my opportunities for the future after having received unparalleled mentoring from many individuals within the Council, but particularly Ambassador Chorba. And finally, I will return with the realization that the Council of American Ambassadors has fashioned me into a better man with a stronger character."
"When I applied to be an Annenberg Fellow, I had no idea what an adventure it would be. Washington, DC has so much to offer on its own, but I also had the opportunity to learn about the foreign policy process first-hand at the US Department of State, take amazing classes at Georgetown University, share my experiences with other talented college students--and on top of it all--be mentored by incredibly accomplished men and women. I feel like I managed to squeeze the experiences of many summers from a single ten-week program."
"[The Council's Fellowship program] offers a unique opportunity to broaden one's understanding of the world while simultaneously being mentored by America's finest. My internship with the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and my selection to serve on the Colombia Desk has resulted in tremendous experiences and will undoubtedly prove to be a critical stepping stone in my career...It has given me great pride to interact with the men and women of the State Department and to receive guidance and wisdom of the ambassadors of the Council. I am now, more than ever, proud to be a citizen of the United States and believe myself further equipped and prepared to undertake the challenges that lay before our nation as a result of the Council's generous contribution."
"My internship here in Washington with the Department of State along with my studies at Georgetown University are the biggest highlights of my college experience...I never dreamed that I would get the chance to attend weekly mentoring sessions with a top government official, let alone an ambassador. Ambassador Hughes, as well as all the ambassadors involved in the fellowship, gave me invaluable career advice along with an 'insider's' perspective from Washington."
"It was very demanding to simultaneously engage in all of the activities associated with being an Annenberg Fellow, but in looking back on all that I accomplished this summer, I realize the value in my collective experiences. Classes at ICPES expanded my knowledge of pertinent theories and practices regarding world issues; my internship with the Department of State allowed me to explore the perspectives of various US and international actors on critical issues like the global food crisis; the members of the Council of American Ambassadors, particularly my mentor, Ambassador Abelardo Valdez, have been an invaluable resource that helped me to focus my thoughts and feelings...Although I am still in the process of figuring out next steps in my life, I can say for certain that my experiences as an Annenberg Fellow will have a significant impact on my future decisions. My Fellowship challenged me in many ways, and whether I continue to pursue opportunities serving my country or working in some other sector, I feel more confident and better prepared to effectively contribute to my future involvements. The lessons I have learned and many of the people I have met with continue to guide me long after I leave DC."
"The past two months have been amazing, to say the least. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was packing to come to Washington, DC...Working at State Department has been truly rewarding. I am still in awe of it all. Being in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and working in the office of Egypt and the Levant was quite an experience...Writing weekly summaries on Lebanon read by the President, helping organize a conference to raise money for Palestinian refugees, sitting in on meetings on just about every other subject, when I look at history textbooks in the future, I will be able to say that I was a part of it all."
Class of 2007 Testimonials
"I interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs. By working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the bureau, I gained an insider’s view on the policy formulation process and a better insight into how diplomacy works. My work has broadened my knowledge of current events, and I am now better aware of the intricacies of the U.S.’s foreign policy interests.
I was fortunate to be mentored by Ambassador G. Philip Hughes and to meet several other former Ambassadors through CAA events. Ambassador Hughes’s stories of his experiences as an Ambassador strengthened my desire to work abroad in diplomacy, and he was eager to help me consider a variety of career paths that I had not otherwise considered. As someone from a family far from Washington without political connections, I never anticipated to have a mentor of Hughes’s stature advocating for my success. It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to discuss my future with Hughes and the other CAA mentors."
"This summer has helped me develop into a stronger person and helped me clarify to myself my goals for a future career in the foreign service. My internship, TFAS, the ambassador-mentors and my fellow recipients have taught me so much: the necessity of understanding my own history in order to understand that of another nation, the value of giving myself opportunities to learn and grow in different areas simultaneously, and the worth of constantly learning new information to rethink old ideas, reassess old problems. I could never have found such a strong support group of mentors and peers on my own this summer, nor could I have learned so much from my internship without assessing it from an academic standpoint at the same time. For the opportunity to have and do these things, I am forever grateful to the CAA for granting me a scholarship to participate in this wonderful program."
"I am honored by your consideration and truly inspired by the people I have met through the program. Mark Twain once said the principle of diplomacy is “give and take—you give one and take ten.” I feel as if I committed highway robbery because the fellowship program has given me so much. My internship at the State Department motivated me to delve more deeply into the field of international relations and gave me insight into the tremendous challenges ahead. Because of your investment in my future, I had the rare opportunity to see the small victories that make it worth struggling against time, caffeine addiction, and piles of paper work."
"This summer I have the opportunity to meet amazing individuals such as my ambassador mentors, Ambassador Holliday and Ambassador Lynch Ewell, the five other fellows, and my classmates at Georgetown University. Each day I learn something new, hear of different opportunities available in the field of international relations, make new contacts, and explore a different party of this great city. Being an Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Anneberg Fellow has opened my eyes to the possibilities that this city and the field of international relations have
"The most enjoyable aspect of the Fellowship were the relationships I forged with both the Mentors, who imparted their vast wisdom and wealth of experience on an array of topics, and Fellows, with whom I was fortunate to share this experience. I've discovered lifelong friends in both. None of these unique and incredibly rewarding experiences would have been impossible without the Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship. I can't say thank you enough!"
"I couldn't have asked for a better internship experience. While my time at the Korea Desk is not yet over, I have had a terrific time so far, with the best mentors, teachers, colleagues that surround me. This summer was also a great time to be at the Desk, as I witnessed a round of Six-Party talks, the shutdown of Yongbyon facilities in North Korea, the abduction of South Koreans in Afghanistan and watching how the government reacted to it, and the signing of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement....[T]he mentorship of Ambassador Julia Chang-Bloch, and the guidance, support of all the other former ambassadors of CAA has been both a privilege and an honor. Although it is an opportunity in itself to have access to the leaders of foreign affairs and their guidance, I feel especially blessed to have the first Asian-American ambassador as my mentor, and a female mentor, as an Asian-American female myself."
Class of 2006 Testimonials
"Ultimately, I am deeply grateful that the fellowship provided by the Council of American Ambassadors gave me a chance to serve and understand our government on an intimate and unfiltered level. I have come away from this experience inspired and excited, surer now than six months ago that a future in government offers an unparalleled opportunity for fulfilling service. Thank you for your exceptional hospitality, your commitment to these opportunities, and for giving me such a unique chance to develop my appreciation for our government and its diplomacy. The experience has been truly formative."
"The Ambassador mentoring was undoubtedly the most enjoyable and beneficial part of the program for me. Each Ambassador had an insightful perspective on leadership in the field of international relations, and their diverse backgrounds made for helpful discussions on the possible paths I could take in the future."
" This fellowship enabled me to spend a summer in Washington, D.C. - the heart of American politics and foreign policy. I spent my time at the State Department working in the Press and Public Diplomacy office of the Near Eastern Affairs bureau... I greatly enjoyed and appreciated the personal relationships I formed with my two ambassador-mentors, who both shed light on the various aspects of Washington politics, foreign service and how to pursue a career in international affairs. I am extremely thankful for the fellowship, without which this important summer in Washington, D.C. would not have been possible. "
"My experience this summer as one of the Council for American Ambassadors Fellows has met and exceeded my expectiations. My internship at the State Department gave me a glimpse at the different steps involved in policy formation, behind the general goals, into the individual, working-level steps and clearances necessary to present a united US Government position. The mentoring aspect of the program was immensely helpful."
Class of 2005 Testimonials
"Through the fellowship program of the Council of American Ambassadors, I have enjoyed unparalleled professional, academic, and personal experiences in Washington D.C. and have received the ideal preparation for a career in diplomacy and the Foreign Service. The lessons and advice that have been imparted through the mentorship from my ambassadors and the internship at the State Department have clarified what exactly it means to be a “diplomat” and have provided me with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to pursue and achieve that goal. I leave Washington and embark on my senior year with clarity and confidence, instilled by my mentors and associates at State.
The most remarkable aspect of the CAA fellowship is the mentorship by two former US ambassadors.
My Ambassador-mentors showed a fervent interest in my career and personal development and offered profound guidance on academic and career options, nuanced to my needs. Developing insightful, lasting relationships with two representatives of the uppermost echelon of diplomacy is an opportunity afforded to few; for it to occur in your undergraduate years is truly exceptional."
"The fellowship is a once in a lifetime opportunity. My internship in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State has been first class. From the people I work with to the substantive projects I am a part of, I have good reason to be excited each day I go to work. I must admit that it is humbling to be around people who are so smart, have accomplished so much and are so dedicated to the mission of the Department.
My Ambassador-mentors have also been great. Both have made themselves available to me whenever I have needed them. Our lengthy one-on-one lunch conversations,which covered issues great and small, were the highlight of my summer. I think that between the advice and wisdom of my Ambassador mentors,I might be starting to figure this town out."
"The experience that CAA has provided me with has been immeasurable. The Political Science and Economics classes at Georgetown University coupled with my internship at the U.S. Department of State have furthered my knowledge and interest in international relations. With these exceptional circumstances, it is difficult to imagine anything that could possibly contribute more to my growth, however, the advice and guidance that I have received from my mentors has proved to be by far the most enriching aspect of my time here.
I undoubtedly contribute much of my ability to excel in this environment to my mentors.The Ambassadors have been extremely dedicated to helping me along the way with any questions or confusions that I have been faced with throughout this journey on my first professional career path. It is unquestionable that their devotion has made the CAA fellowship the extraordinary program that it is. Having former ambassadors as one's mentors is a remarkably unique opportunity that has armed me with skills that few other young professionals my age have yet acquired."
"There were two aspects of this summer which were most valuable to me, one of which was the time spent as an intern at the Department of State and the other being the relationships cultivated with my Ambassador mentors. The sheer luck of having this sort of formative experience as a young person could not be overstated. My work at the Department of State taught me many things about how international diplomacy works. Specifically, I came to understand America's truly unique position in the world through my bureau's interactions as a donor, arbiter, advocate and leader in every single multilateral and bilateral relationship we handled. The gravity, mechanics and direction of American foreign policy could not be better learned than through my internship this summer.
It would be easy to elaborate on all the knowledge, relationships and insight gained as an intern, by my discussion with my mentors were equally valuable for me despite comparatively representing only a fraction of the time spent interning. [Each of my mentors] had a way of framing not only international relations and professional development, but also the decisions universally encountered in life, that impacted my understanding and perspective during every conversation. Their insights about life and government were extremely useful as I made decisions concerning my future career...."
Class of 2004 Testimonials
"The fellowship that I have received from the Council of American Ambassadors brought me to Washington, DC for a mere eight weeks, but the lessons that I have learned will remain with me for a lifetime...."
"...[T]he mentorship...gave me practical advice on diplomacy and international affairs. Although career advice is easy to come by, as a college junior, I never expected to be offered the nuanced and incomparable guidance that an ambassador could present."
"Without a doubt...the most valuable element of my stay [in Washington] has been the mentorship so graciously offered me by the CAA. The excellent and compassionate advice of [my mentors] over these two months awakened my determination to pursue a career in the Foreign Service with all my energy. I find myself pleasantly surprised that as my courses and internship come to a close, I will be returning home more centered and assured of my future path than ever before."
"The mentorship program has exposed me to experienced professionals. I can already tell that I will continuously refer to their stories and advice as I mould my own career path."
"My experience this summer in DC has been remarkable. The Council of American Ambassadors has immensely contributed to this experience. My mentors have been there to listen to what I have to say and have offered me prudent advice about my future goals and interests in the Foreign Service."