The International Republican Institute (IRI) kicked off its fourth Capital Internship program in Ankara, Turkey June 10-11, 2006. Conducted in cooperation with the Turkish Parliamentarians Association, the groundbreaking program offers university-age youth the opportunity to travel to Ankara and get hands-on work experience with a three-week internship in the parliament, a political party, or a government ministry. The interns conduct policy research, author relevant reports and articles, assist their supervisors at meetings, and perform a variety of administrative tasks as needed.

This year 100 students – 61 women and 39 men – are participating in the program. In addition to the internship, IRI holds a speaker’s series each Wednesday with prominent lecturers from Turkish politics, academia, or government; and a set of workshops each Friday, each designed to explore a different issue facing Turkey’s leaders.

Following the three-week internship, the summer participants will be joined by the 60 interns from IRI’s winter Capital Internship program to carry out a five-day Model Parliament in the Turkish Parliament chambers. The mock legislature will elect its leaders, organize committees, and debate and pass legislation, which will be based upon the issues discussed over the course of the Friday workshop series.

The program is an important element of a new openness in Turkish politics, offering a new generation of emerging leaders a closer look at the governance of their country, as well as an early opportunity to earn tangible experience in politics and government.

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