Civic Mobilization: Chinaza Asiegbu '22

Chinaza Asiegbu '22
Chinaza Asiegbu '22

Throughout this summer, we will be spotlighting the summer experiences of our IOP students working in politics and public service through their internships across the country and globe.

The Director’s Internship program has been a signature of the Institute of Politics for nearly 25 years and each summer the IOP works with more than 150 government offices, non-profits, and news organizations to provide internships for students who are looking to pursue careers in politics and public service. The IOP also offers summer stipends for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors accepting non- or low-paying summer internships in local, state, or federal government, public interest groups, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, and political campaigns.

This summer, as in years past, many of those students will be spending their summer working in civic mobilization - participating in organizations that are working to increase civic engagement and education.

Chinaza Asiegbu '22 reflects on her summer working with Integrity Initiatives International.

What inspired you to choose this public service internship?

The humility of my origins has given me no other choice but to dedicate my entire life to giving back. As a daughter of Nigerian immigrants who came to this country so long ago in pursuit of greater opportunity, I hope to leverage my privilege in order to open more avenues for opportunity for others back home through public sectors such as access to education, healthcare, and energy. However, at the root of this goal is the need for honest government officials that are fully invested in serving their citizens rather than enriching themselves. Visiting my family in Nigeria this past winter and seeing the state of my beautiful nation has reinvigorated me to join the fight for transparency and integrity in any capacity that I can. I simply keep the faith that my people will live better--that the quality of life in Nigeria will be indicative of its rich resources and hardworking population. I extend this hope to much of the developing world who could grow at a much faster rate if given the chance by those who lead them. I have faith that democracy will prevail and that the backbone of every country--its citizens--will, one day, reap the benefits of their labor to the fullest extent and have their day in the sun.

What issues have you been focusing on in your internship?

The issue of corruption is at the epicenter of what we focus on at III. I am fortunate to be working at an NGO that takes a multi-pronged strategy to enable the change we hope to see in the world. I have the chance to help advocate for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) that would enforce global standards of government transparency; research the evolving nature of corruption and various means of approaching it with respect to different countries' political climates, economies, and states; attend various conferences where I can network with people addressing these same problems worldwide; drafting memos and performing judicial work; and reaching out to civil society organizations and mobilizing young people to feel they have the agency to make the change the hope to see in their own governments. All in all, there is so much to do and so little time to do it all! I just hope to make like a sponge and absorb all I can from the experience while hopefully making my imprint on our work in the process.

What are you most excited about working in public service and government?

When I found out that I would have the opportunity to not only work for an International NGO but also work in the chambers of Honorable Judge Wolf, I was exhilarated by this perfect marriage between international and domestic affairs. As someone who wants to enter the legal field in the future, I am inspired on a daily basis by the limitless opportunities in using the law as a tool that can be catalyzed by civil society. It has been a dream come true for me to become an employee of the Courthouse, getting my own badge and even sitting in the front with the clerks during court hearings. This has been the epitome of a hands-on learning experience! It has broadened my perspective on the intersections between human rights, international development, and anti-corruption while, at the same time, shaping my approach as to how I can operate on the international stage to advance these goals.

What were you hoping to learn and to get out of your internship experience this summer?

This summer, I hope to grow professionally, personally, and independently. This is my first full-time job so I really want to make the most of it. I want to ask questions, volunteer to work on the projects that interest me, and get to know my working environment, including those who work with me. This is also my debut into the human rights arena, which is incredibly exciting and a bit terrifying because of what's at stake. I don't take lightly the gravity of getting to have an impact on the lives of others and having privilege to be one of the people doing it. We all have a duty to uplift the poor, powerless, and vulnerable in our societies because poverty is not and should not be accepted as a natural state, but rather the product of massive systemic inequalities that need to be rectified. Through the research aspects of my internship, I hope to gain insight on the many approaches that can be taken in combatting kleptocracy and how to ensure that civil society is constantly engaged and protected. I also would love to take the time to explore the summer vibes of Boston with many friends, both new and old!