Our fifth internship post comes from Jeremy, MPP accelerated 2014.
This summer I am an intern at the Asia-Pacific desk of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of International Affairs. Air traffic control is the division of FAA that has received the most attention lately, but is only part of what FAA does. FAA certifies new aircraft designs, licenses pilots, regulates aircraft emissions standards, plays a role in National Transportation Safety Board investigations, represents the US with foreign civil aviation authorities, conferences, and regulatory bodies, administers airports, provides air traffic control services, and so much more. The Office of Policy, International Affairs, and the Environment (API) coordinates FAA’s different department’s international efforts to represent FAA to the world. API is divided into five regional offices: Western Hemisphere; Europe, the Middle East, Africa; and Asia-Pacific.
My main responsibility is to support the six permanent employees in their preparations for the triennial International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly, where civil aviation authorities from around the world come together to discuss and potentially set international aviation policy. The meeting is a culmination of dozens of subgroup meetings in the three years between Assemblies. Because of its broad membership, ICAO’s 18 Annexes form the basis of international aviation relations. ICAO is a specialized agency of the UN, and 190 states are members.
I have been meeting with foreign delegations, translating newspaper and policy documents, conducting open source analysis on aviation matters, and producing background information for the Assembly. Outside of my formal duties, one of the best aspects of this internship has been the respect with which the team has afforded me. They treat me like an equal member of the team and encourage my professional development. For example, my manager suggested that I sign up for the next Foreign Service Officer Test. I did, and I passed. I’m currently going through the Foreign Service Officer process, and I can honestly say that if she hadn’t reminded me, the test day would have come and gone, just another June 10th. One of the team members is a former Foreign Service officer, so I plan on getting his side of the story soon, but his willingness to share his experience with me truly makes me feel like I belong.
And finally, because I’m a second year Batten student and this is for the Batten blog, they’ve helped me develop a great potential APP topic. I’m heading into the last week and a half of my internship when I write this, but I can say without a doubt that I will always remembered the things I have learned this summer. If I had to pick one lesson that sticks out the most, it would be that policy really is everywhere, even in the skies above you.