The Washington Internship Program is successful because it engages with so many different organisations both in Australia and the United States. Our partners on the ground in Washington are Charles Mahtesian, National Political Editor of Politico, and Steve Slattery, Vice President of Programs at The Fund for American Studies.
Steve and Charlie volunteer their time to the Flinders Internship because they believe strongly in the capacity of the Interns Flinders sends and because they recognise the impact the Internship experience will have for the student. Steve also notes that this partnership works well for The Fund for American Studies: “It has helped us develop relationships with the offices of numerous members of Congress, who … also host other TFAS students, and the Congressmen and Senators themselves often serve as speakers at our events. Our partnership with Flinders has also fostered ties with the Embassy of Australia...[and] the U.S. State Department… [T]his partnership has [also] helped us sharpen our educational strategy in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Another key partner is the Australian Embassy in Washington which provides a pre-departure briefing via video conference, an orientation on arrival, and hosts a reception for the Interns, the host member of Congress, and the staff in their offices. Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, the Honourable Kim Beazley, has identified this program as “mutually beneficial” to Australia and the United States, noting that, “its institutionalised presence on Capitol Hill furthers the Australia-US relationship ... contributes to the advancement of Australia’s national interests ... [and] broadens Australia’s profile and networks”.
In 2011, Flinders University nominated the Washington Internship program for an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Program Award in recognition of its educational partnerships and collaborations. Among the supporters of the application for this Award is the Honorable Kim Beazley, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America. Read the letter of support for the Washington Internship Program (PDF 55KB) .
The US State Department in Washington provides a half day briefing for the Interns, involving Australian Desk officers, the Office of Public Diplomacy, and the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. This year, the State Department hosted a private luncheon at “Main State” and an extended question and answer session for the Interns and State Department officials.
The Consulate General of the United States of America in Melbourne conducts both the interview for the Interns' J1 State Department Visa and a pre-departure briefing, generously provided in recent years by Consul General Michael Thurston. Read the Letter of Support for the Washington Internship Program (PDF 3MB) .
The Director of the South Australia state office of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade participates in the video conference briefing with senior Embassy officials in Washington.
In response to a request from the Australian National University in 2005, the Flinders Washington Internship program developed a partnership with the ANU to allow an equal number of its students to participate in this program. The Flinders and ANU Interns share the distinction of the Internship being intregal to their university education with students selected on the basis of performance in prior study of US politics and assessed through a major paper developed from the Internship experience.