Michael Kurban '12
International Bridges to Justice, Geneva, Switzerland
BPIP Laura Kinney '81 & Arthur Maidman Internship Fund
I interned at Community Legal Aid Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia on behalf of International Bridges to Justice in Geneva, Switzerland.
As an "embedded documentary journalist" I worked for International Bridges to Justice as a part of their Justice Makers program. I was sent to Jakarta to assist an activist who received a grant to promote legal education in a notorious Indonesian prison. I helped the lawyers at the office, documented work being done through blog posts, newspaper articles, documentary films, and other forms of media to highlight the legal rights effort in Indonesia.
What is the most interesting or important thing you took from your Internship this summer?
The most interesting, important, and inspiring thing that I experienced through my internship was the atmosphere in the office of lawyers and activists. All of my colleagues were young, brilliant, and enthusiastic about the pursuit of legal and human rights. The political difficulties in the huge city of Jakarta have been innumerable, yet the people strive on with the warmest, most positive attitude imaginable. These lawyers passed up lucrative careers in order to make a difference to their community, and it was beautiful to see the community respond to their efforts by working to better themselves further.
How did the BPIP Fund help make your experience possible?
The BPIP Fund was a huge help! Help may not even a strong enough word, because without BPIP, my internship wouldn't have been possible at all! As my internship was over 10,000 miles away from home, it was about as far of a distance as I could travel. BPIP made all of the air fare possible, which was amazing, and greatly appreciated. In addition, travel documents and visas also made the internship different from usual summer jobs, and BPIP was able to help me here as well.
Would you recommend the BPIP Fund?
Absolutely, as I've mentioned in the previous questions, this summer was a truly amazing experience that would not have been possible without the help of the BPIP fund. It allowed me to explore the world of non-profit human and legal rights work without worrying about finding a paid internship. With finances so thankfully taken care of, I was able to pursue my ideal summer.
Working as a documentary journalist with a legal aid institute in Indonesia, I had the privilege to experience the terrible lows of human suffering to the joyous highs of the retribution and recognition of unalienable human dignity through the determined and idealistic people that make it possible. The immersion in Indonesian culture, the city becoming a home away from home, and the new friends from around the world serve as a reminder that my summer was spent in the pursuit of international human equality and I'm a happier person for it.
Check out Michael's published article in the Jakarta Post