Global go-getter Pietro Barone is nothing short of amazing! Graduating from Baruch College in May with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English, he was a recipient of the Colin Powell Fellowship in International Diplomacy which offers students completing an unpaid internship at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C., or overseas, a stipend to cover travel and living expenses. The Fellowship is a joint program of the Weissman Center for International Business and the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. Pietro shares his current internship experience at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. with the Weissman Center Blog. While at the Department of State, he worked on President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Pietro was also the recipient of the C.V. Starr Study Abroad Fellowship which enabled him to study abroad in Italy at the American University of Rome during the fall 2011 semester. Pietro will be pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science beginning in September 2013.
Q. How did the Colin Powell Fellowship assist you with your internship at the State Department?
A. The Colin Powell Fellowship assisted me with the entire application process and provided me with advice on what life at the Department of State would be like. Meeting with former Ambassadors Carl Spielvogel and Thomas Niles provided me with expert insight on the type of work I would be doing at the State Department.
Q. Can you tell us more about the “Young African Leadership Initiative” and how you are contributing to it?
A. The President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is going to be a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. This program provides African youth with the opportunity to obtain skills that could be utilized effectively back at home in Africa. I am working to identify eligible and outstanding candidates for the program, organizing meetings and consultations from interested applicants and updating the YALI website.
Q. As a student from Zimbabwe myself, I am curious to know how you think this initiative will affect the continent of Africa and young leaders like myself.
A. I think that the YALI program will help to launch many bright minds in Africa toward further success. The program will not only educate participants but connect them with one another. The goal is to help foster bright minds and bring them together to improve their communities. There have been many success stories from the YALI program and other similar programs. The potential in Africa has yet to be “tapped.”
Q. What other projects have you been working on during your internship?
A. I am working on a number of projects here at the Department. I am organizing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Civil Society meeting that will be taking place in Ethiopia in early August. I am also working on a project of my own with another colleague. We are learning about “Impact Investing,” which is a rising form of investing. Impact Investing is a type of investment where social impact and financial return are important. It is similar to writing a grant for a project but expecting an eventual return. This type of investing will help to bring more money into Africa for growth. We are looking into how the Department of State could form public-private partnerships to begin Impact Investing.
Q. What kind of advice would you give students who are looking to explore opportunities with the State Department?
A. I would encourage everyone to apply for an internship at the Department of State. There are offices for all disciplines. You do not have to come from a political background. It is an extremely rewarding experience that could open many new opportunities for you.
Contributing writers: Albert Mathew and Romanowski Jules
If you are interested in learning more about the 2014 Colin Powell Fellowship application process, you should attend the upcoming orientation session which is scheduled for Thursday, September 19, 2013 from 12:45-1:45 pm. Contact the Weisman Center at (646) 312-2074 for more information.