National Democratic Institute

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Founded in 1983, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide.  NDI works with democrats in every region of the world to build political and civic organizations; safeguard elections; and promote citizen participation, openness, and accountability in government.  Headquartered in Washington, DC, NDI maintains offices in over 60 countries on five continents.  Its diverse workforce of employees from 75 countries is united in the belief that democracies promote economic growth and development more consistently and equitably than non-democratic political systems.  Democracy building programs are an investment in peace and stability, both of which are prerequisites for sustainable development.

NDI seeks an enthusiastic and diligent Director’s Intern to assist the Political Party Development Team. As an NDI “functional” team, the Political Party Development Team provides issue expertise on political parties and political party development; assists in program design, implementation and evaluation; houses and develops centralized resources; promotes cross-regional exchange; recommends and recruits trainers; and performs various additional functions. The Political Party Development Team also oversees NDI’s Brussels Office and coordinates the Institute’s participation in global democracy conferences. Interns will assist team members with administrative duties and programmatic support, and will be based in Washington, D.C.

2015 Intern Reflection:

As an intern for the Political Party Development Team at NDI, I was assigned both day-to-day administrative and long-term tasks involving ongoing team projects. Each day I compiled relevant news items and excerpts from in-house publications for the team Twitter page. I helped the team put the finishing touches on a website that helps political parties use technology in their membership outreach, campaigning, and internal communications. Addressing themes of modern political ideology and party-membership interaction, I researched examples of populist and protest political parties in Europe for the team's upcoming "21st Century Parties" publication. This project allowed me to explore my interests, and team members were keen to ensure that I balanced everyday team needs with my desire to learn something new. In addition to all of this, I helped write articles for the team newsletter Party Time, coordinate team member travel, reconcile team finances, and perform other accounting tasks. 

An applicant for this internship should be a good writer, be interested in world- but especially European politics, have a basic understanding of international development, be willing and able to balance administrative with project-based work, and be self-motivated. The workplace environment at NDI is relaxed and encouraging.

Daniel Kenny '16

2014 Director's Intern Reflection:

This summer I interned at the National Democratic Institute, a non-governmental organization focused on developing democracies all over the globe. With offices and programming in over sixty countries worldwide, the DC office serves as the Institute's central nervous system. Within the NDI, I worked with the Political Parties team, a group of in-house experts in political party functioning and development. As an intern I was given many different responsibilities such as writing internal newsletters, coordinating travel plans, and aiding regional teams in the field implement programming. Additionally, I was responsible for planning and holding a virtual conference held via Twitter for political party experts, practitioners, and academics. 

This position required a balance of detail oriented administrative skills as well as more macro critical thinking skills. The internship also required a constant knowledge of global current events. I spent a good part of my morning each day catching up on recent elections, coalition announcements, and general developments in all of the countries that NDI has programming. The office in DC is relatively casual. Because the Institute is divided up into several regional and functional teams there is a strong sense of team camaraderie. Although the office is laid back, everyone is extremely passionate about the work we do to aid struggling countries and knows a tremendous amount about their respective region or function.

A strong candidate for this internship will bring a functional knowledge of political parties and is interested in global affairs and international development and foreign aid. This internship also requires a fair bit of self drive and independence as many of my projects were long term.   

Jake Levin '16

2013 Director's Intern Reflection:

My work on the Political Parties team at the National Democratic Institute has been a sincerely enriching experience. NDI is full of young, diverse, and passionate people, and I have truly enjoyed the company and the insights of my team over the past several weeks! My assigned work has been highly substantive and reflective of my special interests. I have researched and written case studies for a new Conceptual Framework manual which the political parties team hopes to complete by the end of the summer; this document will eventually be sent out to all the NDI field offices and will inform the development of political party programs in more than fifty countries. In addition to working on case studies, I also proofread French publications, attended and took notes at various team meetings, and worked with my fellow political parties intern to write articles and compile news stories for two bi-weekly newsletters.

My team is small and well-knit, and I feel that my superiors are invested in my personal development at NDI. NDI office culture is also wonderful! People are very friendly, interns are everywhere, and there are frequent brown bag lunches with speakers from NDI and associated institutions who work all over the world. I have learned a great deal about non-profit organizations from my short stay here!

Haley Bowen ‘14

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