Introduction

The United States uses trade agreements to grow our economy, level the playing field for American workers and business, and advance environmental protection. The United States has 14 free trade agreements (FTAs), of which 13 include a legally binding, enforceable environment chapter and/or a separate environmental cooperation agreement or similar mechanism. Through our FTA Environment Chapters and environmental cooperation mechanisms (ECMs), the United States works cooperatively with our FTA partners to ensure that they have comprehensive environmental frameworks in place and practice effective environmental management and enforcement. The selected intern(s) will work with members of the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), Office of Environmental Quality (ENV) to develop research projects that may focus on the current state of play for one or more environmental topics, including: illegal logging and associated trade; plastics pollution; recycling of e-waste and lithium-ion batteries; inclusion of women in environmental projects; and/or hydrogen energy in FTA countries. Other topics may be added at the discretion of OES/ENV and the intern(s).

What you’ll do

Guided by members of the OES/ENV Trade Division, you will develop detailed reports on the current landscape of illegal logging and associated trade; plastic pollution; recycling e-waste and lithium-ion batteries; inclusion of women in environmental projects; and/or hydrogen in certain FTA partner countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Panama, and Peru). Other topics and countries may be added at the discretion of OES/ENV and the intern(s).

The projects will be completed utilizing open-source information; online research; virtual meetings with officials in the State Department and with relevant U.S. government agencies, our embassies overseas, and foreign government officials if possible and as coordinated with OES/ENV and U.S. Embassy staff. OES/ENV will also share information, when appropriate. The intern will be encouraged to network broadly with relevant academic and industry actors to expand the sources of information for this project.

OES/ENV will work with the intern to determine the topic and countries they will focus on during the internship and to develop a set of questions to be addressed in the research projects. A detailed list of sources and references must be maintained and provided as part of the project, along with a detailed contact list.

The intern(s) will be expected to schedule semiweekly calls with OES/ENV to provide progress updates. OES/ENV will be available as needed during the period of performance.

The intern(s) will deliver a virtual presentation of project findings, organized by OES/ENV, to interested officials within the State Department and USG interagency.

What you’ll learn

Through this internship, you will gain deep insight into our work with FTA partner countries on environmental cooperation, which includes combating illegal logging and associated trade; promoting e-waste and lithium-ion battery recycling; ending plastic pollution; gender equality and equity; and tackling the climate crisis. You will also learn about the work being done on these issues in different functional and regional bureaus of the State Department, at our embassies overseas, and within other U.S. government laboratories and agencies. Your work will inform you about possible professional growth opportunities while enabling you to develop professional contacts throughout the U.S. interagency. This position will allow the intern to work closely with a team and independently to develop research papers in the State Department writing style.

The successful internship candidate will be invited to participate in career development and speaker series events hosted by the State Department. On an ad hoc basis, the intern will be invited to participate in meetings with the U.S. interagency and foreign governments.

Who we are

The mission of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs is to provide American leadership, diplomacy, and scientific cooperation to conserve and protect the global environment, ocean, health, and space for the prosperity, peace, and security of this and future generations. OES’s Office of Environmental Quality (ENV) develops and implements U.S. foreign policy to protect natural resources and communities from pollution and to promote a healthy environment by working with trade partners and multilateral institutions around the globe.

The OES/ENV office is comprised of civil service, foreign service, and contractor employees and fellows.