Internship in Erbil

Cecilia Gialdini Start Date: Jun 7, 2017 - End Date: Oct 7, 2017
  • Erbil, Iraq

My Travel Story

by: Cecilia Gialdini Start Date: Jun 7, 2017 - End Date: Oct 7, 2017
Sillaw! Assalamu aleikum! Hello! Salve!

Who am I?

My name is Cecilia, I come from Lucca, in the beautiful region of Tuscany, in Italy. I am a graduate student of International Studies at the University of Trento: my major interest are minority studies, and I am currently writing a thesis on Israel's educational policy towards the Arab minority, and if bilingual education, Hebrew and Arabic, can help overcome prejudice towards the Arab Israelis.

Where do I want to go?

In October I will -finally- finish my studies and I will start my journey in the labour market! I was offered a very interesting research internship in Erbil, Iraq in the Middle East Research Institute. It is a quite new institution, but it is already a leading actor in Iraq and in the Middle East in general. I would conduct my own research  and assist other researchers, therefore learning how to work in a team and how to develop high quality academic papers. It is a great opportunity, especially considering that my future plan is applying for a PhD! I am pretty sure that very few candidate of my age would present such a meaningful experience when applying for a Doctoral scholarship: this internship could really help me to make a difference. 

Why Erbil?

This is the real question. Why, with all the places in the world, do I want to go to Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan? There are several reasons, some more practical, some more emotional. In order to simplify my inner caleidoscope, I will list the most significant one:
1. Iraqi Kurdistan is an incredible example of minority protection. After the harsh repression perpetrated by the Ba'athist government, Kurdistan gained a high degree of autonomy. Contrasting the attempt of "Arabisation" and hegemonisation, Kurds were able to keep their language, their army and their institutions. Even if under the state of Iraq, Kurds are free to be Kurds. If you are familiar with the stories of Kurds in other countries (Syria, Turkey,...), you will understand that this is not always the case. But what does this has to do with me? I am studying minority rights, I am always on the side of the weaker ones. I want to see what the Iraqi Kurds achieved to preserve their identity (plus, Kurdistan is the home of many other minorty groups, like the yazidis)

2. In September, Iraqi Kurdistan will vote for independence. I am a Political Scientist, I cannot think of a better moment to go there, and then see with my own eyes how people fight for their self-determination, something so far I only studied in books.

3. Iraqi Kurdistan is still fighting against Daesh (or ISIS, call it as you wish). Despite Mosul being liberated, still going to Erbil in this specific period in time is a great, great challenge. I am scared and excited at the same time, I think that being able to see the population of Kurdistan resist against Daesh's invasion would be amazing. And I would love to help reconstruct a normal life for these people, or even just tell their stories to the Western world.

Why am I asking your help?

The center offered me a one year position with the possibility of a future full-time employment. This is a pretty good offer for a neo-graduate! Although this progress in the carreer is subject to the completation of a three months "probatory" period. Period in which I need to be fully self-funded.
And that is the reason why I am writing now: I need help to sustain myself in these first months. Of course, I asked my University first, but apparently there are no scholarships for a post-grad internship. Foundations are also not crazy about giving money to a student who wants to go to Iraqi Kurdistan.

So, I call on you: please help me fullfill this dream.
Donate, if you can, and share, spread this campaign! 

ps: Everything I will do or see will be on my blog. So far it is written only in Italian but, if I manage to go, I will upload contents in English.
  • Erbil, Iraq


  • Things I Should Start Doing...

    Things I should start doing...
    Yesterday I was checking the amount of vaccination I will have to do before going and it is crazy! Cholera, typhus, rabies... they are too many! I should really start planning all these bureaucratic stuff. Give me motivation, pleaaase!
  • Kurdistan To Hold Independence Referendum On Sep. 25

    Kurdistan to hold independence referendum on Sep. 25
    The Erbil government has decided to hold a referendum for independence on the 25 of September 2017. Even if it will be consultative, according to Iraqi law, it is a signal of the will to fulfil self-determination!

    It is going to be even more interesting and challenging to go there!