By Ariel Pinsky
This summer I was able to receive 8 hours of class credit toward my Political Science major (with the help of my faculty advisor Dr. Josh Putnam) by interning in Tel-Aviv at an international organization called The Ambassadors’ Club of Israel. Yitzhak Eldan, a former Israeli Ambassador and Chief of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), founded the ACI five years ago with the goal of connecting ambassadors and general consuls in Israel to each other and to distinguished Israelis in each sector of Israeli society—economy, academia, technology, entertainment, communication, medicine, and the arts. The non-profit, independent organization can be thought of as an extension of the second portion of the MFA’s general mission statement: “To implement Israel’s foreign policy, and to promote economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries.”
I have visited Israel several times, beginning from my early childhood—my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are scattered throughout the rich and diverse country. As a bilingual, dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, I consider Israel a second home and immediately seized the opportunity to live and work there this summer. I expected my internship to be heavily research-based, with an emphasis on reporting on international affairs and Israeli politics, working with embassies to plan and organize diplomatic events, and discussing topics for diplomatic conferences. While these elements were indeed present, I did not foresee just how “hands-on” my tasks would be—calling embassies and government ministers, representing the club at formal diplomatic functions and receptions, and engaging in multiple conversations, both in Hebrew and in English, with such a diverse array of business and government professionals (including Tel-Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and high-tech mogul Yossi Vardi).
I was also responsible for administrative work that increased my current skill set and involved interpreting web analytics, managing the ACI’s website and digital invitations, and updating hundreds of contact lists. However, being immersed in this work and in the distinct Israeli culture was nothing less than enjoyable and resulted in my gaining of a wealth of knowledge and experience I will carry with me throughout my post-graduate pursuits.
Ariel Pinsky (Me), Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai, Fellow intern Julia Barakowa, any my boss ACI President Yitzhak Eldan