In 2006, the IIS launched the Alumni Internship Programme, a new initiative aimed at creating professional development opportunities for IIS alumni. Internship positions were established within Imamat and Jamati institutions globally, in a range of disciplines including education, journalism, research, human resources and religious education.
To facilitate the acquisition of skills and experience, as well as to provide career-enhancement opportunities, the IIS devised an internship programme in 2006 which funds appropriately designed internships in partner institutions, in particular agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network and, in some cases, other development-related institutions. For the fresh graduates, this enables them to get work-experience and perhaps leads to appointments with the host institutions. For the experienced graduates, these internships provide opportunities to learn new skills, exposure to AKDN institutions, and opens doors for potential career enhancement.
A total of thirteen alumni were placed in internship positions in 2006, including two who had identified opportunities with external agencies. Ten internships have been successfully completed and the remaining three will conclude in 2007. All interns have participated in an evaluation exercise to ensure that the programme remains effective and to provide the IIS a foundation upon which to develop and plan the programme in the future.
Feedback from the majority of participants has been very positive. One alumna said of her internship,
‘I was able to speak to several people involved in different parts of the AKDN and that was very useful. Also, being in Ottawa, I made contact with people in the government of Canada which led to me getting my current position with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.’
Another said that he ‘developed wonderful personal and professional relationships’ and ‘would definitely recommend’ an internship to a fellow alumnus. An alumnus who is completing his internship with the Aga Khan Humanities Programme in Tajikistan said, ‘the interaction with the students is fascinating’. One host agency described their intern as ‘fantastic’ and said that he ‘performed admirably’. Most host agencies have indicated that they would be keen to have IIS interns working with them in 2007.
Building upon the strengths of the 2006 programme, the IIS plans to launch the 2007 IIS Alumni Internship Programme in mid-March. Fifteen positions with AKDN, AKF, AKHP, FOCUS, IIS and ITREB USA in Afghanistan, Canada, East Africa, India, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, the UK and USA will be advertised to alumni. Varying from three to thirteen months in duration, the internships will offer a range of exciting opportunities in areas such as communications, media, research, development and disaster management. The 2007 Internship Opportunities Guide will be circulated to all IIS alumni and further details can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.