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2022 Fellow

Zeynep Koseoglu
BA International Studies (Comparative Culture and Identity); BA History of Art ‘24

“I had a wonderful experience while interning with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. I feel that I was able to learn the inner workings of an important NGO such as IRCT and began feel comfortable in a professional working environment which I was completely unfamiliar with before. Even though there were some hiccups along the way, I feel that they made me understand the nature of the work that I am getting the education to pursue even better and allowed me to learn how to stay in my own two feet in the international field.

I was unfortunately not able to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark due to Danish immigration laws. As a Turkish citizen I was not allowed to travel to Denmark without a valid visa, for which I tried to obtain a Schengen as directed my conversations with HR of IRCT- as well as Danish Immigration Services. However, afterwards Immigration Services reached out to me again to say I was not going to be able to travel to Denmark and work without a residence permit.

While I was initially gutted to not be able to travel, I was happy that I was able to complete my internship remotely and then conduct a field visit to conduct an informational interview with the team of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey in Izmir.

I feel that I was able to gain an incredibly wide range of work experiences while interning with the IRCT. As a part of my job, I attended staff meetings, was in regular contact with my supervisor, and worked very closely with a fellow intern who was pursuing a law degree in the University of Hawaii. Together we worked on a very meaningful article for the Torture Journal, asking the question: why is it important to integrate a socioeconomic component into rehabilitation programs? For this article, I interviewed representatives from four member centers of the IRCT web from India, Nepal, Uganda, and Palestine. Based on these interviews and further research, we constructed our article arguing for the importance of livelihood integration to rehabilitation. I found great passion in pursuing the questions this article posed and I came to really care about holistic rehabilitation the way IRCT sees it.

Additionally, I wrote a news article announcing the launch of the revised version of the Istanbul Protocol which is an incredibly important legal document that was approved by the UN in the late 90s. It details the guidelines for the documentation of torture and ill-treatment in the pursuit of true accountability and principle. I further got the chance to prepare results reports for the pilot projects conducted by two centers incorporating livelihoods in Uganda and Lebanon. Indexing for the journal was a completely different experience. I got familiar with the code and completed a template from which I could work more efficiently to prepare the necessary document. I also did some work helping the livelihoods baseline through reaching out to member centers to see if their reports of their livelihoods work was accurate and whether or not they would be interested in conducting projects on it in the future.

In some ways, my field visit in Izmir was the highlight of my experience as I was able to employ the skills I learned during the internship in conducting an informational interview with the team to compare the different experiences of member centers and also lay the groundwork for interest in livelihoods integration. Considering that this center didn’t have the resources for a social worker, it was very well received.

If I am forgetting anything, it is because my time with the IRCT felt incredibly full and rewarding. I think the best of everyone working within the organization and hope to keep in contact with them. I really appreciate the role Donia Human Rights Center played in obtaining this internship because it truly has been an experience I could not have replicated. I feel so much better pursuing a career in the international field now and have even taken some steps to switch my double major, which was History of Art, to Psychology to honor my continued interest in the values and questions IRCT left with me.”