HIGH POINT, N.C., March 25, 2013 – High Point University junior Johnathan Grimmel is taking on an international experience of a lifetime this spring as the political section intern for the United States Consulate General in Belfast. Grimmel, who is majoring in political science with minors in women’s and gender studies and nonprofit management, is spending his time working with sections of the consulate general, including public diplomacy, politics/economics, management and consular affairs. He’ll complete the internship in late May.
The internship is providing Grimmel with a wide variety of important responsibilities, including working on specific political and economic issues, such as sectarian tensions, budget cuts and the economic recession; collaborating with the public affairs section in the preparation of events involving alumni of U.S. programs; updating the consulate general’s database of contacts; and maintaining biographical information for local politicians or civic business leaders.
“I have always believed that getting experience will help a person succeed in life,” says Grimmel. “So this internship provides an opportunity to see firsthand how diplomacy works. Understanding how different cultures approach problems will add to my perspective, adding insight into creative thinking about how to solve some of the problems we face here in the United States.”
Grimmel has used courses such as international relations and human relations at HPU to prepare him for his additional responsibilities while abroad, such as attending meetings and events, assisting with VIP visits and accompanying the Consul General and Deputy Consul General to appointments and representational events. It has also helped him prepare for the G8 summit, which he will attend in early June in Northern Ireland.
“Many of my classes at High Point University helped me prepare for the duties I am performing,” says Grimmel. “For example, my human relations course I took introduced me to the practical skills I can use when faced with conflict that requires crisis management in the public sector.”
Grimmel will complete an additional component to the internship through the women and gender studies department at HPU as he studies the role women play in the culture, society and government in Northern Ireland. This opportunity also brings Grimmel the chance to participate in an independent study that looks deeper into the past and present conflict and peace process in Northern Ireland.