May 8, 2008

NIAC Selects 2008 Public Service and Journalism Fellow!


Washington DC – Congratulations to Artin Afkhami, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley. This summer, NIAC will sponsor Artin’s internship in the office of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, where Artin will experience Capitol Hill first hand by attending committee hearings and researching legislation.

Artin was born and raised in California. He was chosen as the NIAC Public Service and Journalism Fellow because of his superior academic achievement, his impressive record of public service, and his dedication to the progress of the Iranian American community. He will be working in the office of senior California Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington DC. Artin will be graduating in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle East Studies.

At Berkeley, Artin is composing an honors thesis regarding the decision-making process in Iran’s foreign policy. As part of the project, he interviewed foreign policy academics and officials in Iran in January of 2008. In the summer of 2007, he interned at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. Though born and raised in California, Artin has visited the Middle East extensively and is fluent in English, Persian, Spanish, and has basic Arabic ability.

In accepting the fellowship award, Artin told NIAC, “Through my internship with the Foreign Affairs staff of Senator Feinstein, I will aim to gain an understanding of how the Senator helps formulate our nation’s foreign policy. Further, I will understand the legislative process of this country and how Iranian Americans can become more involved in [US politics].”

Artin told NIAC, “What attracted me to NIAC was its non-partisan dedication to Iranian-American professional advancement and political organization. The fact that NIAC receives no money from any government was very important to me. The Fellowship was motivating for me because its focus on public service matched my desire to broaden my experience in US government.”

Artin also hopes to gain a more practical knowledge of the Washington political environment, “I aspire to a career as an international lawyer with emphases in constitutional law as well as trade law. My experience with the Fellowship in Senator Feinstein’s office will give me an understanding of the legislative process that drafts US foreign policy. I will use that experience to help inform my academic and future legal career.”

The unique NPSJ program is designed to jumpstart the careers of young Iranian Americans, like Artin, who wish to pursue careers in public policy, government, and journalism. The only program of its kind, the NPSJ fellowship is designed to provide support and encouragement for young Iranian Americans who, to this juncture, have not enjoyed the benefits of programs and institutions to facilitate their incursion into American politics and civic life.

2008 marks the fourth year of the NPSJ program and the NIAC decision committee was once again overwhelmed by the quality of the applicant pool. Although only one fellowship is being awarded, many of the applicants were offered positions with congressional offices. In future years, NIAC hopes to award more summer fellowships to emerging leaders within the Iranian-American community.

The program is funded through a grant from CitiBank and donations from the Iranian-American community. If you would like to learn more about how you can help fund this program and provide more opportunities for Iranian-American students, please contact: [email protected].




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