Intern at HIPS – A Personal Reflection

I remember hearing about The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS) when it was first announced via Twitter. I recall being excited about the idea of the first Somali-run, Mogadishu-based think tank. The concept of having educated and committed Somali researchers influencing public policy, as opposed to third party individuals and institutions with little understanding of the reality and complexities on the ground, was profound to me.  For me, the establishment of HIPS was huge. I remember thinking, ‘I want to be a part of that’.

I came to Mogadishu in June wide-eyed, excited, and somewhat nervous about spending three months by myself in such a notoriously troubled city. To my surprise, the transition process was relatively smooth, thanks mostly to the warm and welcoming atmosphere at HIPS. In more ways than one, HIPS is a close-knit family that supports you socially, academically, and professionally. I did not feel like your stereotypical intern while working with HIPS. For one, the leadership and staff are very accessible. I was encouraged to approach them with help on my projects and even assisting them on theirs. Most importantly, I felt like I had a voice within HIPS and that my opinion mattered on the various issues that would come up. I routinely sat in on staff meetings and got a first hand look at what it takes to not only produce empirically sound research, but also to run an institution like HIPS.

At first, I was shocked by my accessibility to a number of high-profile members of government and civil society. HIPS is one of the epicenters of political, academic, and cultural integration in Mogadishu and as an intern, you greatly benefit from that. HIPS’ biggest asset, first and foremost, is its people. The team at HIPS is small, but effective and extremely good at what they do. I am thankful and proud for being a part of that team. Even after my stay at HIPS, I still find myself emailing the staff at HIPS frequently; partly to stay in touch, but also to ask for advice about career goals, my senior thesis, etc. HIPS is not one of those internships you do and never look back on. HIPS stays with you and transforms you; and I am grateful for that.

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar Saida Hassan
    Posted September 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that college students should be taking advantage of kind of internship.. I fellow HIPS and respect their work.. I am glad you got the experience

  2. Avatar Tina
    Posted September 2013 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    wow, i really want to work there now. you sound soooooo nice and i really want to meet you manshallah manshallah beautiful rajisa

  3. Avatar Hassan Mohamed
    Posted September 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I too when I heard HIPS, the first Somali and Somali based think tank not only was I happy and delighted but also realized it is time we, as Somalis, need to take the matter of our country in to our own hand and fix our problems in our own way with experience and knowledge. I became attached to HIPS’s website, subscribe, and always read their reports and researches. May be I read one of the researchs and reports Rajisa did. I hope Rajisa and all other team who had the opportunity to work with HIPS with good luck, and use what they learned to help our country back to its feet. And also paved the way for those of us who want to have the same opportunity.
    Lastly, I want to thank first and foremost the people who found and created this think tank in a such a crucial time and put their lives on the line in order to help their country and their fellow citizen.
    Thanks.

  4. Avatar Nur Muktar
    Posted September 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    as we are Somali youth we are highly welcoming like this institute, if i’m not wrong it’s the first time in Somalia founded like this institute, i suggest and recommend that the institute have to organize a meeting and produce advisers the role of Somali youth how bring peace and stability in the near future .

  5. Avatar Mohamed
    Posted October 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am pleased with the work of the Institute and really wish you all well.
    I do however think that its time for a national youth summit that encourages not only those in Mogadishu to have their voices heard but also those in the other regions such as Somaliland and Puntland as well as the diaspora.It should be an event organised by the youth and for the youth through HIPPS because I think a somali youth conference or summit will help bridge the gap between us (the diaspora) and those in Somalia.

    Regards

    Mohamed

  6. Posted November 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    i can’t say nothing other than appreciating for those who had the idea of stablishing and developing policy studies instituate, let somali youth involve policy development and decition making in their privilaged country through publishing their comments at HIPA.

  7. Avatar Ali
    Posted May 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Wow! that’s great. HIPS is indeed an epicenter for public policy empirical research. We have a think-tank in Mogadishu, Somalia that will act as knowledge generator and vital actor in post-conflict reconstruction.Kudos to all who have established such fantastic institute. I hope the institute will give opportunities for internship to the students in the field of sciences and social science as well.

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