I am currently a student at the University of Cambridge reading for a BA in geography. I applied to be an intern at the Green Economics Institute for the summer of 2008 in March 2008. At the time I was looking for a work placement or internship for that summer that would be academically challenging, exciting and useful for a possible future career. I was extremely excited when Miriam Kennet (co-director and founder of the Green Economics Institute) agreed to take me on for the summer.
I am lucky enough to live just outside Oxford, where the office of the GEI was then located. As a result, I was able to use the office as a basis for my work. Often I would work with Miriam in the office and sometimes I would work independently.
The first task I had to complete on my very first day was to accompany Miriam to Paris where she was to give a speech to members of the Green Party in from various European countries in the French Senat. My role during this trip involved helping Miriam write her speech and I was very privileged when Miriam decided to use some of my ideas in her speech. During the two day trip I also had the opportunity to meet Yann Raineau, the Institute's first intern who is now completing his postgraduate study at university in Paris. It was especially exciting for me to meet him and see how much experience one can gain from being an intern with the Institute.
On our return from Paris, I was given the task of managing the list of speakers and attendees for the annual Green Economics Conference at Mansfield College, Oxford that the Institute was organising. This involved managing the inbox dedicated to this event, making sure all the speakers were confirmed, dealing with enquires from speakers and attendees and also communicating with other members of the GEI team to ensure that the conference would run smoothly. Unfortunately, I was on a family holiday for the conference itself and so was unable to attend, although the commendations from it were very positive.
I then accompanied Miriam to the Resurgence Camp which was held at Green and Away, the largest tented conference centre in Europe. There we attended talks by Satish Kumar and were invited to run a workshop. During this visit I helped Miriam run an interactive workshop on what is wrong with current economics and how Green economics may provide an alternative solution to some current global problems.
During this period I accompanied Miriam when she attended BNI, an organisation which helps and supports small businesses. This was a new challenge for me as I had very little previous business experience. I felt very honoured and trusted when, later in my internship, I attended these meetings as a representative of the Institute when Miriam was unable to do so.
I also began editing the Green Economist, which is a magazine sent out to members of the GEI containing reports on the work of the Institute and articles about Green Economics. Helped by David Amos, I contacted members of the Institute who would be interested in writing articles and put the magazine together. I also wrote several articles and reports myself, which improved my writing skills and style. This took up a lot of my time, but was a completely new experience and one that was valued highly.
I was then involved in helping Miriam and Volker to prepare for two workshops that the Institute was to give at the European Green Summer University. This was a conference held in Frankfurt-on-Oder, Germany and in Slubice, Poland and attended by members of Green Parties from around Europe. During the preparation stage I helped to determine the content and structure of the workshops. I also had to prepare three presentations that I gave during the workshops on ‘What is wrong with conventional economics', and a brief overview of Environmental Economics and on why it is important to have an understanding of the physical sciences. This conference was, without doubt, the highlight of my internship with the Institute. Not only was I given the opportunity to travel and hear many interesting and engaging speakers, but I was able to improve my public speaking and presentation skills and overcome my nervousness about speaking in front of large numbers of people.
After returning from Germany and Poland, David Amos and I helped Miriam to prepare for a presentation we had to give at the Green Party Annual Conference. I was very honoured when Miriam allowed David and myself to take the lead in this presentation, presenting on ‘What is the Green Economics Institute?'.
During my last week I was involved in organising a members' evening at our offices in Oxford. This involved liaising with the guest speakers for the event, Peter Victor, and sending our invitations to members. The evening itself was also the last day of my internship and it seemed fitting that at the end of my time at the Institute, I gave a presentation on ‘What is the Green Economics Institute and what have we done recently?'.
I thoroughly enjoyed my summer working as an intern at the Green Economics Institute. I had many amazing opportunities to travel, to meet important people and to improve my presentation, writing and organisational skills. Throughout my internship I was supported by Miriam and Volker and I feel that, consequently, my confidence levels have improved greatly. The internship was hard work and at times quite stressful, but that made completing the internship more rewarding. To someone who is dedicated to learning about Green Economics, an internship at the Green Economics Institute would be an amazing experience and one that I would recommend.
Sophie Henstridge December 2008