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IIP-Middle East Scientific Institute of Security Studies
Amman, Jordan (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Partner Institution/Organization Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Dept Offering Program: IIP, International Internship Program (IIP) Program Type: Internship
Language Prerequisite: No Program Features: Research
Degree Level: 2 First year Ugrad, 3 Sophomore, 4 Junior Time Away: Summer
Housing options: Student Responsibilty with support from IIP and/or Host Organization Program Group: International Internship Program
Program Description:
mesis logo
About: Established in 2002, MESIS is an NGO based in Amman, Jordan. It is a joint initiative between the Royal Scientific Society in Jordan and Sandia National Laboratories in the U.S. Though it is a scientific organization, very few of the staff members are scientists by training. MESIS deals primarily with chemical/biological/radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks. These risks are not only a result of deliberate actions but can be accidental or natural. This is why it is important that civil society is involved in addressing these risks. MESIS’ main role is to develop and implement regional training and engagement programs for experts from government (military and civilian) or otherwise (academia and private sector) to raise awareness about these threats and build capacity to deal with them. Since these threats are cross-border by nature, MESIS also looks to promote regional cooperation in these areas, thereby promoting the role of science and technology collaboration in bringing people together. MESIS works on exciting and cutting edge issues that lie at the nexus of science and security issues. Examples include the development of a regional response plan for pandemic outbreaks/biohazard outbreaks/radiological accidents, the localization of best practices on nuclear security and the testing of infrasound technologies to be used for the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty verification regime.
Intern Responsibilities:
This IIP internship is flexible in the sense that the IIP intern can be involved on a number of different issues. Interns will be assigned specific tasks but will also have a choice to pursue other work that is related to MESIS's mission. Work responsibilities will include: arranging, planning, and implementing major international conferences, training programs, and scientific experiments. The  intern’s involvement may cover budgeting, logistics, PR, or customer relations; developing funding proposals and meeting with prospective donors; arranging and/or attending high level meetings with local or foreign dignitaries; and preparing meeting material, presentations, and memos on specific topics of interest. Interns also may have the opportunity to work on one of the following three projects:
  • Network for Radiation Monitoring- MESIS administers a network that seeks to develop common standards on radiation monitoring across the Middle East. It is important to develop such standards across the region and then try to raise them. MESIS manages this project which includes managing data sharing, hosting the website, managing communication between network members, and organizing its annual workshop. Aside from policymakers and scientists from the region, it includes participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, and the US Department of Energy, among others. An IIP intern could be involved in any number of activities on this project. This includes the content side such as being an official rapporteur for the annual workshop, designing the agenda for the year in consultation with donors, developing the metrics by which the workshop is assessed, or developing workshop reports and policy memos for regional partners in government and the Arab League. It may also include administrative tasks like managing the news and events section on the website, arranging logistics for the annual workshop (airlines, agenda, local transportation and other vendors), and managing budgets and price quotations.
  • Site Assessment- MESIS manages a project to ensure that there are standards in place at facilities that use low-level radioactive sources. These include hospitals who used radioisotopes for cancer treatment and academic institutions that use radioactive sources to calibrate equipment. The idea behind the project is to ensure that the overlooked side of radiological and nuclear security (the soft underbelly) is not overlooked. An IIP intern could conduct site assessment visits with members of the staff, be responsible for developing the reporting and documentation of the site visits, and be involved in communicating with a variety of stakeholders.
  • News for Stakeholders- MESIS tries to ensure that its website is constantly updated with news that is of interest to our stakeholders. An intern may be requested to research and write short pieces of news that might be of interest to our stakeholders and run the analytics for each story. This will help determine which stories to select in the future. Previous interns have helped implement major international conferences at MESIS.

Qualifications: Candidates with a background in international affairs, public policy, development, Middle East studies, human or hard sciences, management, marketing, and a specific interest in science and technology or broader interest in the role that science and technology can play in furthering regional stability are encouraged to apply.  Basic Arabic would be an asset but is not required. 
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: My work responsibilities included research on a number of subjects including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear security, the creation of an online certificate program for students to raise awareness and the level of education on biosafety and biosecurity threats, the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, and my own independent research on MERS-CoV, more specifically whether the vast difference in the occurrence of cases between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors comes as a result of natural, unpreventable factors or government policy failure. I also assisted in arranging the logistics for workshops we hosted with outside parties. Intern #2: I had a wide variety of different tasks and projects that were influenced by my different interests.  I was responsible for helping with logistics of conferences, writing news blurbs for the organization's website, doing research analyzing the various chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear risks in different countries around the region, and I conducted an independent research project on communicable diseases in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.  Intern #3: I did research on CBRN issues in the Middle East and North Africa to help MESIS make more detailed risk assessments of different countries. I also helped with conference logistics, such as writing letters to various organizations, budgeting, and sometimes I sat in on and offered (albeit limited) feedback on translations of slides. I filled in various databases about MESIS associates and participants so the organization has a complete record of people who support them and whom they should invite back for conferences. I wrote news blurbs for the company website on current CBRN issues. I pursued an independent research project on governmental and nongovernmental responses to health care crises in Syrian refugee camps...I learned a lot about the role of different governmental and nongovernmental organizations for CBRN and health care issues in the Middle East and North Africa and about regional political dynamics. I have also learned about difference nuances of Arab culture, as MESIS prides itself on being able to best present CBRN issues (which are often very sensitive topics) specifically to an Arab audience. We've spent a lot of time discussing Jordanian politics (both domestic and foreign relations/policies) and current events in the Middle East, such as ISIS gaining access to chemical weapons and the Iran nuclear deal...My research on CBRN issues has allowed MESIS to extend its capacity as an organization.  My independent research and research on CBRN issues will allow MESIS to have even more of an advisory capacity on CBRN issues, as it can now make better risk assessments of different CBRN issues in MENA countries and can be more aware of the ongoing Syrian refugee health care/communicable disease crises.

View Powerpoint presentations by past IIP interns:
Byers, Conleigh, MESIS, Jordan.ppt
MESIS Jordan Tyler Katherine.pdfMESIS, Jordan, Jankowki, John.pdf

Dates / Deadlines:
This program is not currently accepting applications. Please consult the sponsoring department's website for application open dates.
This program is currently not accepting applications.