MHR Student Helps Provide New Tools for Activists and Advocates
Tonje Boerresen is second-year MHR student from Norway with a background in law. This summer she interned with the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) in St. Paul. Working with their New Tactics Team, Tonje helped develop unique resources for advocates and activists within human rights designed to help them work on their specific issues from their own regions. Below, Tonje's reflects on this fascinating work and how working with a large nonprofit organization such as CVT will help guide her in her professional career path.
This summer, I worked for the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) with the New Tactics team in Saint Paul. New Tactics work to create unique resources for advocates and activists within human rights, that will benefit them in their work in their own regions and areas.
I worked on a variety of projects during the summer, including researching storytelling methods, effectivizing their data storage and management systems through usage of data analysis, logistical work related to their trainings and conferences, and summarized their online community efforts. Regarding my projects, I mainly worked alone and was allowed a lot of freedom to shape them the way I wanted, which I really enjoyed. It gave me time to research and let the work get shaped as I would work on it, rather than being forced to follow strict guidelines. It also gave me time to familiarize myself with the topics I’m working on as well as having the time to develop something unique for the organization. During my time there, I also got to participate in team meetings, both with the US and MENA teams. This also allowed me to learn about the work they do outside of the United States.
Coming into this internship with limited experience working in the nonprofit area, I learned a lot about how important nonprofit organizations are, and what can make them successful. I am very grateful to have had this experience and would be happy to do more work in the nonprofit sector in the future.
What impressed me the most about CVT is all the amazing work that they do, both in providing direct services to torture victims, but also their efforts to create resources for advocates and activists within human rights. During my time with the New Tactics team, I was able to attend meetings with their MENA team and learned about how important it is to have local teams working in areas where the work is highly needed.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time there as my previous experience working as a lawyer in Norway is limited to the public and private sectors. It was very educational to work for a larger nonprofit, and I’ve gained insight into how it was run and how their work was done. As my previous work experience has been within the legal field, I was excited to learn how those skills can be transferred to and are important in a nonprofit as well. This was also my first experience at a US workplace, as I have never previously worked in the United States. I believe that it was a great fit for me as I now wish to continue working for nonprofits in the future as an advocate for human rights. It has been a great learning experience to be part of a large nonprofit organization, and something that I will take with me into my professional career.