Ece Sen Experience at FNF Beirut
Who are you? (Where do you come from and why did you look for an internship with FNF Beirut?)
My name is Ece Sen and I’m from Frankfurt am Main. Currently I’m graduating from Goethe University Frankfurt with a major in sociology and a minor in law. Following my internships in the diplomatic corps and international development cooperation, I wanted to gain an understanding of political foundations. At the same time, I wanted this experiences to take place in a foreign country, with which I was not yet familiar. Before interning at FNF, I had heard a lot of positive things about Beirut that made me curious about the place. As a liberal, it was clear for me to join no other foundation, than the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for this experience.
What were the two most important/exciting/interesting things you worked on while being with FNF Beirut?
Every event we have worked on was as exciting as the one before. I’ve experienced the MYP, a four day long parliamentary simulation for students, where we also had access to the Lebanese parliament. I’ve also participated in the organization of the first FuckUp Nights Beirut 2019, which was really fun. And of course, I’ve participated in our event “Humanity in times of populism”, where our keynote speaker was the new Minister of Interior, Raya Al Hassan. My personal highlight was that my article about her was published on the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s German version website. At the end of my internship, the new brand identity was published, so it was really interesting to be involved in such a process.
What was different in Lebanon and Beirut and the office from what you expected before you came?
So many things. First of all, I expected the food and rent prices a bit lower than they actually were. You can get really good low-priced Falafel, but if you’re craving “international food” it will cost you the same as in Frankfurt for instance.
In preparation for my internship I researched a lot about the politics and history of Lebanon but experiencing it first hand made things more comprehensible on other dimensions. The culture, geopolitics, and society are really interesting in many terms and I am happy I have had this (in some ways eye-opening) encounter.
But what amazed me the most is the incredibly positive working atmosphere at the FNF Lebanon and Syria office. Straight from the beginning I was included into the “work-family”, working surrounded by kind and funny people and the most affectionate team.
Would you do this internship again? If so, what would you do different?
I would pack more winter clothing, definitely. I did my internship in “winter” and even if my German friends were jealous of the 15 degrees we had in Beirut, it was a bit colder and rainier than I’ve had expected.
What could my future career look like?
I have many options in my mind. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is surely one of them. Working for FDP or a United Nations organization are other ones. But becoming a diplomat is still on my priority list, which I will pursue in the next coming years. Gaining insights as part of the communications team at FNF Lebanon and Syria, sparked my interest in political and digital communication. So maybe I will start from there, first.
Freedom means for me…
to act, think, speak and choose unrestrictedly without anybody’s coercion or dictation, guaranteeing my individual personal development, as long as those actions don’t affect the liberties of somebody else.