Philip Alexander Müller Experience at FNF Beirut
Philip Alexander Müller
Who are you? (Where do you come from and why did you look for an internship with FNF Beirut?)
I am Philip Alexander Müller. My home city is the former German capital Bonn. Shortly after completing my Master’s degree in European Studies at Maastricht University, I came to Beirut for a three months Internship. The decision to apply here was quite spontaneous, as I was not quite sure about which direction I would want to choose professionally. Getting to know the foundation for freedom internally and living in an unfamiliar country was an exciting opportunity that I was more than happy to take. I have a deep interest in international politics and am ideologically driven by my identity as a classical liberal.
What were the two most important/exciting/interesting things you worked on while being with FNF Beirut?
During my time in Beirut there were plenty of noteworthy events. For me a workshop on the use of social media in political campaigning that we did for our local partner Future Movement in cooperation with the Dutch liberal party VVD definitely stood out for me. The participants of the workshop were very eager to learn and I took away many useful insights.
The MENA regional conference that was hosted by the Beirut office during my internship was also very interesting. Planning started many weeks before and I had the opportunity to meet important people within the foundation.
What was different in Lebanon and Beirut and the office from what you expected before you came?
I was taken by surprise by the mixture of languages that my Lebanese colleagues use whenever they talk among each other. Every now and then parts of their sentences are in English or French and then they suddenly switch back to Arabic. Generally the uses of different languages in Beirut came unexpected to me, but it made communication with people overall very easy, as everyone speaks either French or English or sometimes both at a very high level.
Would you do this internship again? If so, what would you do different?
I would definitely not want to miss out on my experiences. Before, I did not have a very clear picture of what the work of political foundation looks like and can now say that I can imagine myself continuing to work in this field. In hindsight I would say that I probably should have put greater efforts into learning Lebanese Arabic in advance to at least know some basics, but in the end the lack of linguistic capabilities did not have a significant impact on my experiences here.
What could my future career look like?
I hope to keep working for the foundation and have applied for a job at the office in Brussels. Ideally, I want to be involved in EU politics and live in Brussels permanently, if possible with FNF.
Freedom means for me…
…the lack of restriction for the individual. The fundamental freedoms are essential for the well-being and advancement of society. In my mind a government that is as limited as possible in its involvement in society is the best way to ensure the maximal freedom for the individual and prosperity for the state.