A Peak into Leadership Development

403749_10100211497339494_6300041_42999244_658911743_n-247x300.jpgThe Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) has announced the application for the 2012 SikhLEAD Internship Program. The objective of SikhLEAD is to inspire, train, and support motivated and enterprising young Sikh American leaders as they prepare for a lifetime of community engagement and community leadership.

The internship program is aims to put Sikh American college and graduate students, as well as recent grad, in competitive internship in the White House, on Capitol Hill and government agencies. Through this program, students will be afforded first-hand perspective into the functioning of the federal government, as a way of providing experience-based training to individuals interested in civic engagement and government affairs.

Through the experience of interning in a congressional office, interns will:

  • explore a potential career track
  • create a network of professional and personal contacts
  • develop real-world skills
  • build confidence and professional work habits

The application deadline for summer 2012 internships is THIS SUNDAY, Feb 26th, 2012! 

Visit www.sikhlead.org for more details and to apply. Spread the word and tell your friends about this exciting opportunity.

For a sneak peak into the internship experience, read along.  Special thanks to Harmeet Kaur for sharing her experience as a former alumni of the SALDEF Internship Program:

Attending a briefing by the Congressional Human Rights Commission on the rights of tribal and minorities in South Asia, researching an issue in order to draft a immigration reform bill, obtaining signatures from Congressional offices for a bill that your member of Congress is attempting to bring to the House floor – these may sound like the important duties of a staff member working on Capitol Hill, but this is a description of a typical day of a Congressional Intern!

This summer, I was one of the interns selected for SALDEF’s Congressional Internship Program – this new program seeks to introduce Sikh Americans to the legislative process by placing them as interns with Congressional offices. As an intern for Congresswoman Judy Chu, I had the opportunity to attend hearings and briefings on important issues like the keystone pipeline project, future of U.S. aid to Pakistan, and the financial crisis. Congresswoman Chu is also the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), which is dedicated to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S. As a Sikh American, this was very empowering – I worked on important immigration reform legislation and provided input on security issues that impact Sikh Americans.

One particular project that significant to me was gaining sponsorship for the POWER Act. This legislation – Protecting Our Workers Against Exploitation and Retaliation – sought to provide temporary status to illegal immigrants who wish to report abuse faced at the hands of their employers. By allowing workers to report this abuse without the threat of being reprimanded or deported, this legislation hopes to hold businesses accountable for hiring and exploiting illegal immigrants by forcing them to pay fines. No other program allows such hands-on work on issues and projects that are vital to our community.

SALDEF’s Congressional Internship Program gave me clarity in my future plans – I realized how much I thrive in public service and how much I enjoy working on policy issues. With this vital experience under my belt, I am equipped with the skills to focus my career on public service. CIP is an important program to place Sikh Americans on Capitol Hill and to give a Sikh voice to important legislative processes.

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4 Responses to “A Peak into Leadership Development”

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  2. Yooying says:

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