Posted by: mensab | August 22, 2008

First Progress Report of Internship in ASEAN

Best ASEAN Performing Arts II
Best ASEAN Performing Arts II

This narrative report covers the period of June 23 – August 8, 2008. Within this period, I was assigned to the Cultural and Information Unit (CIU) of the Bureau for Resources Development (BRD) to help organize the Best ASEAN Performing Arts II (BAPA) featuring Thailand. The inaugural launch of the series of this cultural presentation showcasing a member-state’s diverse and rich performing arts featured Indonesia last May 6-7, 2008.



This report consists of four parts; first, description of my assignment and other tasks as an intern; second, problems and issues encountered while performing the tasks; third, lessons learned in this period of internship; and fourth, updates of my internship schedule.


I. Description of tasks


To have an idea of what would be my tasks as an intern, it was July 7 when I and co-intern had a briefing with Dr. Roy Anish Kumar, director of BRD. He told us generally that there were three things that interns could do in the bureau; one, assist in the Best ASEAN Performing Arts; two, research on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); three, help in the documentation of the bureau’s activities and meetings.


After the briefing, we were led to the office of Ms. Linda Lee, head of CIU which organizes BAPA, for more specific tasks. We were oriented of the background and purpose of BAPA and a bit of her experience on the first BAPA. She cautioned us that it would be busy and “messy” in the coming days until the day of the event. Then, we were introduced to the two technical officers of the unit, Arief for culture and Raditya for information. We were told that Arief would be the main man who would organize the event and whom we would deal with most of the time.


The first task was to make invitation letters to all names in the master list of invitees that were used in the first BAPA. There were about three hundred names in the list given to us. Then, the next task was to send the letters either by post or fax. I handled the faxing of those names with fax numbers in the list.


It took us about a week after faxing and sending the invitation letters when a first batch of confirmation trickled in. Some called in while others re-faxed the reply page attached to the invitation letter.


With the confirmations of attendance started to come in, I was tasked to compile and update every now and then the list of confirmed attendees. This task was on top of following up the invitees through phone calls and other mundane tasks.


As the event neared, meetings lasted until the evening. Linda did not spare any aspect of the event uncovered, up to the minutest details like who sits next to whom in the VIP seats and who stands next to Secretary-General in the ceremonial cutting of the cake in celebration of ASEAN founding anniversary.

I was also asked to write an article to promote ASEAN awareness and the event to be published in the Jakarta Post before the event would take place on August 8 coinciding with the ASEAN Day. Here is the link of that article;


Although not part of the tasks, I have written three more articles since the start of my internship. Particularly in the first two weeks when we were idle reading documents on ASEAN, I wrote three articles related to my field of peace and conflict studies. I specifically introduced myself at the end of each article as an intern in ASEAN Secretariat and graduate student of University for Peace and Ateneo de Manila University. Here are their links;




II. Problems and Issues


As in any other tasks, I encountered one issue while performing the tasks. I think that it has something to do with the general view of internship. Ideally, internship is viewed as apprenticeship wherein an apprentice is exposed to various facets of job in the organization. It is a venue for learning and gaining professional experience on how things are done in the organization. Generally however, internship is seen as assistantship wherein an intern assists on everything that a “supervisor” may assign. The latter has happened for the most part of the internship so far.


As an intern, I requested Ms. Linda Lee to treat us like her staff without any reservations and inhibitions accorded to interns. I did not know if the request made any impression on her. What I knew was that I got more than what I had expected or requested from her staff. In itself, it was not an issue, but caused some issues, mostly personal and interpersonal, in the course of preparation. Although it did not affect the output of my tasks, it did arouse my interest on how other staff and the organization itself view interns.


I had no problem with being given numerous and different tasks. I simply continued to do my tasks as expected of me.


Now that the event is done, I intend to recommend the briefing of staff that will be in contact or in charge of the interns on the ideal purpose of internship. In this way, both the organization and interns will benefit from the internship program.



III. Lessons learned


There are a number of lessons that I learned from my stint in CIU. First, I learned to plan up to the minutest details of an event. It is often said and now I believe that the devil resides in the details. Second, I also learned protocols of organizing an event. A formal gathering requires protocols to be followed. Now I am somehow familiar to some of them. Third, interns are not the only ones who need orientation and briefing on their internship; some staff, I suppose, need orientation of the purpose of internship in the organization.


And I know there are more to learn from the internship as this is only the first stop among the tasks designed for interns in BRD.


I hope the organization also realizes that there are more that interns can do aside from assisting.



IV. Updates


There is a major change in the work plan. Instead of doing a research on MDGs, I and co-intern will be assigned to Coordination Unit (CU) to help organize two events this coming September.  Probably, the Bureau likes our first stint in organizing the Best ASEAN Performing Arts. I already received the ASCC blueprint for my reading. And I have yet to have a briefing from the CU people regarding my tasks and role in the coming two events. I will update my work plan as soon as things get clearer. For now, this is what I can offer.




  1. hi. how did you apply for the internship? care to share? i’m really keen on working for the ASEAN too.

  2. Hi! thank for posting this, now I’m looking for an internship too. I’m interested in doing intern with some kinds of international organization too. Could you please tell me how you apply for the internship in ASEAN Sec. ???


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