FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2021
NDI responds to questions about the ARP Internship Program
Since 1983, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has supported democrats and democratic institutions in over 130 countries based on a fundamental belief that democracy is the best system of governance for achieving human dignity and peace. NDI’s approach is aligned with the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights which recognizes the right of each individual to live freely and with equality. NDI is headquartered in Washington, DC, and the Institute currently maintains offices in more than 50 countries. NDI received its authorization from the Tunisian government in 2012 by the publication in the official journal of the Republic of Tunisia. In Tunisia, 20 of NDI’s 23 full-time staff are Tunisians.
In more than 25 countries around the world, including Tunisia, NDI has supported the engagement of young people in the political process through internships with legislatures and parliaments. The goal of such programs is to provide an avenue for young people to engage in the political process while providing much-needed human resources that enhance the parliament’s ability to represent constituents, make laws, and provide government oversight. Since 2015, a total of 99 Tunisian university students or recent graduates, two-thirds of them women, have learned about political processes while developing their knowledge and skills as participants in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) internship program.
The recruitment of interns is a highly competitive process that involves a public call for application, written test and oral interview with the institute followed by an oral interview with the parliamentary organ. For the class of 2020, the acceptance rate was below 6 percent. Parliamentary groups, committees, or offices who wish to receive assistance from interns select individuals from among the accepted candidates. New interns then complete a training curriculum on topics including the ARP’s Rules of Procedure and sign a Code of Conduct. To offer the opportunity to as many young people as possible, the duration of the internship is one year without the possibility of renewal.
Once interns complete their training and start working, the parliamentary group, committee or office that hired them provides on-going supervision and directs their daily work. NDI continues to support interns during the year with additional training and mentorship, based on requests from interns or their hosts. As is common practice in internship programs in other countries. Interns receive a stipend from NDI to cover essential expenses related to their work, such as transportation, housing and meals.