Two decades after having immigrated to the United States, Chinh Pham, originally from Vietnam and a rising senior at Yale University, returned to Asia and participated in a two-month internship program at the CALD Secretariat. He was based in Manila, Philippines from 08 June to 06 August 2012.
During his internship, Chinh contributed in the research and writing of the CALD Political Party Management Handbook, conducted weekly research on political developments in Asia for the CALD newsletter, and helped in developing the program for the 7th CALD Communications Workshop. He also assisted in preparing the documentation of the CALD Mongolia Seminar and Study Visit and ALDE-CALD Summit, and in organizing CALD's program archive.
Chinh had the opportunity to observe the Sam Rainsy Party's meeting with the Human Rights Party, attend the Liberal Party of the Philippines' Basic Orientation on Liberal Democracy (BOLD) seminar, and visit the Laguna Lake Development Authority, which is managed by CALD Secretary General, Dr. Neric Acosta. He enriched his Philippine experience with a historical tour of the walled city of Intramuros, a trip to Cebu City, and participation in a Filipino cooking lesson.
"I returned home to Asia to see a region that has undergone major transformations to become what is now a major economic player in the global arena," according to Chinh. "With such dramatic developmental changes comes the need for vast political developments in the form of democracy. In the region, CALD has served as a vital proponent of this cause, and I am extremely fortunate to have been part of the CALD team this summer."
A psychology major, Chinh's internship was made possible by the International Summer Award (ISA) of Yale's Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE). Prior to coming to Asia, he served as campus strategist for the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, and Head Program Coordinator for the Association of Yale Alumni.
"My CALD experience was one that cannot be replicated in any classroom setting, where one can learn about the harms of corruption, the need for free and fair elections, and the importance of gender equality, but may never truly understand the need for such liberal values in a democracy," Chinh says. "I return to Yale with an enlightened perspective on Asian politics, and my internship at CALD will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable experience and an important part of my own personal growth."