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Chicago Council Internship Program

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs offers undergraduate juniors and seniors, and graduate students the opportunity to learn about our organization and participate in a variety of duties associated with ongoing projects through its internship program. While internship responsibilities vary by department, tasks may include researching prospective speakers, donors, studies, and members, assisting at Council events, writing communications and assisting in the development of marketing/program materials, audience and outreach development, administrative duties (filing, faxing, data entry, preparing mailings, assembling program/meeting materials), and other projects as assigned. Please note that all interns will provide some program support during their internship; with over 150 programs each year, this will add to the internship experience.


    The Chicago Council offers members and the public insights on current international developments and global issues by providing a nonpartisan forum for world leaders, policymakers, and experts. Interns perform a variety of tasks in this fast-paced department and are mainly responsible for program support including materials preparation, event setup/breakdown on location, customer service, and other tasks as assigned. Programs vary in size and content making this a comprehensive internship experience. While in the office, interns spend time managing an assortment of administrative duties, researching and writing for upcoming programs, and assisting in marketing and outreach strategies.
    The Chicago Council contributes to national and international discussions on varying issues such as migration, energy, and climate change to name a few. Through studies, task force reports, and special initiatives, the Council offers fresh insights and authentic perspectives from Chicago and the Midwest to the formation of opinion and policy in the US and abroad. Below are current studies projects – intern applicants should specify their area(s) of interest in their cover letter.
  • Energy – The Chicago Council’s Energy Initiative evaluates regional and global trends shaping energy markets and the linkages to economic, environmental, and national-security priorities. Interns provide general research and administrative support to the Energy Initiative team, including the senior fellow for global energy. Responsibilities may include fact-checking, researching prospective speakers, writing communications, developing materials, performing administrative duties, assisting with planning and implementation of energy-related programs, and supporting other projects as assigned. Applicants should demonstrate strong research and writing abilities, attention to detail, and an interest in international relations and energy.

  • Global Agriculture and Food – The Global Agriculture and Food Initiative aims to stimulate and inform the policy discussion around the US role in alleviating poverty through global agricultural development. Interns are typically tasked with assisting with the research and organization of the project’s weekly news brief, Global Food for Thought, which follows media, research, and policy developments on issues surrounding agriculture. Interns also research potential topics, speakers, and organizations carrying out similar research. Furthermore, interns provide support for events, including liaising with partners and sponsors, developing invitation lists and maintaining contacts database, compiling background materials, and setting up/breaking down meetings. 

  • Immigration – Interns perform research and administrative tasks to support the Immigration Initiative’s ongoing activities and publications. Applicants should demonstrate strong research and organizational skills and an interest in immigration and/or Latin America. Spanish-language skills and a familiarity with current topics in immigration policy are helpful. 

  • Public Opinion – Conducted since 1974, the Council’s public opinion survey is a greatly respected and widely cited source of longitudinal data on American public opinion about a wide range of US foreign policy and international issues. Interns assist with the production and dissemination of the Chicago Council Survey report and associated topical briefs, in addition to providing general research support to the senior fellow on public opinion and foreign policy. Applicants should demonstrate strong research and writing abilities and an interest in international relations. Familiarity with statistical and survey methods is helpful, but not required.
    Major gifts/fundraising interns work closely with the major gifts team to steward the memberships of the Council’s donors. They primarily maintain the donor database by conducting research to create profiles for prospective and current donors, and by recording interactions with donors. Other duties include preparing briefs on upcoming programs, assisting at Council events, and completing daily administrative tasks.
    Corporate relations is responsible for engaging businesses in Chicago and the Midwest and fundraising through membership and sponsorship opportunities for corporations. Interns will have two primary tasks: first with researching and compiling briefs on companies’ operations, financials, and executives, and second with managing corporate membership information in the database. This includes data entry, editing contact information, adding new members, and pulling reports/formatting in both the database and Microsoft Excel. Interns will help identify opportunities and companies to connect with the Council’s work. Knowledge of marketing, business, and fundraising is beneficial to the role, and administrative tasks such as mailing and filing will be requested occasionally.
    The Emerging Leaders Program is a two-year fellowship designed to give Chicago leaders a full understanding of the global issues that impact Chicago. Interns work with the director to help disseminate a report produced by the current class, organize a retreat for the fall for the incoming class, and assist in research for syllabi. Interns also attend and assist at ongoing, onsite Emerging Leaders meetings. Preference is given to applicants that can intern for three days per week.  
    Marketing and communication interns work closely with the marketing team on external outreach activities focused on increasing the Council’s visibility, growing event attendance, and building general membership. Interns post content on the Council’s website and blogs, create email announcements and newsletters, and assist with traditional and social media initiatives, tracking the results from these efforts. Interns are in a unique position to learn about the Council overall, receive training on digital platforms, and also assist other departments as needed. Familiarity with basic HTML is preferred, but not required.
    Interns for the president’s office work with his executive assistants in executing administrative tasks pertaining to both the president and the Council’s Board of Directors. These tasks are both short and long term, including projects seeking, gathering, and vetting research for the president, and updating information in documents and the Council’s database. Interns help with organizational tasks such as sorting through existing research and Board materials, filing, scanning/copying, mailing, as well as reaching out to Council Board members on behalf of the executive assistants. Interns have a unique position in learning about the Council overall, and also assist other departments as needed.

    This internship includes helping with various communications to members, assisting with maintenance of constituent database, and completing occasional research projects and analysis to help improve the Council membership and registration experience. Other tasks include preparing program registration materials, updating speaker profiles, calculating final attendance figures, and some data entry and reporting. The internship also includes other administrative duties as assigned.

The Chicago Council offers three internship terms:

Start Date     
End Date    
Dates Accepting Applications 

May 1 - June 30

September 1 - October 31

Februrary 1 - March 15
To qualify, students must have an academic major or personal interest in international affairs, possess excellent research, writing, and verbal communications skills, be detail-oriented with strong organizational abilities, and possess working knowledge of Microsoft Office. Interns are asked to commit to a minimum of 15 hours per week. While internships are unpaid, the Council offers travel reimbursement to/from the office for public transportation. Interns also receive a complimentary, one-year membership with The Chicago Council.  

To apply, please email a cover letter (specifying areas of interest, and dates/hours of availability), résumé, and a two-page writing sample (e.g. paper and/or excerpt from school, relevant to Council) as Word or PDF documents to EOE


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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; 332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1100; Chicago, Illinois 60604-4416
Phone: 312.726.3860   Fax: 312.821.7555
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