SMU-in-London 2008

This summer 48 SMU students are traveling to London to study communication courses, including international media, free speech, creative advertising, British cinema and the global civil society. Some students also are interning with international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Pants to Poverty, and Save the Children, to name a few.

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Helping get the word out

Kaitlin.jpgKatie is a senior CCPA major, with a minor in Spanish. She is working for the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies (CCPS). The NGO takes on a multitude of activities within the field of death penalty and penal research, with the overall aim of informing and supporting governmental moves to replace capital punishment with more humane alternatives and to give support for families of homicide victims and the condemned.

I have spent my first week at work, and the experience is nothing like I expected. My NGO’s website makes them seem extremely serious and strict, not to say they are not serious, but in general, the environment is very relaxed and fun. I only work with one other person, my supervisor, and this week I met our director for the first time. They are both fun-loving people who are extremely passionate about their cause.

The CCPS has done amazing work all across the world, yet it seems that they are not well known. One of my recent tasks was to help update the website. The CCPS has an amazing brochure about their work, their mission and their accomplishments; but none of these things reflect on their website. Technology is so important today – the Internet is where the majority of the world gets its information, so I felt that fixing the website would be one of the first and most important things I could do. The website obviously needed to follow the same structure that the brochure did so the general public could understand what my NGO really does.

The CCPS is different from other anti-death penalty organizations because it does enormous amounts of research and waits for governments or NGOs to come and ask for help. They send interns (from around the world) to various countries that want to abolish the death penalty or start some programs toward that goal. These interns work with local lawyers and others to help these countries with few resources of their own to accomplish this. Since 1992, the CCPS has sent interns to countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Philippines, and St. Vincent.

I am in awe of the world of NGOs and can’t wait to continue my work further with the CCPS.

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