National Defense University


**The NESA Center is no longer accepting applications for Summer ’23 internships. Information and dates for the Fall 2023 application period will be posted in early June.**

To apply, send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample (1-3 pages) to Mr. Sam Marrero at Samuel.Marrero@ndu.edu. The NESA Center reviews internship applications on a rolling basis, so interested applicants are encouraged to apply early. NESA internships are full-time and unpaid. The NESA 2023 Summer Internship Term begins on Tuesday May 30th and ends in early / mid August.

Note: internships are being conducted in a flexible hybrid remote / in-person model. To be considered, however, applicants must reside in the Washington DC area for the duration of the term for which they’re applying. 100% remote internships will not be considered. 

NESA Interns Summer 2023

Abdulaziz Al-Sulaiti is graduating with a Master’s in Strategy, Cybersecurity, and Intelligence from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. An alumnus of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, he specialized in Economics, Policy Studies, and Political Philosophy. Abdulaziz is deeply versed in nuclear policy, counterterrorism, and statecraft, with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Fluent in both Arabic and English, he adeptly blends Western and Middle Eastern perspectives, aiming to shape global policy through his academic insights and strategic acumen. Joining NESA, Abdulaziz seeks to contribute to the collective intelligence, utilizing his academic knowledge and experience to enhance the Center’s strategic insights while fostering collaboration.

Abdulmohsen Khajais a May ’23 M.A. graduate who holds two master’s degrees in Applied Intelligence and Intelligence and International Security from Georgetown University and King’s College London. He completed his undergraduate studies in political science and international relations at Syracuse University, where he focused on diplomacy and security in the MENA region. Abdulmohsen’s interests include Arab Gulf geopolitics, Sino-Arab relations, track two diplomacy, and the organization of non-military intelligence. At NESA, he is looking forward to gaining practical experience in strategic studies in Near East South Asia affairs through military collaborations and diplomacy.

Adhiraj Ahuja is a junior at University of California, Berkeley. He is majoring in political science with a specialization in international relations and a minor in human rights. His interests include international relations, South Asian politics, Russian politics, and diplomacy. Upon graduating, Adhiraj would like to pursue a career in South Asian regional studies or security cooperation. At NESA, Adhiraj hopes to further his knowledge on foreign relations and regional security.

Harold Barkeris a first-year master of international affairs candidate with an emphasis in intelligence as an instrument of statecraft and United States defense policy and military affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. In addition to his masters, he is also obtaining graduate certificates in geospatial intelligence and geographic information systems. His research interests include great power competition, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and unconventional warfare. Upon graduating, Harold would like to pursue all-source analysis with the Defense Intelligence Agency specializing in political and military analysis. At NESA, Harold hopes to further his knowledge on regional politics and military forces.

Anna Matilde Bassoli is a first-semester student at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. She is an international student from Italy and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan (Italy) and a Master of Letters in Strategic Studies from the University of St Andrews (Scotland). Anna is passionate about naval affairs, civil-military relations, and transatlantic security and hopes to develop a career in the think tank industry as a defense analyst. At NESA, she hopes to broaden her horizon on Near Eastern and South Asian security and military statecraft while expanding her work experience in the academic environment.

Juliette Reyes is a junior at George Mason University where she is pursuing dual degrees in Government & International Politics (B.A.) at the Schar School for Government and in Conflict Resolution & Analysis (B.S.) at the Carter School for Peace & Conflict Resolution. Her academic interests include terrorism and transnational crime, asymmetric warfare, great power conflict, security studies, and the MENA region. At NESA, Juliette looks forward to engaging with policymakers and practitioners about security challenges as well as learning about the field of international security.

Meeral Tashfeenis a junior at Columbia University studying history and political science. She is particularly interested in South Asia, specifically India-Pakistan relations and the growth of terrorism by non-state actors in the region. At NESA, Meeral hopes to expand her knowledge of US foreign policy in the region and how cooperation amongst partners has improved security strategy amongst NESA states.

Olivia Knode is a rising junior at Fairfield University and is double majoring in Politics and International Studies with a focus in Islamic World Studies. Her interests include foreign relations and policies, diplomacy, and data analysis of both domestic and foreign affairs. She has a particular interest in Iranian politics and culture. Upon graduating she hopes to pursue a career in either diplomacy or data and policy analysis. While working for NESA, she looks forward to gaining a greater understanding of US involvement in the region and strengthening professional skills, ties, and knowledge.

Reflections from Past Interns

“I worked on intriguing research projects and assisted thought-provoking and engaging seminars on a wide variety of NESA region topics. Considering the genuine conversations I had with NESA faculty, staff, and outside experts, the entire experience was pivotal in deciding the next steps in my academic and professional career and helped me develop the necessary skills and knowledge to take them.”

-Lien Knaepen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Spring 2022 Intern

“The unique and stimulating environment at NESA has become the foundation of my academic and career trajectory. NESA gave me invaluable experiences deepening my knowledge of the Middle East and Asia, as well as opening my eyes to the importance of sub-regional distinctions in international security. My enduring and vibrant relationships with the NESA Senior Leadership, Faculty and Staff continue to shape my global perspective and benefit me professionally.”

-Patrick Centeno, Ramapo College, Summer 2021 Intern

“I had the unique opportunity to assist NESA’s expert faculty research on topics that most interest me and engage with practitioners and government officials directly  from the NESA region. Although my internship was virtual, it was highly dynamic and interactive. I gained skills and connections that have already been crucial for beginning my career in foreign policy.”

-Ishmael Maxwell, Carleton College, Summer 2020 Intern

“Through NESA, I was able to develop professional skills alongside experts from across the globe. The flexibility NESA offers in developing my own research with guidance from Faculty allowed me to develop skills crucial for my career path. NESA is filled with opportunities that prepare students for the workforce.”

-Arwa Mokdad, University of Washington, Fall 2019 Intern

“NESA did not only give me the opportunity to see, listen and learn from experts in their fields, it also gave me the opportunity to interact with military officials from the NESA region. NESA also helped me to pursue my future goals and even put me in contact with people in the field from my home country, Belgium.”

-Kirsten Devlieger, Free University of Brussels, Fall 2018 Intern

“The NESA Center offered opportunities to which I’d never imagined I’d have access as a student. Not only was I able to take notes and learn from participant programs, but I engaged with participants and even observe high level policy meetings. Very few internships could have offered me the same opportunities as the NESA Center.”

-Chris Atmajian, California State University Northridge, Spring 2018 Intern

“What was different than other internships was being able to develop our own research interests and getting to interact with participants from the region. That was an incredible experience. As someone who also interned on the Hill, the biggest difference was that NESA helped me professionally develop and expand my network in an area in which I’m interested in working.”

-Matt Mueller, James Madison University, Summer 2017 Intern


The NESA Center’s internship program is an opportunity for highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students to gain professional skills and subject matter development on foreign policy and national security issues associated with the Near East and South Asia region.

NESA interns are expected to employ competent research, writing, and communications skills in support of NESA faculty research and programs. NESA interns receive access to the National Defense University library and research resources to support research work. NESA interns participate in conferences, workshops, and other programs at the National Defense University featuring academics, subject matter experts, military officers, and diplomats. NESA interns also receive development opportunities throughout the Washington, D.C. area, accompanying faculty and participants on site visits to places like Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the State Department.

Interns are encouraged to pursue publication opportunities under the guidance of, or in partnership with, NESA Faculty.

The NESA Center internship is unpaid, and the NESA Center does not provide or assist interns in finding housing accommodations. If you are without housing accommodation, or your home institution or Washington DC area supporting institution does not provide housing accommodation, then interested applicants are encouraged to search listings online or reach out to a DC based intern hosting organization.

NESA does not sponsor travel or work visas for non-US Citizens. Hosting organizations such as The Washington Center, are able to facilitate this, and do so on a regular basis for NESA interns. We invite non-US applicants to apply through such organizations if they are not already in the United States.


Assist NESA Center faculty and staff with long- and short-term research projects related to the NESA region.
NESA programs support: note-taking, course material preparation and logistical support.


A demonstrated interest in International Affairs, Defense, Security Studies, and the NESA Region.
Detail oriented, highly organized, and able to work independently or in teams.
Strong written and verbal communication skills.
Foreign Language skills a plus: particularly Arabic, French, Russian, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto, Dari.
Interested applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting university program (undergraduate or graduate).