August 6, 2010
Meredith Benton (MPA ’10) is a great believer in the power of democracy and was inspired to go to graduate school to become a specialist in international elections. This summer she is working with the Carter Center’s Democracy Program, which is responsible for election monitoring and democratic nation-building. Her fluency in French has led to assignments on projects in Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea. “I am elated to do this work every day” says Meredith, adding that among the greatest benefits of working with the Carter Center is being exposed to the depth and breadth of work being done to strengthen democracy around the world.
Another fulfilling aspect of her experience has been having the “great honor” to work for and talk with President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Meredith sat next to President Carter at a lunch in June and spoke with him about his military service and upcoming trip to celebrate his 64th wedding anniversary. In July, the Carters invited the Carter Center interns to their hometown of Plains, Georgia, where they visited the President’s boyhood farm, toured the town with Mrs. Carter and enjoyed a traditional Southern “meat and three” meal. The highlight of the tour, according to Meredith, was attending President Carter’s Sunday School Class at Maranatha Baptist Church: “He gave a great lesson on the seven deadly sins, managing to discuss US foreign policy issues in that context.”
Meredith attended Development Project Management Institute (DPMI), a three week intensive professional training program, which is a popular, voluntary part of the Master of Public Administration program at the Monterey Institute: “It was a great experience and I am so glad to have those tools for this internship.”