SIA student will intern to help bring change to Peru

SIA Student Alfredo Malaret Credit: Mary Szmolko

School of International Affairs student Alfredo Malaret wants to tackle the problem of severe economic disparity in Venezuela. Growing up in the capital city of Caracas, Malaret experienced this issue that has plagued the country for years, and vowed to make a difference. Getting an internship with Foro Nacional-Internacional in Lima, Peru, is another step closer in his journey to make an impact in Venezuela.

This summer, Malaret will spend three months in Lima, working for the Peruvian think tank. He will help further the goals to strengthen democratic governance in Peru, implement institutional reforms, and support the design of policies and development strategies. He says, like Venezuela, Peru also has great economic disparity.

“In Venezuela, we call it the ‘cancer’ of our society,” said Malaret. “Peru is the same, without a middle class, and I want to learn how to change this, and bring this change back to my country.”

Malaret, a first-year SIA student with a Development Policy study track, is passionate in this cause, as well as in the method of implementation. He applied to Foro after following several news stories and online articles about the organization. What attracted him to to Foro were the types of strategies used to design and implement policy and reform. The organization works on the basis of a consensus between the company, the government, and the citizens of the nation.

“They develop a diagnosis, by really investigating to find the root of the problem hindering development,” Malaret said. “Then they engage citizens and experts to develop the most practical policies and modes of implementation. It’s not forced, but studied and put into effect at a grassroots level where all factions work together.”

This hands-on internship will fulfill Malaret’s SIA capstone requirement. Each SIA student chooses a capstone experience that is either a master's paper or a supervised internship placement, after their first year.

“SIA has taught me critical thinking skills and how to approach a problem differently,” he said. “This goes beyond traditional approaches and I want to implement this way of thinking at Foro and then eventually in Venezuela.”

Malaret said professors Dennis Jett and Richard Butler have been inspirational role models. He explained that Jett, a retired U.S. ambassador, and Butler a retired Australian ambassador, exude passion and dedication, both of which Malaret wants to emulate in his future endeavors.

“My ultimate goal is to help eradicate inequality and weak institutions; to first take Peru, a country of lost opportunities, and make it into the country of opportunities, and then take what I’ve learned to Venezuela” Malaret said. “This internship holds meaning for me, because I experienced firsthand the destructive effects of inequality, and we (Venezuela) can’t move into a developing cycle, until we tackle income inequality first.”