Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 23, 2016

Aspiring Diplomat Works with Arab League

Kelleen Cullison

Deep in the heart of Egypt, past the Nile River and the Great Pyramids of the nation’s past, lies the center for the Arab World’s future: the League of Arab States. This is where Manchester stu-dent Mariam Ali Ibrahim, aspiring diplomat and political science major, spent her summer intern-ing under some of the most influential political figures in the Arab world. 

The Arab League consists of representatives from 22 states and serves many of the same purposes for those Arabian and African countries as the United Nations does for its members. The organization’s purpose is to strengthen bonds and coordinate policies among member coun-tries. Based in Cairo, Egypt, the League is the area’s international relations powerhouse. 

For almost two months, Ali Ibrahim worked 9 to 5 on various projects in many of the Ar-ab League’s departments. She worked in human resources, international relations, and was able to sit in on a diplomatic training session. “The session was presented by the UNHCR and was on the definition of refugees and stateless people and their rights.” Ali Ibrahim said. “I was sitting in a room full of diplomats, which was amazing.” 

Her work involved NATO, the EU, and even extended to academics, when the League put Ibrahim in charge of developing a new strategy for Model Arab League in universities. “They want the Model Arab League to become as widespread and popular as Model United Nations.” Ali Ibrahim said.  

The challenges Ibrahim faced during her internship were a reflection of the difficult ap-plication procedure. The fierce screening process filters over 1,000 applicants down to 115 lucky interns. Not only did candidates have to undertake an individual interview, but they were re-quired to take part in group interviews as well. “The group interviews were really important.” Ali Ibrahim said. “They wanted to see how well we worked with others.”  

For Ibrahim, the hard work paid off. “My favorite part of this internship is definitely the first time I got to meet Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary general,” Ali Ibrahim said. By the end of her time at the Arab League, she was offered another internship opportunity with the League’s ambassador to the EU, who is responsible for the arms-dealing file. 

Ali Ibrahim herself is certainly impressive; she’s fluent in two languages and is learning two others. She’s involved in several groups on campus, such as Student Senate, and keeps a job as a special assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs. To top it off, she also plays tennis, along with other recreational sports. “I like sports,” Ali Ibrahim said, “playing or watching.”

She comes to Manchester from Cairo, where she lives with her parents and her younger brother. Her mother currently works in human resources for Microsoft, and her father is the own-er of a medical supplies factory.  

Her grandfather was also a diplomat for Egypt; however, regardless of that, Ibrahim as-sures she would have been drawn to the diplomatic world. “I’ve always wanted to be a diplo-mat,” Ali Ibrahim said, “but the International Law class I took at Manchester helped assure me. It was amazing.”