Middle East Forum
Promoting American Interests

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Internships, Employment and Volunteering


The Middle East Forum (MEF), a research institute based in Philadelphia with an annual budget of $4 million, seeks a full-time, Washington, DC-based government relations and advocacy professional to lead its efforts to educate policy and opinion makers about the Forum's work.


MEF efforts include the following:

  • Change the U.S. government's definition of a "Palestine refugee" in its dealings with UNRWA –Limit the designation "Palestine refugee" to individuals who actually fled Palestine in 1948-49, who do not have a nationality, and who do not live in the West Bank or Gaza. For the logic of this effort and its implications, see Daniel Pipes, "'Eventually, All Humans Will Be Palestine Refugees'."
  • Ending taxpayer funded bias on college campuses – Inform Congress about the need to adjust the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) so that taxpayer monies spent on Middle East studies fund diverse and balanced perspectives.
  • Teaching Law Enforcement about Jihad – Inform Congress about (1) requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to include information about Islamism in its counter-jihad training for law enforcement and (2) forbidding DHS cooperation with Islamist groups.
  • Protecting free speech about Islam – Make Congress aware of ideas circulating to close down the right freely to discuss Islam in public. For example, Obama administration officials who have suggested that "offensive" speech about Islam be criminally prosecuted and the senior Democratic Party advisor who called for "limits of First Amendment and free speech" vis-à-vis Islam.


Policy and Advocacy (40%): Develop and implement MEF's policy advocacy plan, identify priority areas and points of intervention, craft position statements, and coordinate MEF campaigns.

Networking (30%): Build relationships with members of Congress and their staff, with government employees (including law enforcement officials), with research centers, and the general public. Represent MEF in coalitions and at events.

Communications (20%): Develop and implement a communications plan to broaden awareness of MEF's work; promote the MEF agenda through writings, media appearances, and in-person addresses; and engage in outreach on Capitol Hill. Handle inquiries about MEF.

Administration (10%): Keep MEF leadership informed of your work; provide information on your accomplishments for fundraising purposes.

Candidate qualifications

  • Basic agreement with MEF's outlook.
  • An understanding of policy, politics, advocacy, and the legislative process.
  • Deep familiarity with the issues and extensive experience with this kind of work as well as existing connections in Washington, D.C.
  • Ability to present arguments in writing and in person.
  • A readiness to take initiatives and to set tasks without daily supervision.


Washington, D.C.

Employment status

Independent contractor.


Non-profit competitive.

Next steps:

Prepare an application that includes:

  • A cover letter indicating your interests, qualifications, and goals.
  • A résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Names of three references.
  • Salary requirements.

When the application is completed:

  • Bundle the entire application as a single document, preferably in Adobe Acrobat (Word is also acceptable).
  • Title it with your name in reverse order, without spacing, as in "ChurchillWinston".
  • Attach the document to an e-mail and send it to Personnel@MEForum.org
  • Put "Application for Washington Project Director" in the e-mail subject line.

The application deadline is October 18, 2015 at 5 p.m. EDT.


The Middle East Forum offers a number of internship positions. Two types of internships are available:

  • On-location interns: In the offices of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia.
  • Distance interns: Away from the MEF offices, with most communications via telecommuting.

Tasks vary:

Research. Use your online skills to help writers produce rigorously researched articles for large popular audiences, suggest avenues for research, and ensure that writers have up-to-date and accurate information at hand as they compose essays. For example, Campus Watch, which critiques Middle East studies in North America, gives interns the opportunity to examine a range of developments and problems within the discipline. Islamist Watch, our program to combat the ideas of lawful Islamism throughout the West, allows interns to assist with document preparation and mailings, collaborate with leading experts in the field, and engage in research that exposes Islamist organizations. Other Forum projects that may require research assistance include the Legal Project and the Washington Project.

Editorial. Learn the ins-and-outs of publishing by working with the managing editor of the Middle East Quarterly in a variety of tasks, including fact-checking, research, proofreading, advertising, and subscription efforts.

Writing. Want to break into print? Forum staff is ready to help you pick a topic, write an article, and place it.

Web Publishing. Help maintain and expand this website (Meforum.org).

Fundraising. Learn how a non-profit raises general operating and project funds from individuals, foundations, and others.

These positions are available throughout the year.

Internships are unpaid. The Forum does reimburse for local transportation expenses and takes part in work-study programs, when applicable.

In some cases, students can receive school credit for their internships at the Forum.

Former MEF interns have gone on to own businesses with interests in the Middle East; join the professional staff of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee; serve as officers in the U.S. Army; write for Fox News and The Wall Street Journal; and work for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Students interested in an internship position should e-mail a cover letter and a copy of their resumes to Thelma Prosser, the office manager, at prosser@meforum.org. Any questions should also be directed to Ms. Prosser.

Volunteering for the Middle East Forum

The Middle East Forum invites professionals to serve as part- and full-time volunteers, thus complementing its student internship program.


Volunteers are sought to work on a variety of tasks:

  • Research.
  • Writing.
  • Proof reading.
  • Administration.
  • Fundraising.

Qualities sought:

  • An outlook consonant with that of the Forum (on which, see details).
  • Understanding of American interests in the Middle East and strategic cooperation with allies in the region.
  • Familiarity with the contemporary Middle East, the academic study of the region, and radical Islam.
  • Knowledge of a Middle Eastern language desirable but not required.
  • Skills at Internet-based research.


  • Volunteers who reside in the Philadelphia may work at the Middle East Forum offices.
  • Volunteers who live elsewhere are invited to use electronic communications and work from where they are. An Internet connection is required in this case.


  • Openings for full- and part-time unpaid volunteer positions available.
  • Reimbursements are paid for commuting expenses within the Philadelphia area.

To apply, send:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications for the position.
  • A resume.
  • The names of three references.


©1994-2015 The Middle East Forum   •   E-mail: info (at) meforum (dot) org   •   Tel: 1 (215) 546-5406Daniel J. Pipes