ADC: Arab American Professionals’ Gateway to DC
When my college advisor told me about the Washington Seminar, I was so excited just thinking about having an internship in Washington DC, where the political sausage is made. Little did I know, my college campus had few internships that I qualified for. It wasn’t likely that I would be offered an internship at one of the many conservative think tanks in the DC area. Besides, what a member of Congress would do with a Palestinian student is beyond me!
After conducting thorough research in the internships’ database, I applied to ADC and hoped for the best. The rules were complicated for non-citizens in order to deter a lot of international students from misusing internships, let alone one that is paid. However, weeks later, I got a call from Marvin, who offered me a paid internship at ADC’s national office. I was thrilled and so was my professor, who feared I may not get an internship at all.
I started working with ADC in January of that year and since that day, I have called DC my home. I have crossed paths with so many young Arab Americans who came to DC to do the same internship. Many of them would stay in the DC area even after the internship was over, working to advance Arab American causes, their interests in the States and beyond. I have met more student interns at ADC than I can count. They all come to DC to be in the capital and for many of them, ADC has served as a gateway to bigger and better things. This organization wants to be the stepping stone for young people of the community. That’s why they accept more than 15 interns a year and bring them to Washington, DC. Maintaining an internship is financially challenging for many students, which is why ADC offers a small stipend to help students cover some of their expenses.
This program is truly one that supports and fosters Arab American leaders. Also, Arab students who have studied in America and come across this program have not only benefited from it, but were given an opportunity to learn their way around a big city. Some stayed in the States and others went home to put their education to good use. ADC’s alumni work in a variety of different segments of societies, from holding government positions to working in business, media, and non-profit organizations.
Unlike many other Arab American organizations, ADC has never been exclusive. Their efforts have always been extended to each and every person in the community. It’s not a private club where few people get to be in the driver’s seat. ADC wants the community to be in the driver seat through its many chapters and diverse makeup that represents all shades of the Arab American community. ADC makes an effort to form personal attachments, the success of which is proven by many former interns who keep connecting with the office that gave them an opportunity to jumpstart their own careers. One particular act of kindness cemented my appreciation for the work of the organization. When ADC was unable to give me a stipend due to my student visa restriction, the president of the organization took me to the grocery store and bought me food with her own money to keep me from “shrinking” as, she called it. This is generosity that few organizations can boast about.
While ADC has seen its fair share of controversies over political matters such as taking a stand or remaining silent on certain issues, most of those disagreements concern foreign affairs. However, Arab Americans can rest assured that on domestic issues, ADC has always been at the forefront of defending the rights of individ