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Contact Base, our partner organization based in Calcutta, India, hosts computer and English language training for its participants. Photo courtesy of Contact Base

Contact Base, our partner organization based in Calcutta, India, hosts computer and English language training for its participants. Photo courtesy of Contact Base

  • Connecting U.S. and Bengali Cultural Heritage Issues: A Virtual Internship

    This spring we are offering a virtual internship, Connecting U.S. and Bengali Cultural Heritage Issues, designed to provide a meaningful, minds-on learning experience in understanding cultural sustainability work in West Bengal, India, and sharing one’s own work on sustaining culture. Interns may work from anywhere in the United States, as long as they have computer and internet access.

    This virtual internship is an integral part of the Communities Connecting Heritage program, a new project from the U.S. State Department Education and Exchange Program, administered by the not-for-profit educational organization World Learning. We are one of six participating U.S.-based cultural organizations, and we have been paired with Contact Base, a cultural sustainability NGO based in Calcutta, India. A portion of the exchange is in-person for a small number of staff and students, already chosen, with a wider circle of participants included through this Virtual Internship program.  

    Participants will engage in an innovative exchange which 1) creates an opportunity to interact with the Smithsonian in meaningful ways that will increase skills, connect students to Smithsonian expertise, and allow them to contribute their own ideas and experience, and 2) places interns on the ground floor of a pioneering virtual program that introduces participants to each other’s cultures, explores methods of sustaining culture both in the United States and abroad, and creates meaningful dialogue.

    Selected interns will answer and debate weekly questions and issues posted on select online platforms. As feasible, everyone will participate in a monthly real-time conversation with partners in West Bengal. The internship will culminate in participation in a robust interactive webcast. Each intern will be asked to evaluate the experience through an exit survey and brief interview.

    The internship offers the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of students, artists, and community scholars studying folklore, cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, cultural sustainability, international relations, and other related subjects. Interns will exchange information across cultures, explore assumptions, break down stereotypes, and think critically about the culture of West Bengal and our own cultures here in the United States.

    The program begins on March 1, 2018, and applicants should commit eight to ten hour per week for five months. The internship is unpaid, but we may be able to offer course credit. Applications are due on January 17, 2018.

    To apply online, visit solaa.si.edu and create an account. After selecting Internship, specify the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the program name. You will be asked to upload supporting materials, including an essay, résumé, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.


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