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amore rossouwStellenbosch University, Honours in Political Science

"At the Foundation I learnt that we all have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution of our country; I learnt that we cannot turn a blind eye and that we have to stand up for the rights of all South Africans. If it were not for individuals like Mr De Klerk and his Foundation, our constitution would be nothing but a piece of paper. To have been part of the F W de Klerk Foundation family was such an honour, and I will always remember my time there fondly."

Amore is now a conference producer for an international corporate events company and is responsible for arranging business-to-business focused conference and exhibition events.

Amore Rossouw: Article - International Day of Tolerance /
Article - Co-operative Government in the Western Cape /
Article - You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock

annaFree University of Brussels and Complutense University of Madrid. Postgraduate degrees in: European Political Studies, and Equal Opportunities Between Men and Women.

"As soon as I arrived at the FW de Klerk Foundation I was handed the Constitution of South Africa. One of the primary goals of the Foundation, amongst others, is to promote and support the values enshrined in the Constitution. One such value is the respect and promotion of language diversity. As I currently reside in Spain, where language diversity has also oftentimes posed a challenge, the matter appeared particularly relevant for research. Tackling the legal framework and measures set up since the adoption of the national constitutions (Spain in 1979 and South Africa in 1996) was essential to understanding the evolution of this issue in each country. My time at the Foundation and in South Africa, a culturally diverse and dynamic nation, enabled me to experience new realities first-hand. While adding to my understanding of the challenges on the ground, it served to raise further questions and provoke new thoughts. It was undoubtedly a unique and welcome opportunity."

Ana currently works for the European Commission at its Representation in Spain. She is responsible for the management of European Information Centres charged with communicating EU policies, both locally and regionally.

Ana's research focus was the promotion linguistic diversity, with a comparison between South Africa and Spain. 

anna keeganCouncil of Women World Leaders Gender & Public Policy Fellow
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Master of International Affairs 2013

"Throughout my ten weeks at the FW de Klerk Foundation, I learned a great deal about Constitutional rights in South Africa, the current political landscape, and the status of gender issues. I was particularly grateful for the opportunity to attend the Foundation’s national policy conference in July 2012, where I gained a better understanding of the implications of the initial ANC Second Transition policy proposals through presentations from leading academics and professionals. The Foundation also gave me the opportunity to attend meetings and seminars outside of the office, including events at the University of Cape Town and public hearings at Parliament. Above all, I greatly enjoyed learning from the Foundation staff about their work and experiences"

Anna has since completed her final year of graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York, New York. She graduated in May 2013 with a Master of International Affairs Degree and looks forward to pursuing a career in human rights and gender policy.

Anna Keegan: Article - You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock

 daniel mcLaughlinUniversity of Southern California, International Relations

"I became interested in South African politics after spending a semester studying at the University of Cape Town in 2011. I returned to Cape Town to intern at the FW de Klerk Foundation to continue to pursue this interest. While at the FW de Klerk Foundation I researched the erosion of independence in the National Prosecuting Authority and the wider effect that that has on the South African Constitution. Mr. Steward was incredibly helpful in assisting me with my research and provided a wealth of insightful knowledge on the Constitution and the NPA. Assisting Johan, Jacques, and Megan with the 2013 Human Rights Report Card gave me great insight into the current social and economical challenges in South Africa such as education, labour relations, and corruption. My time spent at the Foundation not only helped me to better understand the issues affecting South Africa, but also helped to further stoke my interest in researching corruption and the rule of law in South Africa. I look forward to taking what I learned in my time at the Foundation with me as I move forward in my career."

Daniel is currently working for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

Daniel McLaughlin: Research Paper - The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa 1996 – 2013

interns-esther-sampsonUniversity of Mary Washington, Bachelors of Arts International Affairs

"After spending a year studying at the University of Cape Town in 2012 my interest in South African politics started. The FW de Klerk Foundation has provided an excellent environment for me to continue to pursue my interest, particularly my interest in human rights issues surrounding South African politics and the Constitution.  

While at the FW de Klerk Foundation I conducted research on children’s rights issues in South Africa relating to violence in schools. My research has provided me with a better understanding of the South African Constitutions as well as ongoing human rights issues in South Africa. I was also a part of a legacy project to promote former President FW de Klerk’s legacy through a visual timeline. The legacy project has allowed me to have a firmer grasp on FW de Klerk’s role in the dismantling of apartheid. Along with conducting research and creating a timeline the internship also provided me with unique opportunities to attend events the Foundation is a part of. These events allowed me to expand my knowledge of South African politics even further and opened my eyes to new possibilities for South Africa’s future.

I look forward to taking my experiences from the Foundation and applying them as I move forward with my studies and my future career. It has been a very fruitful experience and I am so grateful that I had the privilege to work with such a dedicated team." 

Esther hopes to commence with her Master's studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2015. 

Esther Sampson: Article - Universal Children's Day

 gerhard kotzeUniversity of the Free State (UFS) and the University of South Africa (UNISA), BA International Politics and History 

Gerhard is currently completing his BA Honours in International Politics at UNISA and doing a research paper on basic education in South Africa.

Gerhard Kotze: ArticleAfrikaans as an Official Language: The New Language of Reconcilliation?


interns-gianandrea-gaetaniDuke University in North Carolina, USA, University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Double major in Political Science and Asian and Middle Eastern studies.

"I chose to apply for an internship at the Foundation because I have always found South African politics to be quite unique. Being a '90s child I grew up reading about the end of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela to the presidency. South African politics are the reason why I have chosen to pursue a career in Politics. Moreover, I have always found FW de Klerk to be an incredibly inspiring political figure. During my time at the Foundation I had a chance to focus on Affirmative Action legislation and Economic Empowerment movements. Working there also gave me the opportunity to gain insights on the South African political world from a South African perspective and relate it to the way I think about politics in Europe, the United States, and China.

Gianandrea (who is fluent in Italian, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and English) was selected by the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service to move to Doha, Qatar in order to participate in a program focuses on Middle-Eastern politics and the study of the Arabic language.

Gianandrea Gaetani: Article - Affirmative Action: If or How?

interns jennifer leeCouncil of Women World Leaders Gender & Public Policy Fellow
Columbia University School of Social Work, Master of Science 2012 

"I learned a great deal during the internship - both professionally and personally. On a broader level, working with Mr. Steward and the Foundation gave me a better understanding of the importance of good governance, rule of law, and of the Constitution as a living document that gives citizens the rights and tools to create a just and equitable society. In addition, I walked away with a greater appreciation for the complexities of politics and public service. On a more intimate level, I was challenged to think even more critically about race and gender, to understand the multifaceted drivers (traditional, societal, cultural, political, etc.) of gender-based violence (and in particular, sexual violence against women) in South Africa, and to begin thinking and learning about solutions. I was also exposed to the controversial issue of corrective rape, which only just made headlines in The New Yorker this past May, a year after I had first learned about it in Cape Town. Personally, I was humbled by the hospitality, beauty, and consciousness of the South African people. I carried many of the lessons learned from my time with the Foundation and in South Africa back with me to New York and continue to remember and reach for them daily."

Jenn has since completed her Master of Science degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work and began working for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She works with UNICEF colleagues to engage constituents in the U.S. on UNICEF's missions and programs. Her goal is to support the development of child protection and social welfare systems globally.

Jenn Lee: Research Paper - Finding Justice for Women


Bachelor in Sociology, Politics & Economics at Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany (2015-2018) 

With part of my family living in South Africa for many years, I was privileged to visit Cape Town and other parts of the country several times. Nevertheless, when on holiday you tend to neglect the duty of being aware of the socio-political surroundings of the country you visit. In my opinion, only longer sojourns can enlighten you about a country’s political system, its culture, its identity, and its problems. Therefore, I was always eager to come to South Africa by myself and to be part of an institution whose goal it is to find answers and give advice to the current major political questions of the country. 

The given opportunity to be a research assistant at the FW de Klerk Foundation was therefore perfect.  It not only taught me about one of the most progressive constitutions of our time, but it also showed me how important the role of independent actors within social-political systems can be and how essential their work towards a well-functioning democracy is. 

interns matthew crosbyBachelor of Arts: International Relations and Development (double honours), University of Sussex, United Kingdom (2013 - 2016)

"I live and was raised in the Island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency off the coast of France. I chose to apply for an internship at the FW de Klerk Foundation because, as a South African National with a strong family heritage within the country, I have always been fascinated with the history and legacy of its incredibly culturally diverse people. Having grown up as the same age as South Africa's own young and dynamic democracy, the passion and devotion its people have for its nation and its Constitution have always inspired me. I particularly identified with the nature of the Foundation's and Centre for Constitutional Rights' work in protecting the sanctity of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law, which closely relates to my studies at University." 

Matthew is currently completing a dual-honours degree of International Relations and Development at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. His studies are largely centred on the theory and history of modern international relations, as well as the complex interactions of the historical, economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of development.

interns matthias baeumlHarvard Kennedy School, MPA in International Development (MPA/ID)

"I experienced a steep learning curve during my internship at the Foundation. My internship with the Foundation was not only my first experience in a developing country, I also learned a lot from Dave Steward and during my field research about the (non-technical) political dimension of development challenges."

Since leaving the foundation, Matthias returned to the Harvard Kennedy School to finish his Master of Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID).

Matthias Baeuml: Research Paper - The Youth Unemployment Puzzle in South Africa

DayaanDayaan is in the final year of study towards his first undergraduate degree as a Bachelor of Social Science in Economics and International Relations at the University of Cape Town.

He served as Treasurer on the executive board of Amnesty International UCT from Feb 2014 to May 2015. He was a speaker at the TEDxYouth@CapeTown, AIPC Cape Town, and Sustain Our Africa (2013) conferences.

“As an aspiring professional in the field of policy making and public affairs, I am excited to be working in a sector essential to a well-functioning democracy. Democracy works best when good governance and constitutional accordance is upheld through the work of independent institutions such as the Foundation. I hope my time here will allow me to positively contribute to this process, as well as provide me with experience to enrich my research and writing skills.”  


sibaniGraduate Fellow for Council of Women World Leaders
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Master of International Affairs (MIA), Degree Candidate, 2016

"As an aspiring professional in International Public Affairs, I am passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of millions of people hindered by the lack of policies that protect their basic human rights.

South Africa’s Constitution, renowned for its revolutionary approach to human rights, now stands as an icon of a remarkable negotiated transition - one that turned a country shattered by apartheid into one that celebrates democracy and freedom irrespective of race, colour, belief or sex. I chose the FW de Klerk Foundation because it has relentlessly promoted and safeguarded constitutional rights by upholding accountability, transparency and response to the citizenry.

As a native Nepali who grew up in the US and experienced the dichotomy between one of the world’s poorest developing nations and the most powerful economy - this cross‐cultural viewpoint will give me a unique opportunity to gain insights on the intricacies of South African politics. And, may I say what an exciting time to be here in South Africa!"

intern sonya kukiCouncil of Women World Leaders Gender & Public Policy Fellow
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Master of International Affairs (MIA), Degree Candidate, 2014

"The Foundation provided an opportunity for me to closely examine the point at which one of the world’s most progressive constitutions intersects with a young, vibrant democracy with a complex history, and consequently the degree to which its impact and legacy can be measured on the people of South Africa. The lessons to be learned here are valuable across all disciplines of statecraft and particularly so, for an aspiring international affairs professional like myself. No amount of words can adequately express just how much my time at the Foundation and in South Africa has taught me. Democracy, whether in infancy (such as South Africa) or with time (such as the U.S.) is in a state of constant evolution - actively molded by the forces that find its strength in the people who seek to benefit from it. Thus, it is something that can never be left unto its own but something that must be nurtured and shaped and requires the constant participation and passion of the people - however difficult, however frustrating. That is where the mission and work of organizations such as the FW de Klerk Foundation come in. It is these key civil society organizations, in addition to NPOs and NGOs, that serve the role of a necessary force for advocacy to adhere as closely as possible to the cherished Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, while taking into account the shifting dynamics of a society whose history and legacy as a whole is as unique as its parts and thus will require a democracy entirely of its own kind."

Sonya is currently completing her final year of her Master’s program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York, while working as a Departmental Research Assistant for the International Security Policy concentration department for the School of International and Public Affairs at the University, and also for the Center on Japanese Economy and Business. 

Sonya Kuki: Article - This Women's Day… Let's Talk about Men /
Research Paper - Gender-based Violence in South Africa

interns tobias strohmEberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany, ‬English and History

"During my internship at the FW de Klerk Foundation I not only met a friendly, cooperative and committed staff, but I also gained insight into one aspect of the South African society that I am especially interested in due to my profession as a teacher in Germany - the South African educational system. With the help of my colleagues and external sources from the UCT I managed to compile a report and tried to focus on two areas of an inexhaustible topic: the role of the history of apartheid in the classroom and the training of future teachers in South Africa. As an intern at the FW de Klerk Foundation I had an in-depth look into a fascinating country."

Tobias is now working as a History and English teacher in a public school back home in Germany.

Tobias Strohm: Research Paper - Towards a Brighter Future

Vincent opt

Bachelor of Arts: Political Science and History, University of Miami, United States (2014-2018)

“My interest in the South African political landscape first emerged after reading newspapers during my semester studying at the University of Cape Town. Eager to immerse myself further, I began looking for a research-oriented internship that would enable me to both learn more about the country’s political system, while also pursuing my interest in constitutional law. The FW de Klerk Foundation, with its mission to preserve the Constitution and maintain the Rule of Law, was a natural fit. 

While interning, my research has centred around the ongoing debate over land reform and the possibility of expropriation without compensation. The experience has undoubtedly improved my research abilities and has left me with a much greater awareness of the challenges facing South Africa and other young democracies. I hope to use this knowledge to make a positive contribution to the Foundation’s efforts to promote effective governance.”  

Vincent is currently completing his final year of his undergraduate studies at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. 

Past Interns

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