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University of Canterbury law students to intern in DC

University of Canterbury law students to intern on Capitol Hill, Washington DC
October 7, 2012
Two University of Canterbury law interns Seamus Woods and Rachael Harris will have a trip of a lifetime next month when they get the opportunity to become law interns on Capitol Hill Washington DC.
The internship programme is jointly funded by the University of Canterbury (UC) and the Washington based US-NZ Council and involves an amazing programme of events geared to expose the UC interns to the workings of the US political system and to benefit particular members and committees of the US Congress.  
The internship programme, to foster greater understanding of the American legislative system, was announced at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC on February 22, the one-year anniversary of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. 
A number of council members were in Christchurch during the Feb 22 2011 earthquake and the University of Canterbury was selected to inaugurate the new internship programme because the council had been involved in collecting charitable donations for the rebuilding of Christchurch. 
To date, the council's American Friends of Christchurch project has been the vehicle for more than $US5 million in donations and $US2.7 million in pledges to Christchurch.
President of the United States - New Zealand Council William Maroni said the US and New Zealand could learn from each other by offering outstanding students the opportunity to experience first-hand the American legislative process, they could promote greater understanding in both nations.
UC’s acting Dean and Head of Law Dr Chris Gallavin said law students from UC had played a pivotal role in the recovery of Christchurch with the likes of Sam Johnson and fellow law students establishing the student army.
`The UC School of Law has a strong international reputation for quality and our students are of the highest calibre. They are just the type of people Canterbury will need to assist in the rebuilding of our beautiful city,’ Dr Gallavin said.
`The bonds of the Christchurch and US relationship have been strengthened immeasurably by the generosity of our US friends and it is a bond that will grow from strength to strength in many different forms.
He agreed with the comments of New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore who said: `This is an exciting programme for both countries.
`Many of these young people will go on to work in both the private and public sector, perhaps even serving in the New Zealand Parliament.  This is the kind of learning experience that not only changes lives, but strengthens friendship between nations.  I'm very pleased the first students will be from the University of Canterbury.’
Dr Gallavin said that the experience for Woods and Harris would be a life changing one.
`To work in the US Congress immediately after a presidential election is simply life changing. I doubt that these students, undoubtedly amongst the top one percent of law students in the country will come back to New Zealand unchanged. The opportunity is so amazing I am actually jealous.’
The interns head to Washington DC the middle of next month and return in late January. They will present a paper on their experiences in late February 2013.


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