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Canterbury students first to US Congress

Canterbury students first to US Congress

Announcement made on one-year anniversary of Christchurch earthquake: US - NZ Business Council establishes internship programme in US Congress - first students to participate will be from the School of Law, University of Canterbury.

To foster greater understanding of the American legislative system, the Washington based United States - New Zealand Council announced the launch of a new internship program on Capitol Hill for New Zealand university students.

The Council will provide financial support to two New Zealand students to work in congressional offices for 6-8 weeks each year.

The internship program was announced at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC on 22 February, the one-year anniversary of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.

The first interns to the programme will be selected exclusively from the University of Canterbury’s School of Law who will also provide financial assistance to the programme by covering each intern’s airfares.

A number of Council members were in Christchurch during the 22 February earthquake and Canterbury University was selected to inaugurate the new internship programme because the Council has 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 US$5 million in donations and US$2.7 million in pledges to Christchurch.

“Law students from Canterbury have played a pivotal role in the recovery of Christchurch with the likes of Sam Johnson and fellow law students establishing the Volunteer Student Army,” said Dr Chris Gallavin, Senior Lecturer at the UC School of Law.

“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 our relationship is one that will grow from strength to strength in many different forms”.

"The United States and New Zealand can learn a great deal from each other," said the President of the United States-New Zealand Council, William Maroni.

"By offering outstanding students from New Zealand the opportunity to experience first-hand the American legislative process, we can promote greater understanding in both nations."

Dr Gallavin agreed with the comments of the New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore when he said that "this is an exciting program 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 Canterbury University," said Mr Moore.

Applications will be sought from advanced law students at Canterbury University before being short listed by the School of Law. The final selection will be made by those Members of Congress who will sponsor the students. Both co-chairs of the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), who had been in Christchurch on the morning of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, have pledged their support.

The application process will be posted on the School of Law website ( in due course.

About the School of Law, Canterbury University, Christchurch, and NZ
The University of Canterbury School of Law, founded in 1873, is well established as one of the leading research and teaching Law Schools in New Zealand. With a long history of academic scholarship, the UC School of Law enjoys a well-deserved reputation for excellence in teaching, high quality writing and research as well as for producing outstanding graduates.

About the United States-New Zealand Council
The United States-New Zealand Council is the principal US private-sector organisation dedicated to promoting the commercial, public policy, and cultural relationship between the United States and New Zealand. Established in 1986, the Council works to strengthen US-NZ relations, provide thought leadership on Asia-Pacific regional topics, and advocate for its members' interests. The Council is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue code, Section 501(c) 3.

About the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus
The Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus was established in the US House of Representatives in February 2005. More than 50 House Members have joined the Caucus, which is co-chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA).


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