David Luna ’14, a 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow and currently a master’s candidate in international security at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, recently returned from an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
Following an 11-week Congressional internship on Capitol Hill last summer, his 10-week position in Beijing demonstrated to him the “the importance of the work, the access, and the audience” of the Embassy’s roles and responsibilities.
“There is a tremendous thirst back in Washington, D.C. and the wider policy community for what the U.S. Embassy in Beijing produces,” Luna says, referring to the Embassy’s political impact in China as well as globally. “It felt rewarding to see such an interest in what I was contributing to. Influential policy leaders came to the Embassy throughout my time there, and these leaders were given an opportunity to constantly influence the policy community.”
The highlight of the internship, Luna says, was serving as the supporting logistics officer for the schedule and event staffing for National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s visit.
Luna was one of only 20 students to be awarded the Rangel Fellowship, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University to support extraordinary individuals who want to pursue careers in the U.S. Foreign Service. As a Rangel Fellow, Luna receives approximately $90,000 in benefits over a two-year period to pursue his master’s in international security, as well as two guaranteed internships.
Launched in 2003, the Rangel Fellowship Program selects outstanding young people each year from around the country who exhibit the ideal qualities of a Foreign Service Officer. With the aim of enhancing the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service, the Rangel Fellowship supports those selected through graduate school and professional development activities that prepare them for their careers as Foreign Service Officers. Many fellows currently serve as diplomats around the world. When he graduates from the Korbel School in 2016, Luna will join the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.
In his graduate studies this fall, Luna feels optimistic about the relationship between the U.S. and China, though he notes that there is still work to be done toward enhancing the countries’ relationship and achieving “concrete deliverables.”
“The atmosphere of a China that has already arrived and is still rising was present and played itself out in day-to-day interactions,” says Luna.