CFGU Internship

The Center for Global Understanding (CFGU)

The Center for Global Understanding (CFGU) is a non-profit organization that bridges between different cultures and religions. Its focuses on cultivating the next generation of American leaders through their Washington D.C. Internship program for underrepresented minorities. The internships serve hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit.
HMEMSA-CFGU Internship Co-Sponsorship

HMEMSA partners with the center to co-sponsor a Moroccan student to be part of this initiative. The goal is to develop a cadre of next generation American Moroccans with expertise in policy and decision-making in Washington, D.C. to promote and support the interests of the American Moroccan community.

2011 Winner

  • Ms. Samia El Haj Ibrahim

Student’s Bio

As a master of public health graduate student at the University of Southern California, I have been introduced to various divisions within public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health communication. Perhaps the most interesting subset of public health has been that of U.S. health policy. Upon completing my degree, I have become engrossed in this division and the critical role it plays in combating the many health issues our country faces. Moreover, I have become increasingly interested in the ways in which health policy can positively affect the most vulnerable populations, including the underserved, destitute, and mentally disabled.

I have been afforded the opportunity to put the latter interest into practice as a research associate within the Keck School of Medicine. I am presently conducting a needs assessment of a community in Los Angeles consisting of underserved, uninsured, and homeless individuals. The assessment is intended to demonstrate the much needed policy level reform necessary to better serve the overall healthcare needs of this population. This position has given me the opportunity to engage with different communities of various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Consequently, I more readily understand the varied health issues affecting those communities.

On a professional level, I have been working as a behavioral therapist with children diagnosed with autism for the past three years. With one in every one hundred children being diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), it is becoming increasingly apparent that this trend must be investigated further. I aspire to continue working in this arena with the intention of developing policy level support to families of diagnosed children.

To date, my education, professional experience, and community involvement have shaped my personal perspective and have guided me to further develop my passion for enhancing the livelihoods of unrepresented and underserved individuals. As a Muslim American, I am fully prepared to seize this internship opportunity with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), contending that the skills I will acquire will compliment those skills I have thus far developed.

Thank-You Letter from Samia


I am writing to express my sincerest gratitude for your generous donation. Your contribution significantly assisted in facilitating my trip to Washington D.C. this summer. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have participated as a post-graduate professional development (PPDP) student through The Washington Center, a participant in the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU), and as a government relations intern at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

As a PPDP student, I participated in a number of workshops targeted at integral learning practices, career development, and personal and organizational productivity. I also attended a series of lectures featuring a former senator, a former speaker of the house, and various leaders in the field of international development. The latter was perhaps the most interesting, as it reignited my passion to pursue opportunities in global development.

As a Center for Global Understanding scholarship recipient, I was afforded the opportunity to visit a variety of organizations and meet with prominent Muslim American leaders. As a group, we attended meetings at the Egyptian Embassy, Department of State, Department of Justice, The World Bank, USAID and many others. The leaders that met with us at these organizations were inspirational, encouraging and motivated our group to pursue our dreams and passions with vigor. I truly appreciated the time we spent with them, as their insight and advice was invaluable.

My internship experience was also extremely beneficial. I was encouraged to explore both my professional and personal interests within the field of health policy. The flexibility afforded to me allowed me to attend a variety of meetings, briefings and hearings on and off Capitol Hill. I truly enjoyed my time at ACOG and developed new skills that I will undoubtedly utilize as a future public health professional.

Thank you again for your support. This summer experience has afforded me opportunities that I would otherwise not have had as an intern in my hometown. Your generosity has inspired me to support future students in their endeavors to participate in this rewarding experience.


Samia El Haj Ibrahim