Advocacy Intern Kamila Skupień, a 23-year-old teacher from Kraków, Poland, explains how she came to be on a one-year placement with USPG…
In September 2017 I started a fascinating adventure. From my home in Poland, I came to London to spend a year as an Advocacy Intern with USPG and ECCR (Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility).
My placement was arranged by the German-based charity ARSP (Action Reconciliation Service for Peace), which arranges peace advocacy engagements for young people. A key aim of ARSP is to promote historical education and seek reconciliation in light of the complex legacy of the Second World War. I applied to ARSP because it resonates with my personal beliefs, and I was delighted when I was approved for an internship project.
Here in Britain and Ireland, some of my work will be for ECCR and some for USPG, but I also hope to facilitate joint advocacy between USPG and ECCR in areas such as corporate social responsibility, the mining industries and the environmental.
My role is based within USPG’s Global Relations Team because it involves networking with USPG’s partner churches around the world to support effective advocacy; not by speaking on behalf of these churches, but by presenting their voices and giving an opportunity for local communities to speak out and be heard. I will also participate and organise events run by USPG, including its annual Rethinking Mission Conference and its presence at Greenbelt Festival.
So far during my internship I have participated in conferences organised by UKSIF (UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association) and Coller Capital on the financial impact of intensive meat production and on the financial rights of indigenous people. Alongside my work with USPG and ECCR, I will also be dedicating some of my time to AJR (Association of Jewish Refugees), which provides social and welfare services to Jewish victims of Nazi oppression. In particular, I will be matched with an elderly person who is a survivor of the Second World War and make regular visits.
This year will be a great challenge for me. This internship offers a number of opportunities and, rather than keeping this to myself, I look forward to sharing what I am learning with others. I hope my work will bring positive change and that I will be able to contribute to intercultural and interfaith dialogue.
There are a lot of Polish people in the UK and I will be one more Polish link. I will be working with many colleagues with various cultural backgrounds and experiences. Despite professing similar core and faith-based values, the people I will be working with through my ARSP internship are religiously diverse and realise their beliefs differently: I will be a Roman Catholic Church member among Jews, Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists and Sikhs. Therefore every day there will be opportunities to initiate interreligious and ecumenical dialogue.
As I am a vibrant personality, I am glad to have a chance to work with such delightful organisations and participate in thoughtful projects that have a special importance and value for me. I have had many inspiring experiences already, but I am sure that the best is yet to come!
Information on those amazing organisations can be found at: