Lilian Alves '11

International Rivers - Berkley, CA
Major: International Relations

As the Amazon Program Intern, I had the opportunity to learn how foreign non-profit organizations can influence public policy in developing countries, and in a more personal level, my internship had a special meaning to me, since I was working directly with my home country and home region.
At International Rivers I was able to participate and support the campaign against the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, among other projects. Belo Monte has become a big national issue in Brazil and has caught international attention for its financial and environmental inviability, and for famous activists against the project, such as director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver.
During my 10-week experience, I learned different aspects of campaigning – such as structuring, strategizing and fundraising. Being part of that process made my experience even richer, and the friendliness and support of the International Rivers’ staff contributed a lot for me to feel part of the team. My projects focused mostly on general assistance to the campaign against Belo Monte, financial research and a fact sheet about Energy Alternatives in Brazil, in order to provide other options to the construction of hydroelectric dams. I was able to explore subjects that I haven’t studied before as well as put in practice some of the skills and knowledge that I have been cultivating at Mt. Holyoke.