John Farrugia

john-with-flagSince graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (International) at Monash University, I have commenced a Masters in International Relations also at Monash University. As part of this course, I have undertaken an internship with the American Chamber of Commerce based in Melbourne, Australia.

As an intern at the American Chamber of Commerce I was given many responsibilities and tasked with some challenging problems to solve. Over the 2 month period based at the International Chamber House, I was given an in-depth insight into how AmCham fits into the international political environment as well as the international business community. Interning with AmCham involved diverse and engaging work which sparked new interests. My responsibilities included; engaging with leaders of government, private sector, and non-governmental organisations. I was tasked with research of company profiles ultimately aiming at devising membership retention strategies. I developed charters used by committees and working groups belonging to the chamber, and was later invited to attend such committees, in order to engage and convey my ideas according to the agenda set. In addition to their advocacy work, AmCham are responsible for organising a number of events throughout the year, aiming at providing access to business opportunities for all members of the chamber. I was honoured to be invited to attend several of these events, whereby I assisted AmCham staff, and engaged with professionals from all different industries. These events gave me a true understanding of the position chambers of commerce hold within an international setting, thus inspiring my research paper which I have conducted as a result of my internship opportunity at AmCham. This paper examines non-traditional forms of diplomacy, focusing on non-state economic entities, such as AmCham, and their role within the international community. Further, it explores my experiences as a platform to discuss theories of international relations. I intend on giving an insight into how chambers of commerce influence policy domestically, regionally, and globally.

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There were many highlights throughout my time at AmCham. These included; being a part of a business briefing on the Trans Pacific Partnership, held by one of the main negotiators of the multilateral agreement set to be adopted later this year. In addition, I was invited to several events, one of which included the CEO of the AFL, Gillon McLachlan, which gave an insight into an organisation which makes a multi-billion dollar contribution each year to the Australian economy. However, the greatest highlight of my internship experience was being a part of a collaborative event, with entrepreneurial educational organisation, Dūcere. As a form of corporate responsibility, all proceeds went to the Dūcere Foundation, ultimately providing African children with further opportunities to learn and grow into tomorrow’s leaders. This event included a keynote address from Former Prime Minister, and current Chancellor of Dūcere, Julia Gillard. Her address revolved around themes of gender equality, access to education, and effective leadership both in the private and public sector.

Interning at AmCham was constantly challenging and thought provoking, each day I was assigned with new tasks, and given more responsibility. I voiced my opinions within national, and local meetings, and was assisted by all staff members when needed. As a result of undertaking this internship, my abilities to think laterally when problem solving were greatly enhanced. I was able to develop my interpersonal skills, and was provided an invaluable, practical, learning experience.

In addition, as an intern at AmCham I was given access to a wide network of professionals, which further enhanced my opportunities of finding employment upon graduation.

I highly recommend undertaking an internship through Monash University, especially as a postgraduate student. This experience gave me a practical understanding of the field I wish to soon enter, and for that, I am very appreciative to both Monash University, and the team at the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.