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Union University Department of Political Science
Department of Political Science

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Walls Finishes Internship with the Carter Center

May 5, 2009

Jon Mark Walls, a political science graduate in 2007, just completed an internship with the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. While at the Carter Center, Walls was assigned him to the Americas Program Access to Information Program where he examined freedom of information laws in Latin America.

During his time there, he was responsible for developing knowledge of Latin American politics. Through his reasearch, he found it to be complex, very personality driven, and past history playing an important role in shaping relations between Latin American states. Due to his work at the Carter Center, Walls was even made responsible for writing a briefing book on Brazil for former President Jimmy Carter before he traveled to the region.

One of his main tasks while at the center was coming up with a means of measuring freedom of information laws to show where nations where and how far they needed to go to promote more transparency in government. As part of his duties, he assisted organizing a conference in Peru to promote the Atlanta Declaration on Access to Information in Latin America bringing government, media, and civil society leaders from most nations in Latin America together.

Walls also got to spend time with the Carters. Besides attending functions of the Center, Walls did tai chi with former First Lady Roslyn Carter, had lunch with President Carter where they discussed bird dogs along with freedom of religion in China, was given a tour of Plains by Mrs. Carter, and attended church with the former First Family.

Walls claimed that it was a great experience and thought that the political science program helped him be successful. While he was initially unsure of himself since most of his other interns had Ivy League educations or graduate degrees, he quickly found that he can perform at the same level as his colleagues and then some. Consequently, the director of his program gave him more and more responsibility as time went on. Walls attributes part of his success to Union's ability to teach him to analyze situations, communicate his ideas, and think on his feet.

Before Jon Mark started the internship with the Carter Center, he spent one year in France teaching English as a Second Language and the fall of 2008 teaching English as a Second Language in Chile. After spending the summer and fall in the states, Walls will begin his Masters at the Geneva School of International Relations and Diplomacy as a Rotary Scholar beginning in December.