Frequently Asked questions
What is The Washington-Ireland Program?
Program for Service and Leadership (WIP) brings university students
from both Catholic and Protestant communities from Northern Ireland
and the Republic of Ireland to the United States for the summer.
Inspired by its parent organization, Project Children, WIP helps
prepare the next generation of leaders on the isle of Ireland. By
exposing them to cultural difference, developing their individual and
team leadership skills and challenging them to grow professionally
through an intern experience, the program offers life-changing
experiences and fosters life-long relationships that cross the
sectarian divide. The six-month program of personal and professional
development begins and ends with practical service in Northern
Ireland and Ireland, and is built around an eight-week summer program
in Washington, DC.
What are the goals of The Washington-Ireland
WIP selects promising
third-level students from Northern Ireland and Ireland, trains them
to work as an effective leadership team, builds a trust between them
that transcends sectarian boundaries, celebrates the group's identity
in diversity, and challenges them to achieve professional and
personal excellence, all to better equip participants to meet the
future challenges of peace and progress on the island of Ireland.
Who can participate?
To be eligible,
candidates must be:
university or third-level student in Ireland or the UK;
Between the ages of
In good health;
In good standing
with their university and passing their subjects at better than a
demonstrate 'leadership through service' before and after the
participate in a diverse leadership team.
What’s the commitment?
Each candidate commits
to a six-month program of personal and professional development,
including a total of 30 hours of practical, hands-on leadership
training in their own communities before their eight-week
summer placement in Washington, DC. and 40 hours after the summer in a Group
Service Project. Upon graduation, participants promise an additional 50 hours devoted to helping launch and run the
following year’s program (marketing, recruiting, selecting and
mentoring the next WIP class).
What can program participants expect once
they get to Washington, DC?
The Washington summer
offers participants a first-hand experience of U.S. government and
politics and an immersion in Washington culture. Through an intense
eight-week schedule, young people from different sides of the
political divide are challenged to work and learn as a team and to
create an environment of mutual respect.
An internship in a
high-profile Washington, DC office. Past internship placements
through WIP have included both federal and local government,
business, non-profit organizations, labor unions, professional
services firms and media organizations (e.g., The White House,
Congressional offices, The Northern Ireland Bureau, The World Bank,
Habitat for Humanity, AFL-CIO, CNN and CBS).
Enrollment in a
comprehensive leadership program that exposes participants to a
guest faculty of government, business and leadership experts. The
course challenges them to use Internet and Web technology as
learning tools and engages them in their own research on American
models of post-conflict leadership. Each participant is enrolled as
a Library of Congress researcher with access to primary documents.
“typical” life in America by living with Washington area
throughout historic Washington, DC and the surrounding region, as
well as opportunities for weekend trips including a visit to New
A chance to build
relationships free from sectarian barriers and to grow into mutual
respect based on personal understanding.
An opportunity to
educate friends and family about their experience through online
How many students participated last year?
twenty seven students from Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland spent eight weeks in Washington as interns,
developing their professional and leadership skills as well as interacting with
Washington’s movers and shakers. 300 students have graduated from the program
since its inception in 1995.
How can I apply for the Washington-Ireland
Program applicants have
represented more than 30 different Universities in Northern Ireland,
Ireland, England and Scotland. To apply, students must complete a
written application, available for downloaded from
www.wiprogram.org during the application
Personal interviews will be held with each finalist in Dublin,
Belfast or Scotland. Successful applicants will then be required to
sign a contract with the Washington-Ireland Program indicating that
they will abide by the rules of the program by:
required program activities from April to September.
Not engaging in any
dishonest or dishonorable conduct.
practical requirements of the program to the best of your ability.
While in Washington, the
drinking or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
No behavior that
would bring the program into disrepute.
Fitting in with the
Host Family and treating them with respect.
What is the role of the Host Family?
Host Families are
Washington-area residents who open up their homes to students for the
summer. This allows participants a chance to see what day-to-day
life is like in an American home and to build lasting relationships.
Many volunteer households sign-up year after year and look forward to
the cultural exchange. Students typically arrive in mid-June and
leave for home in mid-August.
How can I get involved?
The program welcomes
funding for projects in Washington and abroad; employers to provide
unique six-week internship opportunities for WIP participants; and
Host Families to provide a home base for each student.
Program projects, funding, and
host families: Contact
Paul Costello at email@example.com.
Office placements: Contact the WIP
office in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
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