Gearing toward the End by Atrey Bhargava (A’21)

by tuftsigl
Aug 17

After a month and a half of my internship at CANVAS, the city of Belgrade seems more like home than just a vantage point to study and hone my skills in the areas of human rights and activism. July is the month of tourists, and this has provided a much-needed jolt to the dragging economy. My internship, too, has benefited from this simmering surge of projects, people and cultures.

Apropos of our work, we have dealt with a variety of issues, including: strategic advising for organizers of the MarchOn campaign to fulfill their objective of getting people ‘to vote’ in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States and working with activists on the growing trends of illiberalism in the countries of Hungary, Poland and Slovenia on the “Danube Project”, as well as a mix of other country analyses to help prepare for a conference in Washington, D.C. in August.

I am moving towards the end of my country analysis on India as well, and I cannot help but think how beneficial researching and writing this report has been. It is this very act of penning my thoughts that has made things more clear in terms of understanding the problems in my country. And I will continue to learn more as I further my work on this project.

Though many of the interns have changed since I last wrote, the quality of my peers remains consistent. I have continued to learn from their experiences, ideas and ways of approaching complex problems. In one of our team efforts, we were successfully able to compile data of LGBTQ+ movements across the world. I would daresay we have found a concise and comprehensive document which presents regional discrepancies with regard to movements about sexual identity.

The carte blanche accorded to me has given me a tremendous ability to read, explore and discover the city and this country. Though my quest to learn Cyrillic has completely failed, I have managed to grapple with a few Serbian words and make my way in and around Belgrade. Serbia’s performance in the World Cup coupled with Novak Djokovic winning Wimbledon has definitely left a jubilant atmosphere in the country, and all Serbians are not afraid to talk of these events in a lyrical way. In fact, many do not hesitate to even trace the Serbian roots of Croatian players in the World Cup final!

On this note, I hope that the last two weeks of my internship are even better, interesting and eventful than the last month and a half. I cannot thank the IGL and all its supporters for providing me this wonderful experience and I will continuously strive to make my stay productive.