U.S. - New Zealand Council Creates Internship Program on Capitol Hill

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Announcement Made on One-Year Anniversary of Christchurch Earthquake; First Students to Participate Will Be From Canterbury University in Christchurch

"The United States and New Zealand can learn a great deal from each other,"
William Maroni, President of the United States - New Zealand Council.

To foster greater understanding of the American legislative system, the United States - New Zealand Council today announced the launch of a new internship program for New Zealand university students. The Council will provide financial support to two New Zealand students to work in congressional offices for 6 - 8 weeks each year.

The internship program was announced at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC on February 22, the one-year anniversary of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. In making the announcement, the Council said the first two interns would be selected from the law faculty at Canterbury University in Christchurch, as a "tangible commitment to that city's future."

A number of Council members were in Christchurch during the Feb 22 2011 earthquake and Canterbury University was selected to inaugurate the new internship program because the Council has been involved in collecting charitable donations for the rebuilding of Christchurch. To date, the Council's "American Friends of Christchurch" project has been the vehicle for more than US$5 million in donations and US$2.7 million in pledges to Christchurch.

"The United States and New Zealand can learn a great deal from each other," said William Maroni, President of the United States - New Zealand Council. "By offering outstanding students from New Zealand the opportunity to experience first-hand the American legislative process, we can promote greater understanding in both nations."

The Council will work directly with Canterbury University to identify a group of candidates for the internships. Members of Congress who sponsor the students will make the final selection. Both co-chairs of the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), who had been in Christchurch on the morning of the Feb 22 2011 earthquake, have pledged their support.

"This is an exciting program for both countries," said New Zealand Ambassador Rt Hon Mike Moore, "because many of these young people will go on to work in both the private and public sector, perhaps even serving in the New Zealand Parliament. This is the kind of learning experience that not only changes lives, but strengthens friendship between nations. I'm very pleased the first students will be from Canterbury University."

The Council expects the new internship program to grow in subsequent years, involving students from other New Zealand universities, and will seek to launch a reciprocal initiative for American students interested in spending time working for a Member of Parliament in Wellington.

About the United States-New Zealand Council:

The United States-New Zealand Council is the principal U.S. private-sector organization dedicated to promoting the commercial, public policy, and cultural relationship between the United States and New Zealand. Established in 1986, the Council works to strengthen US-NZ relations; provide thought leadership on Asia-Pacific regional topics; and advocate for its members' interests. The Council is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue code, Section 501(c) 3.

About the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus:

The Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus was established in the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2005. More than 50 House Members have joined the Caucus, which is co-chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA).

About Canterbury University, Christchurch, and NZ:

The University of Canterbury is New Zealand's second-oldest university. Its main campus in a suburb of Christchurch was damaged during the February 22, 2011 earthquake. The University offers degrees across five colleges - Arts, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering and Science, and the School of Law.

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