Leadership Immersion Internships
Summer Immersion Internships
Each year, the Lauder Institute sponsors internships that promote leadership and intercultural development in organizations around the world. These internships empower students to discover new ways to apply their Lauder education to generate impact on the organizations and communities that they serve. By undertaking internships with organizations outside of their home countries and areas of former professional experience, students develop leadership skills, strengthen their language skills, and contribute to organizations or start-ups that would not otherwise be able to afford these interns. To date, Lauder students have applied their educational and professional expertise to tackle poverty alleviation, economic development, healthcare, and sustainability in over 20 countries around the world.
The Lauder alumni community has been instrumental in identifying and connecting students to organizational partners that offer leadership opportunities around the globe. They have included Caja Rural Los Andes in Peru as well as opportunities in Mali, Lebanon, Nepal, Colombia, Uganda, and Rwanda connected through a partnership with Echoing Green, and in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo through Technoserve just to name a few.
The visionary generosity of Tom Bendheim G’90 WG’90 and Rene Kern G’90 WG’90, inaugurated this program in 2017. The program has since expanded thanks to a growing number of committed donors and additional support from the Lauder Annual Fund. In a typical year, 10-12 student internships are supported. During the summer of 2020, the Institute supported nearly 40 internships for students who were navigating the uncertainty of hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Every year, the number of awards are dependent on philanthropy, and we welcome your support through the Lauder Annual Fund. In addition, these internships have financial support from these funds:
- Global Leadership Immersion Fund: with an emphasis on immersive experiences outside one’s country of origin, serving in a leadership capacity managing human and/or financial resources, for a minimum of 10 weeks.
- The Bergman Fund for the Levant: with a focus on activities that promote interfaith dialogue and coexistence in the historic Levant region, an area in the eastern Mediterranean that includes modern day Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.
- The Geldzweig Family Fund: with a preference for activity in developing countries, focused on minorities and/or marginalized populations within those countries, and activities related to improving education and/or environmental sustainability.
Iacopo Santini G’21, WG’21, a 2020 Summer recipient of the immersion internship funding, used his funding to develop his business Xoma, the first distilled pulque agave brand to enter the US marketplace:
“This summer I was able to embark on launching a Lauder startup through the midst of a international crisis. The key product of Xoma is introducing a new agave spirit category to the US market.
The product specifically has a social impact focus by empowering a cooperative of farmers in Mexico. The highlights of my summer internships were bootstrapping our way to receiving the legal requirements to import product into the US. This includes getting an import license, receiving label approval, and bringing together a team of passionate members to help drive the company forward.
The Lauder Leadership Immersion award truly provides a unique opportunity at Penn to try something new and risky in order to have an impact and directly learn from working, and experimenting, in a new field or project that would otherwise not be accessible. The ability to work on Xoma this summer and throughout the year has taught me a great deal about business. I am solving my own problems, applying theory learned in class, and growing as a manager.”