State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Spring 2020 Internship Opportunities at Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute, is accepting applications until January 15, 2020 for internship positions for the Spring 2020 semester. Interns are staffed to one or more specific research projects depending on the background and interests of the particular applicant. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.

CCSI is a leading applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice and discussion of sustainable international investment. Our mission is to develop and disseminate practical approaches and solutions to maximize the impact of international investment for sustainable development. The center’s work is organized around three major areas of research: Sustainable Investments in Extractive Industries, Sustainable Investments in Land and Agriculture, and Sustainable International Investment Law and Policy, with cross-cutting research related to climate change and human rights.

Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week for the Spring semester, but more hours are possible. Continuation into subsequent terms is possible, and in some cases, preferred.

To apply for a Spring 2020 internship, please send a cover letter, CV and writing sample to CCSI’s executive coordinator, Nancy Siporin (, unless otherwise specified, by January 15, 2020. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required). The cover letter should include a distinct list of which internships you are applying for. You may include as many as you’d like.

Spring 2020 internship opportunities are currently available for the following:

Paid internship: The Politics of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Latin America

CCSI is seeking a graduate student to assist with research and writing on the politics of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of extractives projects in Latin America. The project explores the politics of FPIC and community consultation—how the distribution of power across different actors, the (mis)alignments of their interests, and characteristics of political systems and broader structures affect whether and how FPIC processes unfold. Preference will be given to applicants who are native or fluent in Spanish and/or Portuguese, have strong research and writing skills, and prior experience working on relevant topics.

Paid internship: Investment Incentives That Support Responsible Investment in Agriculture

CCSI seeks a graduate student to conduct research and support the preparation of a UN technical guide on investment incentives. The guide will aim to support policy makers in designing and implementing incentives (including but not limited to tax incentives) that support responsible agricultural investment and contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers, including the Head of Land and Agriculture. Preference will be given to students with strong research skills. Familiarity with incentives, agricultural investments, and/or responsible investment guidance is a plus.

Paid internship: Legal Assistance for Designing an Effective Environmental Regulatory Framework for Mining in Guinea

CCSI is seeking a JD or LLM student to assist with legal research for a project consisting of designing an effective monitoring and enforcement system for Guinea. With reference to international good practice and the domestic context in Guinea, the intern will assist CCSI in studying whether the Guinean government can adapt its regulatory framework and practices for conducting improved, consultative, independent and decisive environmental impact assessments (EIA), environmental management plans, and environmental audits to minimize mining operations’ environmental harm. Fluency in French is required. Experience with EIA regulations is preferred.

Paid internship: Petroleum Contract Review

CCSI seeks a JD or LLM student to assist with legal research on petroleum contracts. Knowledge of petroleum contracts is preferred but not required. Preference will be given to students who are detail-oriented and diligent. There may be opportunities to work on additional research projects on extractive industry contracts.

Paid internship: The Political Economy of Extractive Industries

CCSI is seeking a graduate student or advanced undergraduate student to assist with research, writing and other support related to CCSI’s Executive Session on the Politics of Extractive Industries, a project devoted to grappling with and addressing the ways in which political realities shape the outcomes of work intended to foster good governance of extractives. The ideal intern would have a background in political science or development, and be self-motivated and an excellent writer.

Paid internship: Operations Assistant (work study)

CCSI is seeking an undergraduate or graduate work-study student to assist with a variety of substantive operational tasks. The work-study position primarily will entail helping with business and administrative tasks related to the operational functioning of the center, with an opportunity to specialize in one of several areas including business operations, editing, communications, events or workstream support, assisting one of the three CCSI workstreams in Extractive Industries, Land and Agriculture or Investment Law Policy. Preference will be given to responsible, detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate students. Those with long-term availability are preferred. To apply for this operations assistant position, please send a cover letter and resume to CCSI’s director of operations, Paulo Cunha (

Paid internship: Emerging Market Firms and the SDGs

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic and detail-oriented graduate student to assist with a variety of tasks relating to CCSI’s work on emerging market firms and sustainable development. Duties will include working with CCSI staff to manage and update the website; providing research support as needed; and supporting coordination for various events and meetings related to this project. The ideal candidate will: have academic or professional experience related to research on emerging market multinational enterprises; be highly organized and responsive; have strong time management and writing and communication skills; and have an interest in corporate conduct and sustainable development. Students currently undertaking degrees in business, finance, or public affairs are strongly encouraged to apply.

Paid internship: Advocating for Increased Financing for Community Support in the Context of Multi-stakeholder Initiatives

CCSI seeks a graduate student to assist with preparing a written submission to a multi-stakeholder initiative that is currently undergoing a review of its certification standards for member agribusinesses. This is a key moment to influence corporate behavior by advancing CCSI’s pioneering work on innovative solutions for financing the legal and technical support that investment-affected communities need to protect their human rights and meaningfully participate in decision-making. The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers and potentially take the lead in drafting written submissions to the multi-stakeholder initiative on the topic of financing. Preference will be given to students with strong analysis and drafting skills, and a familiarity with the field of business and human rights, and/or multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at promoting responsible business conduct. The majority of work will take place in January, February and March. Early applications for this internship are encouraged and will be assessed on a rolling basis.

For more information on internship opportunities and how to apply, please see the CCSI website.

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