August 11, 2023

Summer Interns of 2023

Every summer, the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) has the great pleasure of hosting interns. This year, we have had a chance to work with seven bright young people.

We have asked our interns to give a brief introduction of themselves. They have also commented on their research projects and shared what has been their experience so far.

Name: Samuel R. Goldenstein
Internship duration: 24.05.-04.07.2023
From: New York City, USA
University: The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina – Department of Intelligence and Security Studies (ISS)
Research focus: At the ICDS, I had the opportunity to conduct research on Western military systems in use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to conduct research on NATO-combined military exercises and develop assessments in support of the mission of the ICDS.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you? I am proud to have had the opportunity to intern at the International Centre for Defence and Security as the organisation has given me the unparalleled opportunity to work on matters of international relations and assess military operations while in an overseas environment.


Name: Lara Maria Guedes Gonçalves Costa
Internship duration: 02.05.-31.07.2023
From: Fortaleza, Brazil
University: University of Glasgow, Dublin City University, Charles University – Erasmus Mundus International Master in security, intelligence, and strategic studies (IMSISS)
Research focus: At the ICDS, I have conducted research on Russian private military companies and far-right extremist groups. Moreover, I provided support to the organisation of the Lennart Meri Conference 2023.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you? At the ICDS, I have been able to explore my research interests and discover new ones, which have helped me realise what I want to do in the future. In addition, I have developed connections with prominent professionals and learned from the outstanding researchers at the ICDS.


Name: Gvantsa Chachanidze
Internship duration: 19.06.-10.08.2023
From: Tbilisi, Georgia
University: University of Glasgow, Dublin City University, Charles University – International Master in security, intelligence, and strategic studies (IMSISS)
Research focus: At the ICDS I have been conducting research on Chinese influence in Georgia, focusing on China’s Grand Strategy, Belt and Road Initiative, and the national security threats coming from Chinese state-owned enterprises. Furthermore, I have been writing a paper on Russian migrants in Georgia that discusses social, economic, and security issues following waves of mass migration since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with brilliant professionals at the ICDS. My supervisor, Frank Jüris, has taught me how to apply various research methods in practice. He has helped me develop new skills and efficiently use the ones I already have.


Name: Catarina Buchatskiy
Internship duration: 18.06.-20.08.2023
From: Kyiv, Ukraine
University: Stanford University
Research focus: At the ICDS, I’m working on a brief on Russian use of history and culture in psychological operations in Ukraine, as well as lessons from the Ukrainian battlefield in air power and emerging air force technologies.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you? The ICDS has given me a chance to explore topics that I’ve always wanted to research, and the independence I have over my projects allows me to dive deep into my curiosities and learn about things that excite me. I’ve also loved the opportunity to get to know Tallinn and Estonia!


Name: Kristin Fadekemi Adeoti
Internship duration: 1.06.-29.08.2023
From: Nigeria
University: Tallinn University (MA. International Relations)
Research focus: I have been working directly with  Ivan U. K. Klyszcz, conducting research activities on Russian foreign policy in Nigeria and the South (including its mining projects in these countries), as well as Estonia-Africa relations and Estonia’s foreign policy towards Africa.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you? Both research topics (Russia’s foreign policy towards Nigeria and South Africa as well as Estonia’s relations with Africa) have broadened my understanding of the complexities of international diplomacy, while also enhancing my understanding of international relations and global politics.

Collaborating with Ivan has helped me improve my research skills, including data gathering, analysis, and the ability to critically evaluate information from various sources. It has also sharpened my analytical thinking, as I am required to think critically, draw connections, and identify patterns in complex geopolitical situations.

I have gained some practical experience by writing a policy brief and developed useful connections within the ICDS, while also learning from a brilliant mind.


Name: Arthur Leveque
Internship duration: 03.05.-31.08.2023
From: Brittany, France
University: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
Research focus: First, I assisted the team at the 2023 Lennart Meri Conference. While I was helping Dr Kristi Raik with her projects, I tackled the EU’s internal debate on enlargement (especially to Ukraine) and Ukraine’s readiness and perspectives of accession. With regards to NATO enlargement, I particularly focused on the French position. I also undertook research on Ukraine’s foreign policy and strategic outlook, looking at Ukrainian academic writing. Finally, I worked on EU Eastern Neighbourhood countries’ evolving foreign trade, as well as Russian and Chinese leverage in the region.
What has the internship at the ICDS given you? Outside of Ukraine, there is probably no such place as Estonia and the ICDS to understand both Ukraine and Russian oppression. Coming here further enhanced my knowledge about those countries and allowed me to deepen my understanding of the aforementioned topics. The opportunity to discuss these topics with colleagues has truly been an honour, and I am grateful for their accessibility. The ICDS’ dedication to constantly teaching new things is remarkable. Overall, Estonia and the ICDS have been a life-changing experience if one is eager to deeply understand the value of freedom, especially in these times of war.


Name: Francesca Verville
Internship duration: 03.07.-29.09.2023
 Colorado Springs, CO, USA
University: Stanford University (MA – international policy), United States Air Force Academy (BS – political science)
Research focus: I have devoted my time at the ICDS so far to researching the air domain for Ukraine, NATO, and the Baltics in particular. More specifically, I have focused on understanding and analysing the regional/national air assets and defence structures. I am also supporting the upcoming Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) in September.
What has the internship at ICDS given you? The ICDS has been an incredible resource for inspiration, connections, and mentorship. It has been (and will continue to be) a privilege to access and work with the ICDS professionals at the forefront of the Estonian/Baltic political and security landscape. My understanding of Estonia and its regional security environment has greatly improved due to my time with the ICDS, which I know will be an immense resource in my future career.

Commentaries by our interns:

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