18 November 2019: My time as an intern at the NAMMCO Secretariat

My time as an intern at the NAMMCO Secretariat (from 15 September to 15 of December).

Fint out more about the NAMMCO Internship Programme here.

Bartal Kamban, Intern.

I am a European Ethnologist with a degree from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and a keen interest in cultural heritage in contemporary societies. With my Faroese background and insight into the Faroese pilot whaling I was fascinated and intrigued by the traditions, customs and controversies surrounding the practice. So much so that I wrote my Masters thesis about pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands exploring how mercury as a contaminant has emerged as a non-human-actor through whale meat, how economic growth has changed the way in which Faroe Islanders consume whale meat and finally, I argue that an international focus on the controversies surrounding the practice of Whaling has provoked a renewed interest in whaling among the younger generation. As part of my studies, I undertook an Erasmus internship in Iceland, where I also worked as an intern at the Faroese Representation in Reykjavík for six months. As the Representation is somewhat small, I participated in every part of the daily tasks and got an insight into intergovernmental politics and policymaking. This saw me develop an interest in the political side of culture. Therefore, when the possibility arose to apply for an internship at NAMMCO, I saw this as a great opportunity to combine my research interests and my practical experience from the Representation to further explore different facets of IGO work. Luckily, I was granted a three-month internship at the Secretariat in Tromsø with one month to go.

I started at NAMMCO in mid-September and was immediately handed different tasks, mostly related to the meetings of the three committees BYCELS, Committee of Hunting Methods (CHM) and Committee of Inspection and Observation (CIO) that would take place in Copenhagen shortly after I started. The work of CIO, CHM and BYCELS plays a significant role in NAMMCOs continuous focus on addressing and improving issues related to hunters’ safety, animal welfare, by-catch, entanglements and live strandings of marine mammals. Attending and getting an insight into the work of these committees and being involved in the preparation and follow up work afterwards has been an educational experience, especially the cooperation between the member countries and NAMMCOs role was interesting. My next overall project is to write an article inspired by my thesis to be published on the webpage, which will further evolve my skills in communicating academic work to a general audience. Furthermore, some of the recurrent tasks are to update the webpage and social media profiles, assist in the preparation of different projects and upcoming meetings and to participate in the daily work that occurs in an intergovernmental organisation.

A wonderful part of working at NAMMCO is the experience of living in Tromsø. Nestled in mountainous surroundings, that are currently covered in snow, Tromsø is a lively city with an astonishing nature. The seasonal changes offer a wide range of possibilities for outdoor activities. During winter the conditions for skiing and snowboarding are great, while the late summer sun brings bright evenings perfect for outdoor wonders. As I arrived in September, I managed to do a couple of hikes and drives before I stepped onto the skies. Tromsø city is also lively with many cosy cafés, restaurants and a couple of interesting museums and cinemas.

The next deadline for applying for an internship at NAMMCO is 30.11 2019. For more information follow the link here.

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