Lisa Miatello draws a parallel between IDS interns and colonial overlords. It’s an amusing comparison, but it falls apart rather quickly when you recognize that these interns are not being forced on the communities they serve. McGill interns are not surreptitiously parachuted into their posts from a helicopter piloted by the staff of the Arts Internship Office; all the interns are invited to these communities by the same local organizations that Miatello celebrates as being “productive and effectual.” In fact, many of these laudable organizations request interns year after year, so they must see some value in working with McGill students. Miatello is absolutely right to decry the West’s messiah complex, but she is demonstrating that tendency herself by suggesting that grass-roots organizations in the developing world are incapable of deciding how best to serve their own communities.
BA International Development Studies