Darren Brookbanks – @DBrookbanks
I met red24’s Chief Analyst of the Americas, Nick Piper, on a sunny afternoon in late November last year. Over a decidedly undersized cup of coffee, he shared a generous introduction to the political risk game. Immediately thereafter, I emailed him a system level analysis that I had written on Russia’s actions in relation to the conflict in Syria back in September. His response secured me a graduate internship that I saw through in the new year; this occurred shortly after red24 had published its annual threat forecast. “You’ll find producing content for the private sector a liberating exercise (shorter sentences, no need for academic style referencing, etc.)” were his exact words.
15 to 24 January.
Those were the confirmed dates for the internship. Before the month’s end, I had previously positioned myself within the Weberian school of thought’s arguably outdated assumption that the state held a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Given that red24 posits itself as a Crisis Response Management and Security Specialist firm, my youthful naivety associated the private intelligence sector as a fundamental challenge to that previous assumption. By the last week of January, producing content for the private sector felt like a liberating exercise compared to long sentences, academic style referencing, state-centric assumptions and prior beliefs.
Primary duties as a red24 intern included learning to apply the red24 Risk Matrix and using Alert Central to produce safety, security and travel alerts; sourcing, writing and compiling Daily News stories covering Europe, Americas, Middle East and North Africa, Asia and Africa regions; helping to produce safety and security reports for clients; and using EasyAdd to update country pages on the red24 website. After eight working days, I had among other tasks, accrued practical experience producing short alerts on planned protests in Brazil and bombings in Bangkok, Peshawar and Cairo. I also worked on safety and security reports for Turkish clients travelling to Mexico City and Spanish clients travelling to Colombo; this was done in addition to compiling research on kidnapping statistics in Brazil. Under the patient advice and guidance of a team of political risk analysts.
I had stepped out of an academic frying pan and into the red24 fire where my experience transformed some of my views about the relationship between the state and the private sector. If my postgraduate studies at UCT Law School is a journey even partially as interesting as a graduate internship at red24, I palpably await another academic rebirth.
Interested in an internship at red24?
red24’s Crisis Response Management (CRM) Centre in Cape Town, South Africa is offering an internship opportunity open to aspiring graduate students looking to gain workplace experience in the field of political risk analysis. Interested parties are invited to submit: (1) their CV, (2) a brief motivation letter, (3) and two examples of previously written work to red24’s Human Resources department – firstname.lastname@example.org.