Former Interns

Ms. Mariella Biegeler (Germany) worked as an intern at the Concepts, Interoperability and Capability (CIC) branch of the CCOE from January to March 2018. She focused during her time at CCOE on Building Integrity and its practical application.

Mariella has been studying International Relations and Management (BA) at the Ostbayerische-Technische-Hochschule Regensburg/ Germany since October 2015. During her integrated practical semester abroad, she spent two months as an intern at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva/ Switzerland, focusing on The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and development organizations such as Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and The Global Polio Eradication Initiative as well as two months at the Syria and Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Beirut/ Lebanon.

She completed her semester abroad at the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie in Rabat/ Morocco, while also supporting the Regional Program for Climate Change and Energy Security of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Rabat.

She developed an interest in the CCOE and its work through her participation at NATO biggest CIMIC Exercise JOINT COOPERATION 2016 in Nienburg/ Germany. During this exercise, she had the opportunity to gain first insights into Civil-military cooperation. In order to build on these experiences and deepen her knowledge about CIMIC, she applied for the CCOE internship.


Mr. Luca Marro (Italy) started an internship in Lessons Learned & Analysis Branch (LL&A) in the CCOE in January 2018.

He had completed his studies in 2016 after successfully achieving first the Bachelor degree in Political Science at University of Naples Federico II and then the Master of Arts in International Relations – with focus on Europe – at Durham University (England).

The Master dissertation title was “The Ambiguity of Russia: Critical Assessment of the position of the Responsibility to Protect within Russia foreign policy”. The thesis focused on three case studies: NATO military intervention in Libya, Russian Crimea invasion, and Syrian civil chaos. After the completion of the Master degree he was selected to work as an intern on NATO strategic level (SHAPE) in the J9 division. He spent one year in the CIMIC Liaison Branch and consistently expanded his knowledge on Civil-Military Cooperation from NATO perspective.

Following this working experience he was currently be mainly responsible for content development and organization management of CCOE ́s Analysis makes the difference Workshop in October 2018.


Ms. Neža Zajc (Slovenia) has started an internship at CIMIC in September 2017. First, she participated in the CCOE conducted NATO CIMIC Field/Staff Worker Course and then continued her work at the Concepts, Interoperability, and Capability (CIC) branch. During her internship she focused on research, work, organization and support of the Community of Interest Conference.
Neža graduated in Political Sciences – Defence Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana/ Slovenia in 2015. Her thesis focused on the attitude of educated Turkish youth towards Syrian refugees; the perception of jeopardy and their standpoint in the context of multiculturalism.

During her bachelors she participated in the Erasmus Student’s Exchange Programme in Istanbul/ Turkey, where she studied International Relations at the Marmara University (2014). From October 2016 until July 2017 she underwent an internship at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union in Brussels/ Belgium, where she was involved in the legislative process of the European Union (EU), especially in working groups on external relations of the EU and migrations. Currently, she is finishing her master’s degree at the same chair and writing her master’s thesis about security implications of the recent migration crisis on the EU and its relation with Turkey.


Ms. Eva Mattes (Germany) worked as an intern at the Concepts, Interoperability and Capability (CIC) branch of the CCOE from October to December 2017. She supported the CIC-staff members in their task concerning their topic utilizing the concept Building Integrity into practical use.

She has been studying Political Science and Sociology at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg/Germany since October 2015.  In the past, she completed an internship at the German Atlantic Association in Berlin/ Germany, where she supported the organization of a variety of events concerning NATO and transatlantic security.

Eva is a member of the Forum for international Security Heidelberg/ Germany, organizing discussions and talks on international security issues. Moreover, she was part of a team planning the Heidelberger Symposium 2017, an interdisciplinary student initiative in Germany. Apart from that, she worked as a student assistant supporting a project concerning diffusion, learning, and cooperation in managing transnational conflicts.

Her academic interests focus on international relations as well as foreign and security policy.


Mrs. FREDERIKE SCHMITT (22, Germany) began her CCOE internship at the Training & Education (T&E) Branch in April 2017. One of her main tasks was to support the development of CCOE’s e-learning program with a focus on the new NATO CMI Basic Training requirements. She also handled the technical implementation of the e-learning application into the ILIAS software.

Frederike graduated in “International Emergency & Disaster Relief” (BA) in 2016. During her studies she developed interests in the topic of conflict resolution, especially in hybrid warfare and terrorism, as well as in civil-military cooperation. Consequently, she applied for an internship at the Academy for Crisis Management, Emergency Planning and Civil Protection (AKNZ) in Ahrweiler, Germany. Joining the branch for international training and civil-military cooperation at the academy, she worked for three months with both the civilian and military personnel.
Moving more towards the military aspects of international emergency and disaster relief, she decided to take a closer look at the Army, spending three months at the German Bundeswehr Operational Communications Center in Mayen, near Ahrweiler. In order to gain a deeper understanding of military and civil work in an international environment, she applied for this internship at the CCOE.


Ms. Lala Mustafazade (29, Baku, Azerbaijan) began her CCOE internship at the Concepts, Inter-Operability and Capability (CIC) Branch in February 2017.  Together with the branch staff, she developed doctrinal products elaborating on the required NATO CIMIC contribution for disaster management.

Ms. Mustafazade studied at the University of Leiden, where she obtained a Master’s Degree in ‘Crisis and Security Management’ in 2016. She wrote her thesis on the humanitarian response to natural disasters by comparing the disaster responses to the Haitian and Nepalese earthquakes. She obtained her bachelor degree in “Regional Studies” from the Western University in Azerbaijan.

Lala has prior hands-on experience in the field of crisis and disaster management. Before joining CCOE, she worked at the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In that role she developed strategies to strengthen the co-operation between the Ministry and the various international organizations, while working on international projects, aimed to enhance the national capacity for disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

She attended various programs and seminars on civil security, civil emergency planning and disaster risk reduction at the NATO School in Oberammergau (Civil Emergency Planning Course), the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Seminar on Transatlantic Civil Security), and at the European Union Eastern Partnership Program (England, PPRD course).


Kirsten Calmus, United States Military Academy, Class of 2018

Working at the CCOE in The Hague for the last three weeks has been an experience I will never forget. I was given the opportunity to learn about the importance of CIMIC on an international scale as well as explore The Netherlands. During the work day, two other cadets and I edited a short book on the development of the CCOE for the 10th Anniversary Celebration. This text allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of why CCOE is important and how past conflicts have caused the increased need for CIMIC throughout the world. Working at the CCOE also allowed me to interact with officers from other countries Military’s which was enlightening and educational to gain a better understanding of how their Army’s function and their differences from the U.S. Army.

Our time away from work gave us time to learn to about The Netherlands and experience some of the tourist experiences it has to offer. After work, the other cadets and I would take the bikes provided to us by the CCOE and ride to the city center of Delft, a nearby town. The bike system in The Netherlands was unlike anything I have seen in the United States. It seemed as though biking was the best and quickest way to get around because where there is a road, there is a bike path with less traffic. In the city center we would get dinner and check out surrounding shops.

After a week of working on editing the first couple chapters of the book, we went to Amsterdam for the weekend. We had the chance to rent bikes, visit the Anne Frank House and Van Gough museum, and go on a boat tour through the canals. The Anne Frank house was a very eye opening experience into the life that many had to endure throughout the war and the lengths that many families went to to survive. The tour through the house was a walking audio tour that guided you from room to room. While walking through the house filled with people, there were hardly any words spoken from anyone due to their fascination and respect for the stories being told on the tour. Even though the rest of our adventures did not have the impact that the Anne Frank house did, they were all fun and created memories that I will never forget.

The second work week, we had the opportunity to participate in IO/ NGO day which allowed International Organizations and Non-Government organizations to come to The CCOE and hear about the classes it can offer their organization and what its purpose it. Here we met with representatives from the German Red Cross and other organizations to hear about what they do and more about CIV-MIL Corporation. From the event we met a local representative of one of the NGOs who offered to take us to the windmills and explore more of the area that we would have trouble seeing without a car. This type of hospitality and kindness was offered by those who worked in the CCOE and those living in The Hague throughout our time here.

I am beyond thankful for my three weeks in The Hague and the opportunity to learn more about CIMIC and the CCOE. I will be able to apply what I have learned to my career in the military and hopefully educate others on these topics. I hope to one day return to the CCOE to develop CIMIC further while working with the welcoming personnel who reside here.


Cadet Hannah Keely from the United States Military Academy (USMA), at West Point, New York. Originally, I am from Ashburn Virginia, and am working to finish my degree in Human Geography. This summer, I had the pleasure of working at the Civil-Military Cooperation Center of Excellence (CCOE) in The Hague, The Netherlands for 3 weeks.  The summer of 2017, USMA sent 3 cadets, along with myself, on this unforgettable internship, and I am so happy to have had this experience.

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed “Holland”, the CCOE, the people that work there, and the hospitality they showed my colleagues and me.  During the work week, the cadets and I edited a book that was to be published at the end of July.  The book is an explanation of Civil-Military relations and the creation of the CCOE. By working on the book, I was able to grasp a greater knowledge of what civil-military relations are and their importance on the battle field.

We met many interesting people, both military and civilian, all of which welcomed us warmly.  The CCOE is located between the cities of Delft and The Hague. Therefore, after work, my colleagues from West Point and I would bike to Delft or The Hague, both of which are around a 15 minute bike ride.  There are many things to do in both of these cities.  In Delft, there are many amazing restaurants, a market place, an old church with great views, and more!  In The Hague, they have a beautiful beach, great shops, and good restaurants as well.

During our time at CCOE there was an International Organization (IO)/ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) day, where we met many different civilian NGOs, such as the German Red Cross.  After meeting several fascinating people, one woman we were introduced to, offered to bring us to see a few giant windmills in the Netherlands.  She also brought us to places were you can see the city of Rotterdam, The Hague, and Delft at the same time.

On the weekends, we were able to travel to wherever we could afford. Two weekends in a row, my colleagues and I went to Amsterdam, and on the last weekend, we flew to Munich (Germany). Amsterdam was incredibly eclectic, with years of history, and beautiful canals. We saw the Anne Frank house, the Van Gough Museum, took a tour of the canals, walked by the Red Light District, took a bike tour, and explored many different restaurants and snack stands. The Anne Frank house and Van Gough Museum were both indescribable, and I would suggest that anyone in Amsterdam attend these attractions. The tours were very fun and informative, plus the boat tour served burgers and pizza.  Lastly, Amsterdam is known for its fries and pancakes, both of which are delicious, and I highly recommend trying them.

The last weekend we were here, the other cadets and I went to Munich. While in Munich, we were able to see many different sites, such as the Englischer Garten, St. Peter’s Church, Nymphenburg Palace, the German Museum, and the Dachau Concentration camp.  All of these places were incredible, informative, and filled with history. One of the most interesting places we attended was the Dachau Concentration camp.  In the United States, it is sometimes easy to forget the impact WWII had on Europe without the hard evidence in front of you.  However, the Dachau camp made it very real, and it was an interesting and chilling experience. We had a great time becoming immersed in bavarian culture, and I recommend it to anyone traveling nearby Germany.

Interning with the CCOE was a life changing experience. The culture, history, food, and scenic views are enough to make me recommend this internship to anyone.  However, what will truly stay with me are the friendships I made at the CCOE, and the relentless hospitality of the multinational personnel that was shown to my fellow cadets and me. In closing, I would like to thank the people at the CCOE, wish the CCOE a happy 10th anniversary, and aspire to someday return to the Netherlands and CCOE.


My name is Francis Williams III, and I am a fourth-year cadet at the United States Military Academy, majoring in Environmental Science. Though I serve in the US Army, I was born and raised in Boucherville, Québec. Prior to my time in West Point, NY, I served in the Virginia Army National Guard as a Bridge Crewmember, while attending the College of William & Mary for two and a half years, and majoring in Geology with a focus in Vertebrate Paleontology. After my time at the Academy, I hope to serve as a Combat Engineer officer, and then as a Foreign Area Officer later on in my career. I came to The Hague with three other cadets as a part of our Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD), which is a graduation requirement for all cadets. I spent the majority of my time at the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence (CCOE) working with the Public Affairs Office (PAO) on a book that will be published in conjunction with the 10th anniversary celebrations. In addition to the work done on the book, I had the opportunity to learn more about Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) through interactions I have had with members of the German, Dutch, and Polish militaries. While we spend time at the Academy discussing topics related to CIMIC, I have never been afforded the opportunity to deal with the subject in much detail. Additionally, the ability to interact with soldiers from other countries is extremely valuable. I find it is always interesting to see how different people can come together to solve problems.

During the weekends, I was able to venture outside of CCOE. The ability to use a bike easily, as well as the public transportation in the Netherlands made it easy to go to nearby Delft, or The Hague’s town center, or even Amsterdam. My three weeks here afforded me the opportunity to go to Amsterdam for the first weekend, the province of Zeeland during the second weekend, and then Geneva during last weekend. In Amsterdam, I enjoyed a typical tour of the major canals, tasted a variety of foods, learned from several museums, including the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum, and experienced some of Amsterdam’s nightlife. In Zeeland I gained an appreciation for the Netherlands’ maritime history, saw some beautiful small towns, and got to taste some of the region’s famous seafood. Finally, in Geneva, I was able to experience a part of Switzerland I had not been able to visit the last time I was there. I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Lac Léman, the UN Headquarters, the Red Cross Museum, as well as several other famous, and scenic, parts of the city. While my time at the CCOE was short, it is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and carry on as I move forward in my military career. I could have never expected that I would be able to experience so much in only three weeks. The professionalism and expertise of everyone I had the chance to work with was incredibly impressive as well.

I would like to thank Major Joel Radunzel (US Army) for the opportunity to attend this AIAD, Lieutenant Colonel Tilman Engel (German Army) for his guidance throughout this project, as well as Lieutenant Colonel André Werres (German Army), Captain Normen Schneider, Corporal Michael Rein (German Army), and Monica De Astis for their support throughout my stay in The Hague. » read more