Knox Student Interns at Council on Foreign Relations

October 07, 2010

When author and columnist Amity Shlaes visited Knox College last fall to deliver a lecture on the U.S. economy, she also took time to meet and informally chat with students. Within months, one of those students was working as Shlaes' summer intern at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where she is a senior fellow.

Maksymilian Czuperski, a Knox junior, called the experience "a great intellectual enrichment for me."

Born in Gdansk, Poland, Czuperski grew up in Braunau, Austria. At Knox, he is majoring in international relations and minoring in business and management.

While working at the CFR's New York City headquarters in the geoeconomic department, Czuperski spent most of his time conducting economic research. He also attended general meetings and roundtable discussions.

"It was a pleasure to work with really talented and smart people, and I learned a lot from them," he said. "CFR is a great catalyst for learning more about foreign policy and related matters."

The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. According to its website, CFR aims to serve as a resource for members, government officials, business executives, and other interested citizens to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

Each year, the council's headquarters hosts more than 250 events, including panel discussions, interviews, and lectures.

Czuperski said he received strong support from Knox and especially from Professor John Spittell throughout his internship and the application process. Spittell is chair of the business and management program, which arranged an informal meeting last year between Shlaes and a group of Knox students.

"I think it's very helpful that Knox College has this small and tight community that sticks together," he said. "That's a good thing about Knox."

After earning his bachelor's degree, Czuperski plans to attend graduate school. He hopes to pursue a career in foreign policy, with a particular focus on trans-Atlantic relations.

Shlaes, an economic expert, has written several books, the most recent being The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. She also wrote The Greedy Hand, about America's experience with its tax code; and Germany: The Empire Within, about German national identity.

While on the Knox campus in October 2009, Shlaes presented a lecture about the U.S. economy. She said that even though the government didn't cause the Great Depression, governmental actions caused it to last longer. She also analyzed the then-current economic situation, saying the Federal Reserve was too arbitrary in deciding which businesses would or wouldn't get a financial rescue.

Other people with ties to the Council on Foreign Relations also have spent time recently on the Knox campus.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a member of CFR's board of directors, served as the 2008 Commencement speaker. Fellow CFR board member Jim Owens, retired chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc., received an honorary degree at the 2010 Knox Commencement ceremony.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.