February 11, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Bentley Interns at U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

Caitlin Bentley, portrait

Caitlin Bentley

During the summer of 2019, graduate student Caitlin Bentley assumed the responsibilities of a political officer in the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.

Working as an intern officer for the Political-Military and External Affairs desks at Embassy Manila provided Bentley with a daily glimpse at American diplomacy and military cooperation abroad, something she now applies to her recent appointment with the U.S. Department of the Navy.

Bentley is currently working on a Ph.D. in History at Ohio University. Under the guidance of Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer, Professor of History and Director of the Contemporary History Institute, Bentley also is writing a dissertation on intelligence operations in the Philippines during World War II. She is an active member of the Contemporary History Institute.

Working on U.S.-Philippine Dialogue

As an intern officer, Bentley delivered demarches to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in support of American Foreign Policy in the Asia Pacific.

Having conveyed U.S. policy priorities to Philippine counterparts, she then reported official Philippine positions back to Washington.

In her first month at post, she organized travel, drafted speeches, and coordinated meetings for the first Davao Inter-faith Iftar alongside the University of Ateneo held in Davao City, Mindanao. Here, she and other embassy officers met with U.S. and Philippine militaries, interacting at high-level meetings, some conducted in Tagalog.

In her last month at the embassy, Bentley prepared 13 memos for Ambassador Sung Kim ahead of his meetings at the 8th annual Philippine-U.S. Bilateral Strategic Dialogue. The dialogue is the primary mechanism for coordinating all aspects of U.S.-Philippine cooperation, including multinational military exercises like Balikatan, or “Shoulder to Shoulder,” military aid in the form of training, equipment, and humanitarian aid. During the conference, Bentley participated in all security-focused working groups, meeting with regional analysts regarding their support of U.S.-Philippine policy in the Indo-Pacific region.

One such meeting included Albert del Rosario, the architect of the Philippine arbitration against China resulting in the 2016 Hague ruling that marked as illegal many Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

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