A 10-week internship with the Christian human rights organization 21Wilberforce fueled a Howard Payne University student’s passion for advocacy and commitment to religious freedom.
“The freedom of belief leads to a lot of other freedoms,” said Caleb Kostreva, a senior from Clifton, Colo. “Countries that have more religious freedom have better economies, better gender equality and all these other positive things connected to religious freedom—not perfect, but better.”
21Wilberforce takes its name from 19th century British parliamentarian William Wilberforce, who led a successful abolitionist movement in England using collaborative partnerships, grassroots empowerment and policy campaigns. By adopting those strategies, the organization—based in the Washington, D.C., area—seeks to defend people of faith internationally and expand religious freedom.
Kostreva’s path to working with 21Wilberforce came about in an unlikely manner. As a freshman at HPU, he happened upon a business card for the organization, which piqued his interest.
“I knew who William Wilberforce was, and I really respect him, and so I thought, ‘This must be an interesting organization,’” Kostreva said. “So I looked them up and kept them in the back of my mind.”
Later, one of Kostreva’s friends interned with 21Wilberforce, further strengthening his ties to the group. Meeting with representatives of 21Wilberforce visiting HPU solidified the connection.
Internship offered unique opportunity
Kostreva, along with four other college students from institutions across the United States, worked with 21Wilberforce, meeting legislators and planning events. Through the internship, he gained firsthand experience in learning how U.S. policies on global issues such as human rights are shaped.
“It’s something that you won’t find interning for other organizations,” he said. “They see it as a professional-development internship, making it a really unique opportunity.”
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Source: Baptist Standard