Walsh School of Foreign Service

Thanks Eric

For roughly twenty years Australian university students have participated in the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme (UCWIP). The program has been the work of Eric Federing, who recognized the need to educate young Australians on the workings of the US government. Sadly, Eric has decided to bring his work to its logical end.

I first met Eric in the mid-1990’s during his visit to the Australian Centre for American Studies at the University of Sydney. I was the research director and Eric had dropped by to learn about the center. Characteristically, he wore a black leather coat. Over the course of his visits to Australia, he discovered that many university students had a desire to learn about the US Congress, but not many opportunities from which to do so. At first, he partnered with Flinders University. Then, seeing the need to expand the program he launched his own internship program in 1999, naming it UCWIP in 2003. Participating universities included the University of Sydney, Deakin, the University of Melbourne, Griffith University, the University of Wollongong, Monash, and the University of Queensland. Congressional offices that participated included Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina to name a few.

Over the course of a generation, the students who came through UCWIP ended up working in the Australian government, military, non-profit and private sectors. Some have gone on to work in the Australian parliament. Wherever they landed, they took up leadership roles.

Eric ran the program on his own, pro bono. His other work includes a day job as a Managing Director of KPMG LLP, Honorary Director of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, and Washington, DC Advisory Council of Global Kids.

In 2015 Eric’s work promoting links between the US Congress and Australia was recognized by the Governor-General of Australia appointing Eric as a Member in the Order of Australia.

I have been lucky enough to work with him and welcome Australian interns to Georgetown University every year. The students have been uniformly interesting and inspiring. So, it is with a mixture of gratitude and sadness to learn that UCWIP has come to its logical end.

Thank you, Eric, for all you have done.