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Washington, DC Opportunities

The opportunities listed on this page are not national scholarships - they are regularly available internship opportunities at a wide variety of Washington, DC area think tanks, non-profits and public policy advocacy organizations. Many of the internships listed here were selected because they involved substantial opportunities for conducting research, for writing, or for engaging in other responsible activities.

These internships can provide invaluable opportunities for learning more about causes and issues of concern to Maryland students. They can be a great way to learn how public policy is made, analyzed and changed. National scholarships look for evidence that applicants have become actively involved in learning about - and affecting - important public policy issues, and obtaining internships in organizations like these can be a great way of doing that.

If you obtain an internship with any organization listed here, please let us know!

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates and graduate students

In the spirit of AIDS activist, educator, and reality-show trailblazer Pedro Zamora’s work to combat the spread of HIV, AIDS United offers a public policy fellowship in his name. The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship is an excellent opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students seeking experience in public policy and government affairs focused on HIV/AIDS issues. Duties include assisting in researching a variety of public health and civil rights issues related to HIV prevention, treatment and care , attending Congressional hearings and coalition meetings, monitoring voting records, reviewing the federal register and Congressional Record, preparation of briefing materials, correspondence, and mailings, and general office administration. Fellows must also commit to working a minimum of 30 hours a week over an eight week period. The maximum duration of a fellowship is 26 weeks.

Application deadlines: November 1 for spring, April 1 for summer, July 1 for fall

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA required; 3.5 GPA recommended
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. AEI internships provide students with an opportunity to work with some of America's most renowned scholars and to get involved with their research on current public policy questions. Approximately fifty internship opportunities are available in the fall, winter, and summer in the areas of: economic policy, foreign and defense studies, social and political studies, media affairs, The American magazine, publications editing, information systems, marketing, and human resources. Internships are unpaid, and the hours and days are flexible, either part or full time.

Application deadlines: April 1 for summer; September 1 for fall; December 1st for spring

Eligibility: Strong interest in foreign policy and national security; knowledge of Russian, Mandarin, Arabic or Farsi is helpful

AFPC is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing information to those who make or influence the foreign policy of the United States and to assisting world leaders, particularly in the former USSR, in building democracies and market economies. It works closely with members of Congress, the Executive Branch and the policymaking community. Unpaid internship positions are available year round. Hours are flexible with interns expected to work a minimum of 20 hours per week. Responsibilities vary depending on the current program schedule, but may include: general administrative support, special events planning, editorial assistance with publications, logistical support of foreign delegations in Washington, and foreign policy research and writing.

Application deadlines: July 1 for fall; November 1 for spring; and March 15 for summer

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates; knowledge of German is helpful

The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University, produces objective and original analyses of developments and trends in Germany, Europe and the United States; creates new transatlantic networks; and facilitates dialogue among the business, political, and academic communities to manage differences and define and promote common interests. Internships provide a professional and educational experience in a not-for-profit organization that aims to strengthen the German-American relationship. Interns typically are assigned to a particular department of the Institute but are expected to work on projects on a priority basis for the Institute. Interns will be assigned to the Institutes different departments according to their particular interests: Programs/Publications, Development/ Outreach, Public Policy, Administration/Finance. AICGS offers unpaid internships to undergraduate and graduate students in spring, summer, and fall.

Application deadlines: October 1 for spring; March 1 for summer; and June 1 for fall

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates

The American Public Health Association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health professionals and others who care about their own health and the health of their communities, therefore a broad variety of internships are available. Opportunities for internships are available year-round. Internships can be developed for a 3-4 month period, an academic quarter, an academic semester, or for a full year. To assure that the intern maximizes his/her experience, we prefer to have students commit a minimum of 20 hours a week to the internship and for those students visiting for a semester, full time, if possible. APHA internships are unpaid.  

Application deadline: December 1 for spring; April 15 for summer; and July 15 for fall

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. Internships are posted on the website on an as-needed basis.

Application deadlines: Vary depending on internship availability

Eligibility: Varies depending on specific internship listing

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization whose mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: strengthening American democracy; fostering the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and securing a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system. A wide array of research internships is available and regularly updated on the website. The internships are usually unpaid and can be either part or full time. Candidates are expected to apply to specific internships based on their interests and qualifications.

Application deadlines: Varies; opportunities posted on an as-needed basis

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates committed to libertarian values

The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government. Cato interns assist policy staff as researchers; work with the conference department to organize policy conferences, debates, and forums; attend seminars and conferences; and assist Cato's professional staff by copying and filing newspaper articles, distributing materials to congressional offices, and preparing mailings. In addition to their research and other duties, interns take part in regular seminars on politics, economics, law, and philosophy, as well as a series of lectures and films on libertarian themes. Summer interns are also encouraged, but not required, to play on the Institute's softball team

Application deadline: March 1 for summer

Eligibility: A strong academic record and an interest in public policy and/or political communication
The Center for American Progress is a progressive think-tank dedicated to creating a long-term, progressive vision for America—a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference. American Progress offers full and part-time internships each summer and academic semester. Interns will be directly engaged with the Center’s policy experts and will participate in a variety of activities including research, writing, and web-based projects. They will also assist staff with administrative tasks and help organize the Center’s many conferences and events. American Progress offers a monetary stipend as well as a transportation subsidy for interns.

Application deadlines: February 15 for summer; July 11 for fall

Eligibility: Interest in Internet technology policy and/or civil liberties.

The Center for Democracy and Technology works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. With expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT seeks practical solutions to enhance free expression and privacy in global communications technologies. The Center offers internship opportunities year round. Summer interns work closely with CDT policy experts and attorneys, who cover a broad array of issues related to technology and civil liberties including online free expression, electronic surveillance, digital copyright, Internet governance, and a range of privacy issues from spyware to RFID technology to government ID programs. Interns contribute substantially to CDT’s work by conducting technical and policy research; drafting reports and analyses; assisting in the preparation of testimony, presentations, and legislation; and helping create online and other educational resources.

Application deadlines: February 15 for summer; rolling basis for academic year

Eligibility for Research Internships: Extensive training in econometrics, microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory and development economics. Prior experience with statistical packages such as STATA and Excel may be required.
CGD is an independent, not-for-profit think tank founded in 2001 that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the US and other rich countries through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community. CGD conducts research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to how rich country policies impact people in the developing world. These include, for example, aid effectiveness, education, globalization, health, migration, and trade. The Center offers paid and unpaid internships, including research internships, to full-time undergraduate and graduate students.

Application deadlines: Opportunities posted on an as-needed basis

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates interested in investigative reporting, online media production, or development/communications

The Center for Public Integrity is looking for ambitious undergraduate and graduate student interns and recent graduates for our paid summer internship program in Washington, D.C. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that produces original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. A motivating factor for our internship program is to help train and inspire the next generation of investigative reporters. We seek committed and energetic journalism interns who are interested in the craft of investigative reporting. Assignments may include everything from poring through government reports, records, and statistics to interviewing government officials, academics, economists, activists, whistleblowers, and others. Interns typically focus on a single project under the supervision of investigative journalists at the Center.

Application deadline: March 15 for summer

Eligibility: Relevant coursework or major a plus; related studies include political science, government, journalism, law and computer science

The Center for Responsive Politics is a non-partisan, non-profit research group that tracks money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy. There are three types of available internships at the Center for Responsive Politics: research internships, communications internships and the lobbying research internships. Student interns will join a small staff in an informal and hard-working atmosphere. Interns are given substantive work assignments and the individual attention needed to gain valuable insight into government and politics through public interest work experience. In the spring and fall, unpaid interns are brought on part-time for academic credit. In the summer full-time interns are hired for 32-40 hours per week and can choose to receive academic credit OR a stipend.

Application deadlines: March 15 for summer; July 1 for fall; and November 1 for spring

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA, at least a junior, eligible to work in the US

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) seeks to advance global security and prosperity in an era of economic and political transformation by providing strategic insights and practical policy solutions to decision makers. CSIS serves as a strategic planning partner for the government by conducting research and analysis and developing policy initiatives that look into the future and anticipate change. CSIS offers full and part-time internships in the fall, spring and summer for students interested in gaining practical experience in public policy. Interns participate in a variety of activities that support individual programs, including research, writing, and project development. Many of the internships are unpaid; however, some stipends are available for those with demonstrated financial need.

Application deadlines: March 15 for summer; August 31 for fall; November 25 for spring

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates

The Center for the National Interest is seeking energetic undergraduate and graduate students (though non-students may also apply) interested in international affairs for unpaid internship positions in its Washington, DC office. An internship at the Center is an excellent way for students to learn about international affairs and meet influential people in government, think tank, academic, and media circles. Internships at the Center can be full-time or part-time positions depending on the candidate's interest and the needs of the particular program. Duties differ from program to program but generally involve research, administrative support, and event organization.

Application deadlines: See program for details.

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors preferred

The Center for the Study of the Presidency is a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Center internships offer motivated students the opportunity to learn first-hand about the international and domestic issues confronting the American Presidency in a small, fast-moving D.C. think tank. While interns are assigned a primary project to work on during their time at the Center based on their experience and qualifications, they also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of Center activities and operations during their internship. Professional responsibilities may include working with experienced policymakers and former government officials, conducting research and writing to support policy analyses and other Center projects, helping organize meetings with Presidential scholars, former White House staff, and former National Security Council officials; and assisting with conferences, publications and public relations outreach. CSP offers unpaid internships for undergraduate students during the spring, summer and fall terms.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Research, fact-gathering, writing, analytic and computer skills

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is one of the leading organizations in the country working on public policy issues affecting low-income families and individuals. The Center specializes in research and analysis oriented toward practical policy decisions and produces analytic reports that are accessible to public officials, non-profit organizations and the media. The Center seeks highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students (including law), as well as recent graduates, in the following areas for full-and part-time paid internships: Media, Federal Legislation, Health Policy, Housing Policy, International Budget Project, Food Stamps, National Budget and Tax Policy, Outreach Campaigns, State Budget and Tax Policy and Welfare Reform and Income Support Division. Paid internships are available for the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Application deadlines: March 1 for summer; June 15 for fall; October 15 for spring

Eligibility: public interest commitment and an interest in the political process.

Common Cause works with our members and activists and in coalition with other advocacy organizations to make government more accountable to the people. Common Cause has led successful efforts for campaign finance reforms, ethics and accountability in government, and open government at the national, state and local levels. Each semester and over the summer, Common Cause offers internships to students from across the country. Working closely with staff and volunteers, interns do grassroots organizing, contribute research to policy papers and investigative studies, monitor congressional committee meetings, function as press office aides, help with eAdvocacy efforts, and assist Development staff. Through training and daily work experience, interns gain a broad understanding of the workings of Congress and the Executive Branch, and learn how a nonpartisan grassroots citizens' organization lobbies elected officials. Weekly briefings with Common Cause staff keep interns updated on the legislative status of Common Cause issues and the political strategy we are pursuing.

Application deadline: Opportunities posted on an as-needed basis

Eligibility: Students with educational concentration in International Relations, Communications, or a related field preferred, students with internet research experience

The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its stakeholders and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Internship Program offers opportunities for college and graduate students focusing on international relations who are considering a career in foreign policy or a related field. An intern’s duties generally consist of administrative work, program coordination, research, editing, and writing. The internships are unpaid but provide a small stipend upon successful completion to offset transportation expenses. Interns are recruited year-round on a semester basis. The fall and spring semesters require a minimum commitment of sixteen hours per week. The summer semester requires a full-time commitment.

Application deadlines: Summer internships are filled on a rolling basis.

Eligibility: An interest in free-market ideas and public policy

Freedom Works promotes economic liberty by strategically engaging our members in the political process, and we identify and mobilize constituencies that can benefit from policies that advance or preserve economic freedom. Interns for FreedomWorks may have the opportunity to monitor hearings and press conferences on Capitol Hill and at the White House. They may also attend conferences and seminars, conduct research on economic policy topics, assist with grassroots events and mobilization efforts and assist with various publications, in addition to providing general office support to the staff. Your experience and assignments will vary based on the area you are interested in within FreedomWorks. Internships are unpaid, but you may also be able to earn academic credit from your college or university. Work hours and issue areas are flexible. Spring/Summer/Fall Internships available in the following areas: Federal Campaigns, Operations, Public Affairs, Economic Research and Policy, Development/Fundraising.

Application deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduate students

The Ethics and Public Policy Center is dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy. From the Cold War to the war on terrorism, from disputes over the role of religion in public life to battles over the nature of the family, EPPC and its scholars have consistently sought to defend the great Western ethical imperatives -- respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, individual freedom and responsibility, justice, the rule of law, and limited government. Internships with the Ethics and Public Policy Center are voluntary and unpaid. The internship program is designed to allow undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience in a non-profit research setting.

Application deadlines: The Ethics and Public Policy Center is not accepting internship applications until further notice.

Eligibility: Varies depending on the position

Hudson Institute is a non-partisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. The Institute offers internships to undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate students. Hudson offers the opportunity for its interns to work with Hudson researchers in policy areas such as Campaign Reform, Economic and Employment Policy, Middle East Studies, Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, National Security Studies, and Science in Public Policy. Hudson interns are required to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week in an unpaid capacity, although particularly distinguished interns have gone on to become paid researchers and administrative staff members. Fall, winter, spring, and summer internships are available.

Application deadlines: Varies

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates

The Jamie P. Merisotis and Colleen T. O’Brien Internship Program, named for the IHEP co-founders, strives to provide an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to develop skills in administrative support, communications, higher education policy, marketing, program management, and research. Each semester, internships are available in three areas: communications and marketing, programs, and research. Each internship lasts for approximately 14 weeks and offers a stipend. IHEP interns are considered regular staff members and, as such, play a significant role in helping the organization achieve its goals.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates majoring in social sciences with concentrations in Latin America/the Caribbean, proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese is helpful

The Inter-American Dialogue is the leading U.S. center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs. The Dialogue brings together public and private leaders from across the Americas to address hemispheric problems and opportunities. Together they seek to build cooperation among Western Hemisphere nations and advance a regional agenda of democratic governance, social equity, and economic growth. The Inter-American Dialogue offers full-time and part-time volunteer internships for students interested in the dynamics of inter-American relations. Interns assist the president, associates and staff with research and writing on current issues affecting U.S.-Latin American relations. Program areas include: democracy and human rights, multilateral governance, trade and economic relations, women leaders, and education policy reform. Country specific and regional topics (i.e. Central America, Cuba, Brazil and Peru) are also monitored.

Application deadlines: March 31 for summer; August 31 for fall; and December 18 for spring

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates

The International Food Policy Research Institute has a vision of a world without hunger and malnutrition. This vision is based on the human right to adequate food and the recognition of the dignity inherent in all human beings. The Institute’s mission is to achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries, policy, and natural resources management. Internships are paid or unpaid and are assigned based on opportunities posted on the website, or according specific research interests, including Food Consumption and Nutrition, Markets, Trade and Institutions, Environment and Production Technology, Capacity Strengthening, and Development Strategy and Governance.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Must be at least a sophomore with a minimum 3.0 GPA

The IISS is an authority on political-military conflict based in London, with branch offices in Washington and Singapore. The Institute provides independent, internationally sourced information and commentary on the main strategic events touching on national, regional and global security. Interns will be required to perform administrative duties, research, and other support, and assist with event and media management. Successful applicants can expect to gain direct exposure to the work and management of a leading think-tank with a multinational presence. Internships are unpaid.

Application deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA, commitment to the Joint Center’s mission, ability to commit for at least 6 weeks at 25 hours per week

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is the only US research and public policy institution whose work focuses exclusively on issues of particular concern to African-Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center's current research and analyses address critical issues in three key areas: political participation; economic advancement; and health policy. Internships are available in various Program Offices, the Office of Communications and the Office of Administration and Finance. Internships last six to ten weeks and are available throughout the year.

Application deadline: March 1 for summer; July 1 for fall; December 15 for spring

Eligibility: At least junior-level standing, must have authorization to work in the US

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to the study of migration worldwide. Based in Washington, DC, MPI works closely with practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to analyze, develop, and evaluate migration and refugee policies at the local, state, national, and international level. Since MPI’s inception, the internship program has trained over 50 future global migration scholars. Publication opportunities are available to interns and over half of MPI’s interns are now published authors in the field of migration. Research internships are available based on demand in a wide variety of migration-related fields; internships are unpaid, but full-time interns are eligible for stipends.

Application deadlines: March 1 for summer; July 1 for fall; and November 1 for spring

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. Interns are accepted in many of the Arts Endowment's offices on a non-paid basis. This internship offers a national overview of arts activities across the country. Interns work in assisting the staff with a variety of tasks related to the process of awarding Federal grants. A variety of resources are available for participants of the NEA Internship Program such as meetings of advisory panels and the National Council on the Arts.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Open to all undergraduates with preference for those studying the humanities. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The NEH is accepting applications on an open continuous basis for volunteer student and other internships. Such experience could include research and other work of a project nature in one of our grant-making offices/divisions; writing, editing and other public affairs assignments in our Office of Communications; human resources management activities with our Office of Human Resources; grant management and support work in our Office of Grant Management; and work in one of our administrative offices. Interns may apply for specific departments or to the NEH in general. Internships are unpaid.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Related research experience, proficiency in statistical software

The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world. The Pew Internet & American Life Project offers paid internships throughout the year, for durations roughly coinciding with the fall, spring or summer university semesters. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but should be submitted 2 months prior to the desired Internship start date. The range of intern activities will include: writing for, developing or helping to maintain the Project Web site, analyzing and entering data from our survey work, performing background research on topics that will be the subject of upcoming reports, preparing written analyses of a particular issue, and conducting original research related to Project reports. Motivated interns with the appropriate skill set may have the opportunity to co-author a Pew Internet Project report.

Application deadlines: Rolling

Eligibility: Undergraduates and recent graduates are eligible to apply

The Progressive Policy Institute aims to define and promote a new progressive politics for America in the 21st century. Through its research, policies, and perspectives, the Institute is fashioning a new governing philosophy and an agenda for public innovation geared to the Information Age. A number of internships are available in the following fields: defense and foreign policy; economic policy; education policy; energy and environmental policy; health care policy; social policy; technology and new economy policy; and trade policy. The internships are unpaid except for a public transportation subsidy. 

Application deadlines: Opportunities posted on an as-needed basis

Eligibility: Required qualifications vary by program

Public Citizen is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that serves as the voice in Washington for its 150,000 members. Public Citizen fights for public health and safety, champions corporate and government accountability, and campaigns for fair trade, clean and safe energy, and consumer rights. A number of both paid and unpaid internships are available year round. Internship fields include: web design and development, online initiatives, auto safety, communications, Congress Watch, energy, global trade, health research and litigation.

Application deadlines: Opportunities posted on an as-needed basis

Eligibility: Required qualifications vary by listing, but generally majors in Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Sociology, Public Policy and Computer Science are preferred

The Urban Institute performs nonpartisan economic and social policy research. The Institute concentrates on issues important to the country, seeking balance between short-term and long-term studies, national and local issues, and applied and theoretical work. Researchers focus on issues with the greatest potential effect on the public. The position of a temporary Research Assistant is responsible for assisting senior researchers in various policy areas such as housing, welfare, population studies, health, and education policy. Incumbents will conduct literature reviews, analyses and programming tasks, as well as participate in reporting research findings and presenting data.

Application deadlines: All summer internships will be listed as UI Associate. Most summer opportunities are posted beginning in April.

Eligibility: Junior or senior standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; foreign nationals must be in the US on an F-1 or J-1 visa

Woodrow Wilson Center is nonpartisan institution established by Congress, supported by public and private funds, engaged in the study of national and world affairs. The Center establishes and maintains a lively, neutral forum for free and informed dialogue. The majority of the interns at the Center serve as research assistants for visiting scholars and examine issues of contemporary public policy or explore topics that provide the historical context behind today’s public policy debates. In support of the scholars, research assistants spend much of their time searching for information, using online academic databases or other publications. They often perform other duties, as well, such as translating, proofreading, critiquing, checking references, summarizing, and helping with software or presentational tasks. There may be some administrative tasks involved, but such tasks will be limited. Most internships are not paid.

Application deadlines: varies by program

Eligibility: Varies by listing

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an environmental think tank that aims to find practical ways to protect the earth and improve people's lives. WRI provides, and helps other institutions provide, objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development. WRI has internships available on an as-needed basis; check the website for current listings.

Application deadline: Varies by listing

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