Former Papuan Korwa Wanimbo gets coveted DC internship

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September 20, 2021

When Korwa Wanimbo landed in Washington, DC, it was instant culture shock. “The first time I got to the airport, I was like ‘Really?’ He remembers. “I come from a very small town and all of a sudden I was in a big city.”

But the small town where Korwa comes from is not a typical American small town. It’s not even in America. Korwa is originally from the small island of Papua, a remote province in the island nation of Indonesia. Nearly 7,000 miles from his home, even Corban’s small, intimate campus was a shock upon his arrival. But cultural differences did not prevent Korwa from seizing her opportunity.

As a select student, chosen by the Papuan government to study in the United States with the hope of returning to make a difference in Papua, he used his time at Corban to develop his political acumen while cultivating a multicultural environment for a future service through politics. After graduating with a political science degree in May 2021, Korwa continued to excel, securing a highly competitive and prestigious internship with the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC.

“I am really interested in my future career in being in politics and becoming a leader to help my people back in Papua,” said Wanimbo. “Washington is a place where I feel I can develop my career. It’s a place where I can talk to leaders face to face and learn.

But this was not always Korwa’s point of view. His time at Corban became a crucial step on his path to servant leadership. “Before coming here, I didn’t want to do my internship at the Indonesian embassy,” he says. “They all had a different faith than mine.”

Indonesia is the largest predominantly Muslim nation in the world, comprising over 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population. Because of this, Korwa knew that the vast majority of her colleagues and superiors in Washington, DC, would share a belief system often hostile to hers.

But as Korwa grew closer to his tight-knit college community in Corban, he began to encounter a different point of view. “Many of Corban’s employees and friends encouraged me to do this internship and pray that God would use it,” he says.

He remembers many discussions with associate professor of political science, Dr Tony Caito, all about the intersection between faith and profession. “He told me that as Christians we must love even our enemies, and we must do what is right,” he said. “I prayed to God, and God told me that it was not right to think like I was, that I had to go forward and be an example to others, regardless of race, their origin or religion. I had to take my faith to where I was going.

As a result of her decision to engage in the faith, Korwa now has access to some of the most influential figures in Indonesian politics. “Every day, I meet with ministers and leaders between Indonesia and America and I learn by asking questions,” he said. “And I don’t just meet people who work for the Indonesian Embassy, ​​but people who work all over the world. I’m building a network for the future, to someday help Papua, and I think that’s the most important thing for me here.

Dr. Caito is proud to see the gospel call on Korwa’s life come full circle. “The Indonesian government sent Corban a young Papuan full of promise. We have all faithfully poured into him, and now he is ready to return to his people as a servant, ”he said.

Korwa now sees every day as a new opportunity. “God has blessed me, and every day I am so excited to do my job here,” he says. “I just want to help educate my generation because there is a lack of education in Papua. I came here to gain knowledge in Washington DC so that I can bring it back to Papua and help with my experience.

Each year, as Korwa sees more and more international students coming from Papua to Corban, he prays that they cultivate a similar mindset. “I hope they think like me,” he says. “If they have the opportunity to do internships like mine, I hope they can bring themselves to do so so that through their internship they can bring something back to Papua, and also make a difference during that they are here in America. Because the people in America need Jesus too.

While it was Korwa’s efforts and dedication that earned him his prestigious DC internship, it was his faith and the support of his Corban community that gave him the courage to pursue it. “I am the only Christian in the Embassy. I have to be a witness, ”he said. “I don’t just want to be a follower. I want to be a leader and help those who need it most.

For Korwa, the motivation behind her desire to lead ultimately comes from a love for her people. “I want to see leadership skills grow in my generation in Papua,” he says. “Corban’s mission is to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ,” he says. “So when I went out to do my internship I knew I had to bring something to Washington to make a difference to the people around me through my job and then bring something home to Papua, all for the glory of God. “


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