Reflecting on our Achievements

The first half of the semester is over and the deadline for our final presentation approaches. Our think tank, the Institute for Peace in Partnership, has been busy and passionate in planning, researching and studying, which is why we are eager to continue with the next steps of our research project. These will include finishing the individual papers, further elaborate on our blog and organising a conference with academic experts and officials from the European Union and the African Union. As we find ourselves in the middle of our project, we will now look back and outline our main achievements so far.

Daily and weekly work 

At the core of our group work are our weekly meetings, which usually take place after our Capstone class every Thursday afternoon. Our president, Sophie Vériter, sets the schedule already the day before so that we have a structured agenda to follow and can settle one point after the other. During the meetings, everyone is encouraged to speak up and to communicate their ideas, which is why we spend a lot of time consulting each other and debating about the most efficient approaches to take. This illustrates that this project truly is a group project. Everyone can contribute outside their attributed special tasks and roles. Ingrid, our secretary, takes minutes responsibly during the meetings, on all issues discussed so that nothing is left to chance, which facilitates our work enormously.

Throughout the weeks, our professor lectured on issues relating to peacekeeping and our topic. This enabled us to further familiarize with Peacekeeping operations and UN-EU relations. The highlight however was the meeting with our client, Dr. Rory Keane, who briefed us on his expectations together with his colleague Ms. Annika Kohnert.

Recently, we all handed in our individual research proposals. This included already a detailed outline on how we plan to approach our research papers, our research questions, together with the preliminary structure of the papers (literature review, methodology and main analysis and preliminary bibliography). After Professor Koops gave us feedback on it, we are now more focused on the writing process.

Blogging Activities

In addition, our think tank members have been actively posting articles related to our topic on our blog. So far, our blog posts have been very diverse, depending on the concerns of our team members. For example, our vice-president Antonia wrote an informative article on the major achievements and contributions to Peacekeeping of former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who recently passed away. Our blog continues to be the main interface where we share interesting readings on peacekeeping and personal analyses of major events occurring in the field of peace and security.

Event planning

Up to now, our think tank has been deeply engaged in finding valuable guest speakers for the conference we are planning to organize on April 20th. Our objective is to bring together academics, experts and officials related to the work of the EU, the UN and the AU in the field of Peacekeeping. We are hoping to bring high quality ideas and views concerning peacekeeping operations in general, and more specifically on how trilateral cooperation has been working so far between these three organizations. We aim at sharing in depth knowledge to better understand how EU-UN-AU cooperation works in the field of peace and security and analyze how to further increase the effectiveness of their multilateral partnership.

Our achievements so far motivate us to continue engaging in our research project. In fact, we have been planning team-building sessions where we go on dinners together in order to allow our members to get to know each other better, which facilitate the effectiveness of our group work. We are all looking forward to the upcoming weeks as we are expecting to meet our objectives and come up with some new interesting insights we would be able to include in our final recommendations.

Dalil Djinnit and Antonia Rechberg

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