- Welcome to our fourth and absolutely final newsletter of 2020, rounding up the latest news and views on our research, training and education programmes.
- This time we’re looking forward to UN Day at the Peace Palace in The Hague, before moving online for a virtual Master’s Open Day, while also hosting events on innovation and sanitation, migration and reintegration, and intercultural exchange. Find all our forthcoming events here.
- We then look back over recent outreach spearheaded by our new director Bartel Van de Walle (pictured), who this week reached out to both local leaders and climate-striking teenagers. We then zoom in on recent output, starting with two policy briefs in the context of COVID-19: first on how to ensure ‘e-resilience’ in education, then on how to ‘build back better’ with a Bauhaus mindset. See our latest publications here.
- As ever, our guiding themes are the push and pull of international development: innovation through science and entrepreneurship (#SDG9), and governance through public policy analysis (#SDG16).
- To celebrate UN Day, this Saturday 24 October, the President of the International Court of Justice will host the Dutch Foreign Minister and our partner Dr Alanna O'Malley (pictured), Chair of UN Studies at Leiden University. Following on from our UN75 Dialogue held in September, the talks will feed into a special youth report on UN reform. Three of our Master’s students will travel IN PERSON to The Hague to join this high-level UN dialogue. Watch the livestream here.
- The ‘Maastricht Migration Lecture Series’ will kick off on Wednesday 28 October, starting with the provocative question: Does citizenship matter? This lecture will discuss the controversial and complex relations between immigrant naturalisation and life experiences in host societies. Then on Thursday 12 November we’ll co-host a special introduction to the topic of Migrant Reintegration, along with our sister institute UNU-CRIS and the broader UNU Migration Network. Both events will be streamed LIVE on our YouTube homepage.
- We all have dreams, but few are as fulsome as these two workshops for World Toilet Day on Thursday 19 November. We’ll first dive into the issue of sanitation, asking isn’t it time to break down the silo? Once that’s out of our cistern, we’ll move swiftly on to al fresco action - in a bid to rid the world of open defecation.
- Dr Katie Kuschminder (pictured) won a ‘Starting Grant’ from the European Research Council in September 2020. Designed for postdocs, the 1.5 million euro grant will enable Katie to form her own research team focusing on reintegration governance for migrants. Katie said her Reintegrate project will “develop a theoretical framework for understanding reintegration governance and test this framework in four countries with original data collection in Ethiopia, Morocco, Nepal and Serbia. The results of the project will provide valuable insights for academia, government and society in international relations and global migration governance.”
- Director Bartel Van de Walle joined us in September 2020, and immediately took time out from his honeymoon period to speak with the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels (UNRIC). And there he shared a personal epiphany: how events in New York turned his attention from abstract mathematics to concrete decision making. Then in October 2020 he told the regional governor that he wanted to raise our profile locally – to ensure we're known not just for our research but also for youth engagement and climate action.
- On hearing the news that the World Food Programme had won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2020, WFP chief David Beasley said: “Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger… We work closely with governments, local and international organizations and private sector partners whose passion for helping the hungry and vulnerable equals ours. We could not possibly help anyone without them.” UNU-MERIT is proud to have a long-term working relationship with the WFP in the Gambia, Kenya and Malawi.
- How on earth can we ‘build back better’ post-pandemic? How can we reset the ways we produce, consume, socialise and interact? Over the last few months, we’ve contributed at least three policy papers on this most pressing issue: from the Future Possibilities Report, released under the UN75 banner in July 2020, to a policy brief on E-resilience in education: A conceptual framework published in September 2020, and then a second brief on The 4Bs: Follow Bauhaus to build back a better world, hot off the PDF in October 2020.
- A new report from the International Labour Organization, released in September 2020, featured the work of five researchers at UNU-MERIT. Entitled ‘Youth Aspirations and the Future of Work’, the report asks: How can young people around the world – even the most marginalised – navigate the fast-moving currents of modern labour markets? And how can UN agencies, national governments and partners help young people in to decent, lasting employment? The short answer is this: create policies that are truly fit for purpose, as well as policies that match ambitions with demands and skills with requirements.
- UNICEF Kyrgyzstan released a couple of commissioned reports by two of our researchers in October 2020. First, a multidimensional poverty assessment for the Kyrgyz Republic (pictured), described by the lead author as “a great example of the policy impact of our work”. Second, a position paper on social assistance for poor families with children, which went on to weigh up child poverty rates and social assistance needs in the context of COVID-19.
- ‘Coffee before cycling’ is the motto of Shivani Achrekar (pictured), who graduated from our Master’s programme before going on to coordinate not just our Community of Learning for Africa (COLA), but also our Evidence-based Policy Research Methods course (EPRM) and our part-time PhD programme (GPAC2). At a certain point, though, she had to shift gear and slide away. Well, now she’s back in town as a leading entrepreneur, running two cafes that blend her need for speed (and spokes) with a love of double shots. PS, apply by 15 December 2020 to join our next EPRM course!
- Master’s alumnus Rodolpho Zannin Feijó joined the first online edition of the UM Alumni Week as a guest speaker from his home city of Curitiba in Brazil. During a lively conversation with prospective students, he shared his experience as head of the city’s International Affairs Office and looked back on his Master’s studies in Maastricht. His six highlights included: ambition, diversity, passion and the need for a 'wider vision'. Want to know more? Join our online Master's Open Day on 21 November 2020.
- Until next time, in hopefully a happier new year, please check our social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. You can also stay up-to-date on all our major publications via our monthly ‘First Impressions’ roundup.
- But wait! For anyone stoical enough to have read this far, we have an invitation for you. On 10-11 December 2020, we’ll host a combined training session with media experts from The Conversation UK and Piktochart (pictured). So… are you are a research or PhD fellow at UNU-MERIT who wants to repaint this ivory tower? Do you want to learn how to pitch your work to editors, translate your research into common parlance, AND produce infographics to explain complex ideas in a visual, accessible format? Then please send a 5-line pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org on why your work should reach a wider audience and how it relates to ONE SDG. The best 20 pitches will be invited to join us in December.
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