Week Three and Four of the EUCACIS PhD Support Programme in Berlin

The third week of the EUCACIS Research Training Stay started with two inter­active workshops, where fellows learned to collect and analyze quali­tative data. These workshops allowed fellows to expand their knowledge on data usage and collection that could be put into their theses. The following day, fellows continued to prepare for their policy paper presen­ta­tions, and then concluded the day with a trip to one of the main German democratic insti­tu­tions, the Bundestag. Fellows were given the oppor­tunity to explore and see the German parliament building and explore its rich history. Wednesday was a day for presen­tation of policy papers with peers, followed by a lunch debate. Our fellow Violetta led the first debate on the topic “reflecting on statehood and security”. The second debate, led by fellow Bahodur, was on “Global gover­nance in the context of climate change”. Subse­quently, fellows had thought-provoking discus­sions and debates on problems and solutions. An early morning workshop the following day demons­trated hands-on statis­tical data analysis. The rest of the day was used for more individual research. Friday morning gave fellows the chance to visit the German Foreign Office, where they were able to have a round­table discussion with Michael Siebert, and ask questions related to foreign policy in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. After the trip, fellows were allowed to use the rest of the day to do more individual research and prepare for inter­views. On Saturday, they visited the Wannsee lake just outside of Berlin.

The last week of the research training stay consisted of many different activities for the fellows. On Monday they continued to conduct individual research and inter­views. This day was used as an independent day for fellows to really focus on their papers during their last week. Most of the following day also consisted of more individual research, but the end of the day included a trip to the Research Division of the German Institute for Inter­na­tional and Security Affairs. EUCACIS fellows had the chance to see the heart of a leading security affairs think tank in Germany, and were allowed to ask questions relating to their work. The third day of the week allowed fellows to do some more prepa­ration for their policy presen­ta­tions, yet there was also another lunch debate. The debate was led by EUCACIS fellow Azad, and the topic was “The issue of energy and infra­st­ructure”. With a topic so interesting and relevant to today’s world in almost every region, fellows had an intri­guing and deep discussion and debate. It was followed by more time to present policy papers, and of course the weekly collo­quium. Thursday morning allowed our fellows time to plan for future milestones for their PhD theses as they got ready to depart back home. One last trip was taken to the Federal Ministry for Economic Coope­ration and Develo­pment. This department tackles many of the issues of economic develo­pment around the world, and fellows were very intrigued by the trip. The last day of the research training stay was on Friday the 28th of July. Some of the fellows were selected for an interview that will be included in our EUCACIS newsletter. They then had lunch with IEP and CIFE staff where they were able to discuss many topics. Fellows also asked questions and sought guidance from the staff that would help them in the future before they leave Germany and return to their respective home countries. The final part of the EUCACIS session was a debriefing where fellows went through a summary of the entire research training stay, and were given the chance to give a personal evaluation of the program. They then had the rest of Friday and Saturday to enjoy Berlin. The research training stay was a success, and fellows were able to advance their theses and learn lots of relevant infor­mation through inter­active workshops, lectures, one-on-one consul­ta­tions, trips and lunch debates. IEP and CIFE are looking forward to the second portion of the EUCACIS training stay!