Syrian conflict debate: Seeing the smaller picture

Will Syria break apart along sectarian lines? What are the origins of the conflict? What are the pros and cons of a US-led intervention? How is the war impacting individual lives? These were among the questions of a panel debate on the Syrian civil crisis at Maastricht University in October 2013.

UNSMIS Continue reading

AlumniWatch: New Governance Insights from Jordan

For the latest in a new series featuring top alumni, we asked Dr. Zina Nimeh to share her impressions of the PhD programme and how it has shaped her career. Zina speaks of what brought her to Maastricht, the challenges of gathering data in the Middle East, and the poignancy of completing the course during the ‘Arab Spring’.

I joined the world of academia a bit later than the average academic. My professional career in policy making was fulfilling and rewarding, but I somehow felt that it lacked the depth and academic rigour that would make it truly meaningful. This is why when I learned of the launch of a new PhD programme in Maastricht, backed with funding from the Marie Curie Research foundation, I was intrigued!

Set to begin in the fall of 2005, the interdisciplinary programme offered a state-of-the-art curriculum taught by prominent scholars in a wide scope of fields ranging from economics, to sociology to political science. It promised to equip prospective researchers with an all-embracing combination of theoretical education, technical skills and personally tailored areas of knowledge which would be utilized through “evidenced based policy making”.

Continue reading

First Impressions: Press Review March 2013

Welcome to our monthly internal press review, featuring the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance: from working papers to policy reports to entire books.

Our March output includes 10 working papers, four journal articles, two PhD theses, and two research reports for the European Commission and United Nations Development Programme. For innovation, topics range from the aerospace industry, to nanotechnology, to R&D patents and productivity. For governance, we look into urban sustainability, economic vulnerability, and communities of learning. Geographically, the focus spreads from Latin America, through Europe and the Arab world, via Singapore to China, drawing on real-world data from more than 160 countries.

Students from the Khan Younis Training Centre in Gaza, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), test drive a Formula 1-style car they have built, mostly out of recycled parts. Continue reading