The Bulletin
Willy Brandt School

Resilience and Women’s Strategies for Protection

Tue 02. Aug 2016, Category: General, by wbsstudentblog

by Aline Mugishu

Aline Mugisho is back from an extensive field trip to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of her doctoral research: “Protection Through Social Resilience: An analysis of women strategies for protection in Eastern DRC.”

Aline is a DAAD-funded PhD student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. While in DRC, she was hosted by Oxfam Novib (Netherlands) and interviewed national and international NGOs, women movements, Congolese Government officials, Community and church based organisations, the police and army as well as women themselves. Using the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) data collection tools, she worked with women at all levels to identify informal strategies they develop to protect themselves and elaborate on how these can be used to create sustainable protection for women in DRC.

In 12 villages, Aline conducted participatory research through which women (educated and uneducated) came together in groups and contributed to constructing a protection flower using the CMM’s daisy model (commonly referred to as marguerita). Each petal of the flower symbolized a meaning women attached to protection, identified whose duty it is to protect and which tools should be used. The daisies were filled with arts, dots and any other means that women were comfortable with in expressing their ideas of protection. Additionally, women expressed how they conceive ideas and how they communicate them using traditionally popular channels that have been used in the past to communicate or send out a message within their community. At this point, women drew their own action map using CMM’s serpentine and hierarchy model and defined critical moments but also patterns of protection as well as the timeframe that women have taken to attain it.

From the village to the city, Aline met with women movements, non-profit organizations and other institutions protecting women in the city to establish the link between formal protection strategies and the informal ones in the villages. In these interviews she learnt the various meaning of protection for women in a somewhat similar conflict situation but living in different areas. Her field trip was concluded with meetings with four national ministers having the mandate to protect women in DRC.


WBS Student Kanishka Wahidi Wins Kardan University “40 under 40” Prize!

Tue 28. Jun 2016, Category: Alumni and Career, by wbsstudentblog

Kanishka Wahidi, second year student of Master of Public Policy at the Willy Brandt School has recently received a prestigious award from Kardan University in Afghanistan. Kardan University is the first private university of Afghanistan, educating more than 5000 students per year and an alumni group of 1500 graduates. The “40 under 40” award recognizes 40 top young Kardan university’s alumni and students who have made an extra ordinary achievement in their professional career and academic endeavors in 2016.

Mr. Wahidi studied his Bachelor in Economics in this university during 2008 to 20012. He held the first position throughout his 4 years in his term and graduated with the highest CGPA of 1.00. He was also awarded Gold Medal by the Minister of Higher Education of Afghanistan in 2013.

Mr. Wahidi has more than 5 years of professional work experience in the field of development, governance and humanitarian aid. He has worked in the ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Rural Development in Afghanistan. He also served in international NGOs, such as International Rescue Committee (IRC) and The Asia Foundation in Afghanistan. His recently worked as Head of Evaluation and Research Unit in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Afghanistan. He is now a DAAD Scholarship holder to study in Willy Brandt School in Germany.

Further details:

Brandt School Students Visit the Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society

Wed 25. May 2016, Category: Alumni and Career, by wbsstudentblog

By Frederike Kipper

Studying economic and regional policy making in classes such as European Project Management or Building Competitiveness At The Regional And National Level are one thing, but hearing from first-had experience of a practitioner are certainly adding immense value to the classes at Brandt School. For that, students of the First and Second year joined the excursion to the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society organized by Hosea Handoyo. Here, they were able to learn more about regional development policies and priorities of the Thuringian Public Administration by the head of the Regional Development Department, Dr. Sabine Awe.

Thuringia faces a multitude of structural problems, many still as the aftermath of the GDR times. The main challenge for the state lies with increasing the productivity and attracting innovative business to Thuringia. And as stressed many times, the state has a lot to offer, but lacks enough public awareness. Many well-educated young graduates, a strong science base, successful clusters and the commitment of the public sector to support regional development are only a few of the positive location factors coming into play. After the presentation, Dr. Awe took the time to answer questions of the audience. Many students had questions about e.g. the viability of the Erfurt airport for the Thuringian infrastructure, about Thuringia’s efforts to engage with global players in Asia or the USA and of course, the role of internationals in Thuringia. Dr. Awe was able to give good inputs to the complicated situation that Thuringia finds itself in and engaged in a lively debate with students – despite the fact that the conversation was held in German. Translations by German Brandt School students helped the group and thus, a fruitful knowledge exchange was possible.

New insights and certainly, a lot of information about the policy challenges and opportunities in Thuringia were the result of this visit. And one thing was very clear – policy making takes time and thinking about solutions does require more than what can be found in a text-book. This visit was certainly an important stepping stone for all participants on their path to become policy analysist and maybe, even policy makers in the future.

Commitment Awards 2015

Mon 29. Feb 2016, Category: Commitment Award, by wbsstudentblog

By Nádia Guerlenda Cabral

During a wonderful ceremony on July 12th, which took place in the Kaisersaal, the winners of the 2015 Commitment Award were announced.

1st prize: Jessie Jhon Mateo-Magkilat (Philippines) and Hannah Yan-Wai Saley (Canada)

reading on wheels Sample Pamphlet jpeg

Their project “Reading on Wheels” aims to bring the joy of reading to street children in the Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro. The prize money helped to purchase little trolleys and books and the project is fully functioning. Volunteers from Cagayan de Oro-based Xavier University go to the streets and read stories to the kids. For their project, the winners benefited from the Brandt School’s global Alumni network: Manilee Pañares, MPP student in Erfurt from 2012 to 2014, works at Xavier University and lends her support to the project.

2nd prize: Theresia Nkafu Atemkeng (Cameroon)

2nd Prize

The project “Shelter to Educate” provides a scholarship for two years accommodation and school fee support to three women between 18 and 25 years from rural communities in the Buea region of Cameroon.  This is done by implementing a special housing model, where coaching and mentoring by the landlord is a part of the educational process. The project was so successful that it was able to provide accommodation to one more beneficiary than originally planned.

3rd prize: George Ayuune Akeliwira (Ghana)


The project “Giving Hope to Hopeless Tomatoes Farmers of Zorko” supports farmers in the North of Ghana by providing water pumps to the rural community of Zorko, where more than 90 percent of the population is depending on agriculture and water supply is a big problem in the dry season.

Rethinking the Internship

Thu 07. Jan 2016, Category: General, by wbsstudentblog

By Bonnie Bethea 

I realized there was nothing to do but go, so I did.” – Cheryl Strayed

In her memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed vividly wrote about her experiences hiking 1,800 km at age twenty-two. Like many twenty-two year old girls, she was both devastated by the uncertainty of life and craving for more. One year into my masters, I too found myself at a crossroads. I had realized that, despite my interest in Transatlantic relations, there was more to the world than just the US and the EU. I had begun to look at the world through the lens of not what the US and the EU do but how is the rest of the world impacted by what the US and the EU do. Through the coursework and the friends that I made at the Brandt School, my interest in Eastern Europe grew beyond the conventional borders of the EU. After just two semesters, I became the young woman eccentric and brave enough to take an internship in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.

I interned at the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS), a research institution located right in the city center. By interning at the KCSS, I was afforded the opportunity to take advantage of the Brandt School’s network, because my mentor, Donika Emini, is an alumni of the Brandt School. Working for an alumni was a really special experience; we were able to share stories of cliche Brandt School experiences and I was constantly reassured that there is life after grad school. More importantly, because my mentor was familiar with the Brandt School curriculum, she was able to assign me projects that I enjoyed and felt fully capable of doing. Through the KCSS, I was able to expand my knowledge and experience with US-EU relations by applying it to the comparative cases of Kosovo and Crimea.

All the same, more significant than the internship itself was the experience of living in Kosovo for six weeks. I had never expected that I would go to Kosovo during my lifetime. I had so many preconceived notions and stereotypes of a place that I had only heard of because of the NATO intervention in the late 90s. In Pristina, I did not find the war torn country I was expecting. Instead, I only found peace. Kosovars’ kindness is contagious; I have never lived in a place before where you see so many people smiling and laughing all the time. Somehow, Kosovo taught me that all the self-induced anxiety that most young people experience is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

To aspiring Brandt School students and affiliates, I write this because I think we should re-think what an internship really means. I encourage students to pick an internship based not solely on the prestige of an institution, but on the experience it would offer as a whole. I gained a lot more as a person choosing to relocate to a post-conflict country like Kosovo, where I knew absolutely no one, than I would have gained doing an internship back in New York State, where I am from, or even in Germany. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone will teach you resilience, independence, and confidence; traits I think both the public and private sector would like to see in an employee. To make it short and simple, just be daring and go. If all of the sudden you find yourself hitchhiking solo through the Balkans, then you may too discover an inner strength you never realized was possible.

Good Governance Debate Series 2015

Wed 30. Dec 2015, Category: Conference, by wbsstudentblog

 By George Akeliwira

In September this year, I had the privilege of participating in the 2015 edition of the Good Governance Debate Series in Stuttgart, organized by CLEAN Africa and supported by the African Good Governance Network. In 2007, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), under the auspices of the former German Federal President Horst Köhler initiated an African Good Governance Network (AGGN) with a mission to foster academic collaboration between Africa and Germany and to support key players in the domain of Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Myself and three others represented the Brandt School. The other schools that participated in this year’s debate included the universities of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Lueneburg and Passau. We took part in a two-day debate training and were given twelve topics to study for the debate itself. Each school had to do four rounds of debates and the first two schools that scored the highest points would debate in the grand finale. The schools that followed with higher points would compete for a third position in the finals. The school that scored the least points was out of the competition.

At the end of the first phase of the debate, the Willy Brandt School and Uni Passau earned the highest points and went on to compete in the grand finale. Uni Lueneberg and Uni Stuttgart followed in points earned, going on to compete for the third position. Uni Hohenheim scored the least points and was out of the competition at this stage. In the finals, it was decided that Uni Passau won the 2015 edition of the GGDS. Of the three best speakers that were selected by the jury, two of them came from Willy Brandt and the other from Uni Passau. The Willy Brandt School had earlier defeated Uni Passau during the preliminaries, however, the tables turned in the finals.

Beyond the debating skills acquired during the training, I was also glad that a platform was offered to us to explore the impact of the EU development policy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which is traced back in 1975 through the Lomé Conventions to the Cotonou Agreement of 2000 and most recently the thorny and controversial Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations. The debate actually pushed me to do an in-depth assessment of the repercussions of the EPAs on SSA, particularly on food security. Most importantly, it has broadened my perspective on the EU’s development policy towards the global south. The experience was stupendous.

Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!


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