Researching at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

I recently spent a month and a half at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), one of Europe’s largest think tanks for peace and conflict studies, for the primary purpose of doing empirical research for my master’s thesis. As I investigate the contributions approaches to strategic management can make to mitigating some of the nuclear non-proliferation regime’s main deadlocks and lines of contention, I was hence fortunate enough to draw on the Institute’s elaborate expertise and resources.

These became of use to me primarily in the form of frequent conversations with PRIF’s experts on multiple aspects of the field and regular visits to its comprehensive library. As a result, I received considerable support in finding most relevant and recent literature. During weekly one-hour meetings with my two PRIF supervisors, I was given the opportunity to present the progress of my work and ask questions. Not only was my output met with considerable interest owed to its interdisciplinary approach the two were not familiar with, I was also lucky enough to take away  some useful and constructive criticism.

What is more, due to one of my supervisor’s referrals to an external expert with regard to a specific question I posed to him, I ended up with an offer to join said expert on her trip to the two-week Preparatory Committee to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty’s Review Conference at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, which will be held during the first two weeks of May. Thanks to the generous support of the Brandt School, I will be able to attend the conference for a week in order to gain first-hand insights into the inner workings of the Treaty’s review mechanism and NGOs’ respective influence.

In sum, temporarily venturing outside Erfurt for research purposes has granted me access to knowledge, materials and opportunities I would hardly have come across otherwise. Needless to say, having lived in “Mainhattan”, one of the country’s most palpably diverse cities, both in terms of culture and income distribution, has been quite an experience in itself.

by: Christian Dietrich (Germany)