What do you do at the Brandt School?
I am a Research Associate at the Franz Haniel Chair of Public Policy and a PhD student at the Willy Brandt School. In my research, I focus on international climate governance as well as on energy transitions and social-environmental movements. I am interested in case studies in the Global South, especially in the African context. Last semester, I gave a seminar on international climate governance and the Global South, this semester’s seminar focuses on international environmental politics.
What did you do before joining the Brandt School?
Prior to joining the Brandt School, I completed the Master’s programme ‘Climate Studies’ at the Environmental Policy Chair Group of Wageningen University and Research (the Netherlands). Further, I held internships at different institutions, such as the Energy Watch Group in Berlin, the German Development Institute (DIE), and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
When and why did you join the Brandt School?
I joined the Brandt School in summer 2020 because I liked the international environment at the Brandt School with students and employees coming from a variety of different countries and with interdisciplinary backgrounds. Having myself an interdisciplinary background – Geography, African Development Studies, and Environmental Policy – I thought that the Brandt School has a very good environment for my research. At the same time, I appreciate the opportunity to teach climate and environmental policy issues while also learning from our international students and their personal and work experience.
How was the experience of teaching? Have you done this before the Brandt School?
I tutored secondary school students in Math, taught German as a foreign language for children in primary school, and worked in a kindergarten in Kenya. However, all these experiences probably do not count as teaching experience in the sense of the question. So, to be precise, before joining the Brandt School, I had no experience of teaching at universities.
Thus, setting up a seminar and teaching it was a totally new and very exciting as well as interesting experience. For me, it was great to see how students participated and engaged in the seminar and how they have steadily enhanced their understanding of climate governance. Especially since climate governance and the Global South – the topic of my seminar – is the topic that has guided me in many ways over the last years, it was nice to see how the students thought about the topic. Particularly their perspectives and examples from their countries were not only a valuable contribution for the other students, but also for me. Therefore, the seminar was a mutual learning experience.
Do you plan to follow the academic path after finishing your PhD at the Brandt School?
Since I am still at an early stage of my PhD, this is quite a difficult question. However, what I can say for now is that doing qualitative field research for my Bachelor's Thesis and my Master's Thesis and being able to draw conclusions from my own independent research at the end, were the most fascinating moments of my studies. Therefore, I can very well imagine continuing to work in research and in academia.
What do you like most about the Brandt School?
The Brandt School offers students and employees alike a unique familiar atmosphere. Unfortunately, so far I have been able to experience this mainly in the virtual space, but I am looking forward to the time when face-to-face meetings are possible again so that I can experience the Brandt School family to its full extent.
Interviewed by The Bulletin Editorial Team