Women’s rights week at CES!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWomen’s rights week is starting at CES today. This is a week long project initiated by CES student, Alexia Fafara. Alexia is a first year MA student of a two-year Polish-French double degree programme, jointly run by the Institute of European Studies JU and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques at the University of Strasbourg. We have asked her some questions in order to present her “Women’s rights week” project to you. 


1. What has inspired you to organize Women’s rights week? 

I am a women’s rights activist for some years now and I think that every opportunity is good to seize even if it is just symbolic or at a very small scale. As far as CES is very open to all kinds of suggestions i just said to myself “Why not?”.

2. What is the aim of the project? 

The aim of the project is to raise awareness. Of course we are in a context where people are probably already aware of some problems but i often hear that there is no need to fight for women’s rights anymore because they are not threatened as they used to be. I totally disagree with this analysis. If we just take a look at what is happening  in Poland we clearly see that we have to be constantly ready to defend our rights and not to take things for granted. Women’s rights are threatened everywhere and Europe is not an exception.

Also, i often hear that 8th March should not exist, that there should not be a woman’s day and i take this opportunity to correct it: 8th March is not about celebrating a specific kind of woman or about making sales in supermarkets which are often absurd because they are spreading very sexist stereotypes like “Woman’s day: sales on washing machines” or as i saw yesterday on a billboard from a well-known supermarket where it was written : “Woman’s day: one shower gel bought, one for free”. The point is that it is not a  “woman’s day” but a “women’s rights day”. On this day, we raise awareness about the rights of ALL women. Actually, to achieve this goal everyone should be involved, women and men. It is all about understanding that when women will have the same opportunities as men, everyone will win from this situation.

3. Why do you think people should be interested in the project?

I don’t know if people will be interested, i just can hope! It would be great to see people involved as far as it is something that really have an impact on our everyday’s lives, for women as for men. I hope that a lot of people are going to take some time to stop on the hall of CES, to read the informations and to write some wishes on the board that is available all this week. And of course i hope it will inspire some people so we could create new projects for the next months.

4. What events are planned?

I planned three things. First of all you can find on the hall of CES a “Make a wish for women board” and some informations about women’s rights in EU and in the world. Everyone can write a wish regarding women’s rights on this board: it can be something you consider as a priority for women’s rights in 2017 or simply a general wish. On Wednesday, we transform the usual movie night of CES into a special movie night by broadcasting the movie “Solidarnosci wedlug kobiet”. This movie underlines the crucial role of Polish women into the movement Solidarnosc. This is an opportunity to remember that history is also written by women and that they deserve to see their fight acknowledged. Eventually on Friday at 7pm in Massolit, we will be really glad to have a discussion with Professor Smadar Lavie from the Department of Ethnic Studies  in the University of California, through the topic “Mizrahi Feminism and Palestine at the Crossroads”.  That is all for this week but i plan to organize other things during the semester.

5. Do you have any suggestions for students who are thinking about starting a project of their own?

As a good friend of mine would say: Just do it! Don’t think it is not important or that your action does not matter because it does, even at a small level. Moreover, CES Staff is very supportive and will be happy to hear your ideas.

Take your work seriously and challenge yourself!

One of the CES specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track offers students to lead their own research project or take part in the Internship Programme. Read the interview with Alex from US, one of the students that used this opportunity and he had an internship at New Eastern Europe magazine.

Why was it worth it to be an intern at NEE?Alex B

My internship experience at New Eastern Europe complemented my coursework at CES very well, I was able to get relevant professional experience while completing my MA classes, and I made valuable professional contacts.  I would encourage all incoming CES students to pursue internship opportunities!

What did you learn during your internship?

I learned a lot about the whole editorial process of a regional current affairs magazine — everything from generating ideas, to soliciting commentary from authors, to formatting the outlook of the issue before publication. I was also able to write two book reviews for the print edition, which was a very valuable experience.

What was the most challenging?

The most challenging thing was to balance the demands of the internship with other schoolwork, but luckily New Eastern Europe was very flexible in this regard.

Why is worth it to be an intern in general?

You can gain professional experience while getting academic credit at the same time, which counts toward your MA coursework requirements.  Doing an internship helped me to finish the program requirements—besides the thesis, of course—in one academic year.

Tips from Alex on how to take maximum advantage from an Internship.

  1.   Find something that complements your coursework and is relevant to your interests and career goals.
  2.   Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.
  3.   Network with your colleagues at the internship.
  4.   Take your work seriously, but have fun with it!

Thank you Alex!

be a wanted specialist

Be a wanted specialist!

Do you think of a research/expert career? Would you like to learn more about what it means to research? Meet some of the CES Alumni who are now successfully conducting their doctoral studies and who are willing to share their thoughts about it.

Alex Pomiecko from USA, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. If you want to follow her steps, we encourage you to check out the specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES which focuses on research management and prepares students to act as experts in the future. See how possible it is!

Alex Who is a researcher/expert? What is the role of researchers/experts today?

A researcher is someone who dedicates him or herself to a particular area of interest and utilizes the tools available to them to the best of their knowledge and capability. The role and uses of a researcher are varied; they can be as limited to a personal interest in a specific subject to a consulting position in a company.

How did you discover you would like to become a researcher?

My decision to pursue a research-based field was based on an early personal, academic interest in history. As I continued my university studies, I took courses related to the field and was able to refine my specific interests. Finally, I began to look at career and professional options related to my interests and narrowed it down to a research-based one. It seemed the best suited for my personality, goals, and work ethic.

What are your research areas of interests? Why did you choose those? How do you work on it?

My research focuses on Central and East European history; specifically, Belarusian and Polish history of partisans and guerrilla groups from 1915 to 1943. I knew for several years that I was interested in history in this particular region. As I continued my university studies, I took opportunities that would allow me to explore options pertaining to this type of study, and it is in this way that I was able to determine whether or not a research-related path was the right one for me. In my specific case, this came about through writing research papers, learning foreign languages, working in various archives, as well as talking to people who were pursuing a research-field in history. Lastly, I thought about a topic and research questions that were lacking in the historiographical field. This allowed me to choose an understudied subject that could hopefully be marketable for the future.

What keeps you motivated from day to day?

Ultimately, it is a strong passion and interest in the topic that motivates me. Furthermore, having a dedicated supervisor and group of peers makes the experience more rewarding and enjoyable.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a researcher/expert? What is the most challenging?

The most rewarding part is that I truly get to learn and work on a topic of my interest. Having the opportunity to be able to research and study something is rewarding in itself. In my case, being able to speak with people who are equally interested in similar topics makes it equally worthwhile, as I can share my ideas and many times, learn from others. That being said, there are, of course, many hurdles in the process that make the research challenging. These can be as minor as bureaucratic difficulties in accessing documents in the archives, to dealing with individuals who do not share your views and can be detrimental to your research development.

What kind of skills should a researcher/ expert develop?

Patience, dedication, motivation, and openness are equally important and vital to a researcher. These usually come automatically if someone is truly interested in what they want to study. There are, of course, minor skills that are more tailored to each research project; for example language skills, computer/technological skills, etc. Being able to work both with people and individually is another asset.

What is your advice for students who want to become a researcher/ expert?

I would recommend being flexible with your interests and research pursuits. Taking the time to think about a topic is vital, as in most cases it is something you will be working on for many years to come. Rushing into a project may prove to be weary and not enjoyable. This can be remedied by talking to people in these respective fields or university departments, who are working on issues you are interested in. Furthermore, while the research process itself is narrow and quite subject-specific, will the outcome of your research provide you with opportunities in the future?

Thank you Aleks!

be a wanted specialist

Be a wanted specialist!

Do you think of a research/expert career? Would you like to learn more about what it means to research? With this new series of articles you will have an opportunity to meet some of the CES Alumni who are now successfully conducting their doctoral studies and who are willing to share their thoughts about it. Adrian Favero from Switzerland, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh will be the first to do it. If you want to follow his steps, we encourage you to check out the specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES which focuses on research management and prepares students to act as experts in the future. See how possible it is!

Adrian AWho is a researcher/expert? What is the role of researchers/experts today?

Personally, I would describe a researcher/expert as someone who spends a lot of time reading and analysing a certain topic of interest. Through learning and experience, the researcher obtains intellectual and academic capacities, such as to think critically and the ability to convert information into high-quality written work.

How did you discover you would like to become a researcher?

During my research for my MA thesis, I realised that I enjoyed gathering and organising information and to analyse the data with statistical methods to explain the observed phenomenon. I also liked the process of writing and finding a way to state my arguments in a manner that made them comprehensible for the readers. Moreover, I want to gain more knowledge in the area of my personal interest and I would like to convey this knowledge to students, once I have completed my studies.

What are your research areas of interests? Why did you choose those? How do you work on it? What keeps you motivated from day to day?

Generally, I focus in my research on European Union politics. More specifically, I examine identity related opinions and behaviour towards the EU. Growing up in Switzerland, a country where anything related to the EU is debated controversially, made me want to learn more about the relationships between place-based identities and the view on the EU. Currently, I am at the stage within my PhD where I read books and increase my knowledge about the topic. I also meet with my supervisors regularly to discuss my findings. In my opinion, the key to being motivated is, to be interested in the topic.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a researcher/expert? What is the most challenging?

 I think the reward of doing a PhD is first and foremost intrinsic. I would like to think of my work as being interesting and maybe meaningful one day. I am free in how I accomplish my work and I believe in the approach that I am taking. I feel satisfied when I learn something new and discover a new angle to my investigations. Another aspect is, to meet new people from all over the world who share the same interests. The interactions and discussions with them are very interesting and fruitful.

One of the biggest challenges is the self-management of the studies. Doing a PhD requires a high degree of self-motivation and self-structuring. It is easy to lose track since nobody forces the researcher to so something. It’s on them to make progress.

What kind of skills should a researcher/ expert develop?

A researcher should develop the ability to think critically, analyse carefully and to work to high standards.

What is your advice for students who want to become a researcher/ expert?

You should like to read and to study. You should be able to work independently and enjoy being part of the academic environment.

Thank you Adrian!

be a wanted specialist

Why is it worth it to intern?

Practical experience is most valued at the start of your professional career. A new specialization at CES: MA in European Studies – Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track combines high quality academic knowledge with practical courses about professional research know-how, management and usage which will enable students to either lead their own research project or participate in the Internship programme. This innovative idea will prepare young professionals for future challenges which they will face in the labor market.

We have asked some of our students who have already gained experience through interning, “What is interning worth to you?”.

Lana, France: It is truly worth being an intern because you acquire abilities that cannot be pursued in class, such as autonomy, responsibility and a great sense of self-confidence. It is also an efficient way of preparing yourself for the professional world. I would also add that doing an internship helps you specify your professional project and allows you to experience some paths that you would have never thought about if it had not been for an internship.

Alena, Czech Republic: Practice is priceless and can give an experience that school cannot provide because everyone has to live it on their own. An internship allows you to deepen your knowledge (you learn as you go, you are really lame at the begining etc.), you are able to discuss with and learn from experienced colleagues, see how the daily rythm in an organization/company works. It is also a good opportunity to see whether you would like to do this kind of work later on, and it is definitely helpful to have some experience before looking for a job, as employers ask for it. And plus, you meet some great people!

Claudia, France: Internship is an added value, because in the labour market it is an advantage and makes a difference when there are a lot of candidates for a position or job. An internship is proof that you are able to work in the real world and not only through books. Finally, it helps personally to learn and redefine our interest in the labour market; working with ideas or with theories can be very different from reality. Sometimes a job can seem interesting but being interested in a job and working in the field with can be completely different. That is why an internship and immersion in the work can help to redefine these borders.

Australian European Network

The Australian European Network gives students the opportunity to study (either a semester or full year) at one of its Australian universities. Student may apply for this exchange until February 1, 2013. The Network includes the following 7 universities:

·         New South Wales: Macquarie University

·         New South Wales: University of Western Sydney

·         New South Wales: University of Wollongong

·         Queensland: Griffith University

·         Tasmania: University of Tasmania

·         Victoria: Deakin University

·         Western Australia: Edith Cowan University.

Students may apply for the 2nd semester of the 2012/2013 academic year (in Australia this is July-December 2013) and/or the 1st semester of the 2013/2014 academic year (beginning of January/February 2014).

Required documents:

1. Candidate’s Application

2. Language proficiency certificate (if applicable, minimum level B2)

3. CV, including information about student’s involvement in activities such as internships, student associations, publications, awards, etc.

4. Transcript (minimum GPA must be a 4 out of 5)

Complete documents should be submitted to the BOSZ office (ul. Gołębia 24, pok. 30) by February 1, 2pm)

* The Jagiellonian University does not provide scholarships for this exchange. The student who qualifies for this programme covers all costs.


Language-based Area Studies

ESRC Scottish Doctoral Training Centre

Available Scholarships – Application deadline is 30 March 2012

The call for high quality applications for the academic session 2012/13 is now open.

CRCEES is particularly keen for high quality applicants in the field of post-Enlargement studies. This links into the wider research initiatives of  the centre through the joint UACES/CRCEES sponsored Assessing Accession network.

CRCEES is part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science which is a unique collaboration between universities in Scotland to make available outstanding research training to doctoral students in the social sciences.

At the heart of the Graduate School is the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) in Scotland. Established in 2011 as the biggest in the ESRC’s UK-wide network of training centres, the Scottish DTC offers ESRC-accredited training in 24 different training pathways. Each pathway involves collaboration across a number of Scottish universities to make sure the best expertise gets to the right students.

One of these pathways, the Language-based Area Studies (LBAS) pathway, is based on new, shared training provision between the two Scotland-based LBAS Centres of Excellence (Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies (CRCEES) and Centre for Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW)).

ESRC-funded PhD studentships in Language-based Area Studies in the field of Russian, Central and East European Studies are available at the University of Glasgow through CRCEES. These annual scholarships are offered on the following models depending upon your prior qualifications:

  • 2+3 years – Master of Research (MRes) in Russian, Central and East European Studies + intensive language training to advanced level + PhD
  • 1+3 years – Master of Research (MRes) in Russian, Central and East European Studies or intensive language training to advanced level + PhD
  • +3 years – PhD study

For CRCEES Applications, how to apply: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/postgraduateresearch/researchcouncilsukrcuk/esrc/howtoapply/

DTC Submission Contact: Ms Leeann Stevenson, Leeann.Stevenson@glasgow.ac.uk

For further information please contact:

Professor Richard Berry, CRCEES Director, Richard.Berry@Glasgow.ac.uk or Ann Mulholland
CRCEES Administrator Ann.Mulholland@glasgow.ac.uk

College of Europe Scholarships

The College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw) has announced the Bronislaw Geremek Scholarship Fund, which offers ten scholarships to history graduates wishing to pursue the European Studies program in 2012-2013. All interested may apply online and send a completed application to the Admissions Office of the College of Europe in Bruges. Application deadline is January 15, 2012. See website for more details,  College of Europe – Geremek Scholarship .