International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme hosts its Annual Postgraduate Day

Monday, 24 July 2017

Dr Tina Managhan chairs one of the MA panels

Throughout the day academic staff enjoyed hearing about the wide range of research topics being investigated by both our PhD students and our current MA International Relations cohort. Prospective students also joined us and were given both an introduction to our new MA courses in International Relations and International Security and a chance to meet staff and current students over lunch.

Guest lecture: Fighting for Public Water: The first successful European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Water and Sanitation are a Human Right’ by Professor Andreas Bieler

We were very pleased that Professor Andreas Bieler was able to join us from the University of Nottingham. Andreas has research links with a number of staff based at Oxford Brookes.

His lecture provided a fascinating account of the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). These were introduced in 2007 in the Treaty of Lisbon with the aim of increasing the democratic engagement of European citizens with EU policymaking. The ‘Right2Water’ initiative collected 1.9 million signatures during 2012-13 and is an interesting example of popular resistance to neoliberalism. In his lecture, Andreas outlined some of the main reasons why this particular ECI was so popular with European citizens across a range of EU member states. He has recently written a piece on his personal blog on this topic, which can be found at: http://andreasbieler.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/fighting-for-public-water-in-europe.html

Postgraduate panels

After lunch two of our PhD students gave presentations on aspects of their doctoral research projects. Kian Pourkemani explored some of the international legal challenges related to the right to self-determination with reference to the case of Kosovo. Kavi Thakore then set out his thoughts on the ongoing negotiation of a financial transaction tax within the European Union and the extent to which this can be understood as a practical attempt to put the values of cosmopolitanism into practice.

The afternoon finished with two sets of parallel MA student panels where our current cohort gave five-minute presentations on their summer dissertation projects.

These sessions highlighted the diverse and interesting array of issues that our current MA students are exploring in their dissertations over this summer. Some examples of these include:

  • Fighting Terror after 'the war on terror': the legacy of the war on terror and the effects of the Islamic State
  • To what extent are genetically modified crops an extension of US hegemony?
  • Do public and private approaches to impact investing for Sustainable Development differ significantly?
  • Incorporating digital technology in the sphere of diplomacy