Newspaper interview with PRIMO-coordinator Prof. Cord Jakobeit by Fink.Hamburg on the 2017 G20-Summit in Hamburg.
You can read the full interview here.
Newspaper interview with PRIMO-coordinator Prof. Cord Jakobeit by Fink.Hamburg on the 2017 G20-Summit in Hamburg.
You can read the full interview here.
(by Martin Pioch)
As part of the PRIMO outreach activities I visited my former high school Gymnasium Buckhorn in Hamburg, Germany, and held a workshop with two classes about the global economy, the WTO, and emerging economies. During an alumni reunion half a year ago I met with my former teacher Dr. Hubert Rinklake, who is also teaching PGW (Politik, Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft – politics, society, and economy). After talking about my current work in the framework of the PRIMO network, he expressed strong interest in also discussing those highly relevant issues with his pupils. At the same time my PRIMO outreach activities anyway contained a workshop day, it all fitted very well together.
In May 2017 then, while I was on a short trip in the city, I visited my former high school and gave a 4 hour workshop to around 40 pupils from 9th and 10th grade. It was astonishing to see, how much those 15 to 16 year old pupils already knew about the global economy, about tariffs, about the European Common Market, or even about emerging economies. The normal curriculum of the pupils includes normally only simple economics and the functions of the European Union. Therefore, the WTO and emerging economies was a very new and interesting issue for the pupils, especially considering the origin of all the products they are using on a daily basis. We collected all their knowledge and then looked detailed at the underlying structure of international trade, in order to understand the greater picture of the global economy.
The workshop began with a short introduction of my personal career and the quite tricky questions to the pupils, whether anybody already knows if they want to study at a university after graduation, whether anyone would like to live and work in another country, and who might actually be interested in working in academia. Of course this led to very mixed answers, however the opportunities of a globalized world offers much more opportunities to their future careers, then in previous generations. However, most of the pupils had of course very little ideas about their future after graduation. Therefore we then spoke about my current live in Russia and about my PRIMO colleagues in the other 8 countries. For the pupils is was interesting to hear about the small differences in the everyday life, and understood that the similarities that exist inside of the EU are not global standards.
Next we looked at more substantial issues, as the functions of the WTO, a short introductions of the single BRICS countries and their economies, and the importance of the global economy for Germany. The pupils were very aware of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg and asked a lot of questions in this regard. In general Dr. Rinklake and I organized always small introductions to the single topics and then let the discussion follow the questions of the pupils, and they had a lot of them. Thanks to the digital smart board in the classroom, we could study many issues with the help of maps, graphs or pictures, to visualize the respective issues.
During the final question round many pupils obviously asked a lot about the future of Germany, the Euro and the European Union, however also some had questions about US President Trump, the role of China and asked which countries I would recommend to work in. And the questions, why Mexico or China will not just simply sue the USA at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, if President Trump introduces punitive tariffs, showed me, that some of them really could take away substantial knowledge – however I had to disappoint them with my answer, that those dispute often take several years, and might only be solved at a time when there might be a new face in the White House.
At the end of the workshop Dr. Rinklake asked the pupils to summarize what they have learned, and many answered that they now much better understand the complexity and coherences of the global economy. Some said that they learned that working in academia is more than just teaching students, and also appreciated the overview of job opportunities in political economy that I gave them. And others highlighted the knowledge about other countries outside of the EU, which they do not discuss so often at school. All in all I guess this workshop was a great opportunity for the pupils to get an introduction into a very important area that might strongly affect their future lives. But also I learned a lot about how to prepare, present, and discuss a workshop with people, who have a little less knowledge about my professional area, than my colleagues from the academic ivory towers.
Group picture with some of the 9th graders after the workshop.
(by Martin Pioch)
On the 21st of April 2017 the Department of World Economy held a round-table at the Faculty of Economics of Saint Petersburg State University with the title “The EU and BRICS in the International Trade System”. This PRIMO related event took place within the framework of the International Economic Symposium in St. Petersburg, where Russian and foreign experts discussed contemporary economic challenges of Russia and the world. This panel was organized and moderated by Prof. Sergei Sutyrin, Head of the World Economy Department, and his colleague Dr. Alexandra Koval, who are also the supervisors of ESR6 Martin Pioch.
During the round-table Russian and foreign academics discussed economic challenges of the EU and the BRICS, as well as their rather complicated economic relations. Miroslav Jovanović, Professor of the University of Geneva presented hisrather critical view on the Eurozone and modern European Union problems, while the report of Dr. Patricia Garcia-Duran Huet, Associate Professor of the University of Barcelona, was dedicated to the EU trade policy reaction to the BIC (i.e. BRICS before Russia and South Africa joined the club).
Boris Kheyfets, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Economy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, talked about the potential of informal integration, BRICS+ and BRICS++ in particular, and about modern perspectives of development for the BRICS group. Of great interest were also the findings of Natalia Volgina, Professor of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, on BRICS participation in global value chains and their distribution of gains.
Irina Platonova, Professor of Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs (MGIMO), opened the discussion about low economic growth rate as a “new normal” situation of our times. The final report of the round table discussion was made by Arkady Kuradovets, Associate Professor of Belarus State Economic University, who talked about current economic situation in Belarus and future perspectives for the country as a member of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Foreign guests took an active part in the discussion, in particular, interesting comments and questions were made by Prof. Guan Xueling, the Director of the Russian Research Center at Renmin University of China and Meryl Thiel, Researcher of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the discussion Discussants also talked about the future of the EU and Brexit consequences, the limits imposed by formal institutions, the benefits of economic mega-partnerships, and prospects of the EU-BRICS cooperation. More information in the presentations of key speakers of the round table…
by (Miklós K. Lázár)
Last August I travelled to Germany for what is likely to become not only my latest, but also my last professional internship experience. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (Handelskammer Hamburg) agreed to host me as part of their engagement with PRIMO despite my limited control of the German language and assigned me to a number of projects which were better suited to my own academic and professional profile. It goes without saying that given this positive welcome my expectations were fairly high and I was also looking forward to a period of progress in my own strain of research.
On this occasion I found Hamburg to be just as green, clean, and welcoming as usual. Indeed, due to my being part of PRIMO – a researcher training programme which happens to be headquartered in Hamburg as well – the city already felt a little bit like a second home prior to arrival. However, this was my first proper, long stay in-town and so it was also the very first time I came to more fully realize how many subtle forms of prosperity and comfort Hamburg actually offered. Indeed – in stark contrast with the romantic grandeur and often tourist-oriented features of cities like Paris and Rome (or the subcultural scenes of places like Berlin and Amsterdam) – Hamburg’s smart, sophisticated, and distinctively hanseatic legacy continues to permeate many aspects of local life. Although one might not fully comprehend how those traits are maintained, but general politeness, attention to detail, ingrained elegance, and business-like talk remain some of the key ingredients of local culture and will be encountered throughout the city.
Whilst staying at this actual ‘Gateway to the World’ (Tor zur Welt) I also learnt a little bit about the particular ideas and traits that enabled Hamburg to become the mercantile powerhouse it is today. Over time, my experiences there helped me to realize how location, opportunity for trade, and skilled navigation were but wheels in a more complex machinery; the city’s success has perhaps more to do with mentality than geography, luck, or even sheer capacities. Hamburg has social capital fit for a global scale.
Amongst the many forms of subtle affluence present in Hamburg, I should definitely mention the excellent cultural, leisure, and shopping opportunities or the fact that – when it comes to international cuisine or authentic fish dishes, the culinary institutions of Hamburg are comparable only to the other major hubs of the world. Those early morning breakfasts at the Central Fish Market and the collegial business lunches at the Fischfeinkost Delikatessen des Meeres restaurant will be equally hard to forget.
Considering the internship itself, I must immediately thank my supervisor, Dr Doris Hillger, who had a major part in the overall positive experience. She endeavoured not only to properly show me what her daily duties entailed, but also took me to a great number of interesting business meetings; introduced me to intriguing social as well as sensitive business topics; and was always ready to listen to my – in retrospect: occasionally utterly – idealist views with enduring patience (only to give excellent answers and great advice in return). With her, I learnt a great deal about the EU’s new non-financial reporting directive and its potential impact on SMEs as well as the meaning and implications of ‘fair trade’ to Hamburg based businesses. At this juncture, I must emphasize that I could write pages about positive experiences, but the bottom line is that I will always think of Doris Hillger as one of my best bosses (yes, Doris, you are!).
I am also very grateful to all my colleagues at the International Department of the Chamber and especially those working for the Foreign Trade Promotion and International Markets Unit. I felt most welcome from day one, as they were always ready to help and include me in daily affairs. I am also very grateful to our head of department, Corinna Nienstedt and deputy head Heinz Werner Dickmann for hosting me in such a friendly and open way; to Susanne Küchmeister for choosing to work with me on Russian trade related matters; to Johanna Seidl and Cornelia von See for all their kind assistance throughout the period; and to Lisa Gathen, Philip Koch, Axel Rostalski, Audrius Vaitiekunas, and – especially – Timm Rohweder for making my stay with the HCC a great collegial experience (the latter list is by no means exhaustive!).
As for my academic progress, I wish to thank Doris Hillger yet again for introducing me to the Chamber’s respective experts and allowing me to work on my doctoral research in a flexible way. While in Hamburg, I was able to reach out to a number of people within my own field of academic interest and got a great deal of work on my thesis sorted as well. In light of these impressions with the Chamber and my overall experience with the city, I found my internship in Germany to be immensely productive and successful.
Given the objective difficulties facing the EU membership negotiations in Turkey, what are the prospects of the EU-Turkey relations in the short and medium-run? The conference “Rethinking Turkey and Europe in a Turbulent World” – held on April 19 at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, with the support of the EU delegation to Turkey and the PRIMO project – put together prominent International Relations (IR) scholars, practitioners and students to address this timely question. The conference was organised on the occasion of the retirement of Prof Atila Eralp, a leading Turkish scholar in the field of EU studies, founder of both the IR Department and the Centre for European Studies (Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence) at METU.
The conference featured predominantly Turkish scholars (with the exception of Prof Wolfgang Wessels, Director of the Centre for Turkey and European Union Studies at the University of Cologne), who took stock of the latest political and economic developments both in Turkey and in the EU, as well as the latest theoretical approaches to the academic study of EU-Turkey relations. While the representative of the EU delegation to Turkey, Gabriel Munera-Vinals, reiterated the EU’s firm commitment to the negotiations, the vast majority of the participants ruled out the prospect of Turkey joining the EU in the next decade(s). Yet, all of the participants acknowledged the fact that Turkey is currently integrated to the EU in multiple fields, ranging from trade, common foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs to energy cooperation. Some of the participants also suggested alternative approaches to overcome the current impasse in the relations; in particular, they mentioned the concept of “differentiated integration” as a way for non-EU members to maintain their sovereignty, while remaining an integral part of the European integration process.
Should Turkey follow this “differentiated integration” path, it would be more than a “strategic partner”, but remain less than a full-fledged EU member state. However, this may well be a pragmatic and solid scenario, also in light of the current disenchantment with the membership process both in Turkey and in the EU. The participants vocally agreed on one point: given the difficult political situation and the rift splitting Turkish society (made clear by the result of the recent constitutional referendum), the EU is all the more needed in Turkey. While the EU needs to keep maintaining close ties with the Turkish government to cope with transnational issues such as the so-called “refugee crisis”, it should not forget about Turkish civil society and the European democratic values that many of its members still identify with.
(by Deepak Raj Pandaya)
It was a great respite for me to escape the Delhi summer heat and reach Hamburg to attend the PRIMO programme on ‘Transferable Skills’, conducted by our host and coordinator, University of Hamburg (UHAM). The workshop was long and productive, lasting from 24th May to 3rd June of 2016. Initial 8 days of the workshop were designed for all ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) and the last 2 days were for newly joined ESRs. It was very well designed, having inputs with an academic orientation and skills development programs to bridge the academic and non-academic world. The workshop kicked off with an academic writing skills and methods sessions conducted by Prof. Cord Jakobeit, Stephan Hensell, Jörg Meyer and our ER Faiz Sheikh. The whole of the 2nd and half of the 3rd day of workshop was dedicated to career planning whereby Rob Thompson, who was our career coach, focused on techniques to face an interview board and how to prepare a CV for non- academic career, not just this, Rob also tried to explain characters of different colleagues we tend to face or might face in our work environment while labeling them as red liners and blue liners, and different approaches to deal with varied situations and personalities. During the later half of third day, Jurgen Willems from University of Hamburg shared his experiences of researching on the non-profit and public sector, briefed PRIMO fellows as to what do these organisations expect as employers, while recruiting.
Having a career in academics is rigorous and requires a lot of patience; one of the biggest struggles in it is to secure finance for the subject that you want to research on, both for short long term. Sonja Bartsch from GIGA and Katharina Berghöfer from UHAM addressed this particular issue on whole of fourth day. These sessions were of particular interest for fellows who wanted to pursue a career in academics or at least want to make academics, an alternate career. The presenters of the sessions very well explained the queries on funding possibilities/opportunities, also briefed us on details about writing and refining grant applications for EU, and other funding organizations. The last day of the first week ended with wonderful insights into the non- academic industry, where Klaus Deutsch head of research, industry and economic policy of The Federation of German Industries (BDI), shared his experience of working in corporate world after completing his Ph.D, presented insights on the German and global corporate world with more focus on their expectations, current requirements and how to go about addressing them, keeping different aspects of policy levels in mind and therefore, how to tap into the job market. The day ended and weekend started with sharing of experiences by young researcher Felix Mengel from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), who described his experiences of looking for jobs in think tanks and policy institutes, as well as how working with these institutes and developing an academic expertise is possible for a non academic audience.
The session on academic writing, for non-academic audience spilled over to first day of the next week, which was Day 6 of our workshop where Sascha Suhrke from Zeit-Stiftung briefed the ESRs on Zeit-Stiftung, its functioning, approaches and global partnerships. Along with this, he also explained about different opportunities for fellowships and working with Zeit-Stiftung, and many such organisations. The second half of 6th, 7th and 8th day of our workshop, was spent on refining our academic writing whereby all ESRs discussed papers of their peers, gave feedbacks and also received feedbacks from our PRIMO team members who were already in advanced stages of their academic research, namely Prof. Cord Jakobeit, Stephan Hensell, Jörg Meyer and Faiz Sheikh. As PRIMO is all about study on different aspects of regional powers, the workshop was well designed to include perspectives for regional power specialists in the private-sector. Doris Hilger, from PRIMO’s associated partner Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (HCC), in her session explained about the importance of knowing a region, and how this aspect facilitates to ease the trade between economies. Along with this, we also had an interactive session on the importance of commerce chambers, how they function, operate and facilitate international trade. The 8th day of workshop had sessions on gender and diversity, where along with Patricia Konrad from UHAM, the ESRs discussed different aspects of gender, inclusion, diversity and adapting to those diversities for a peaceful coexistence with profound integration in societies around the world.
Finally, last two days of the workshop were designed exclusively for the newly recruited ESRs that missed academic training sessions during the start of PRIMO program. In these two days of additional academic training the ESR’s were trained in methods and techniques of research with focus on academic writing, and discussions on their Ph.D work. Thus, we concluded our programme on Transferable Skills Workshop at the University of Hamburg, and happily returned to our host institutions to recoup, before we gathered again for the annual conference in September at the University of Oxford.