Zena Mouawad

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PhD Student

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr-University Bochum
Universitätsstr. 105
D-44789 Bochum


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Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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Research Project

Organizational impediments to coordination in the United Nations inter-organizational relations: In pursue of a nexus between humanitarian aid and development assistance.

This research aims at examining coordination and inter-organizational relations of UN agencies in a context of synergies between humanitarian aid and development assistance in selected countries. In a context of continuous atomization of actors and policy silos in the aid landscape, the United Nations and its specialized agencies and funds hold particular organizational set ups to pursue their mandates and address multidimensional challenges. Working together is rather a critical issue constantly criticized by partners, member states and donors. Despite the application of several mechanisms to coordinate work at all levels of implementation, the work in the field is frequently not clearly defined, falling in overlaps and competition for funds and prestige between agencies. With the basis set on the regime complexity approach, this research discusses and interpret inter-organizational relationships considering the pathologies of international organisations as an instrument to understand organisations´ behaviour in coordinated programmes. Studies on the pathologies of international organisations describe management dysfunctional behaviours as undermining factors that hinder efficiency. Throughout the assessment of the many coordination mechanisms, organizational set-ups and the diversity of actors, this research will interpret theories and drawn empirical insights on the means the UN holds to coordinate action to strengthen resilience. The analysis will build on heuristics from in-depth analysis, ethnography and process tracing of organizational networks focusing on the interaction within and across agents coordinating and being coordinated. This will ultimately explain what factors and how pathologies of international organisations perpetuate organizational impediments to coordination in the field.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul

Research Interest

  • International organizations and inter-organizational relations theory;
  • Post-development theory;
  • Global governance and transnational studies;
  • Ethnography;
  • Qualitative methods;
  • Complexity and multi-level analysis;
  • The humanitarian-development nexus and the SDGs;


2015 ‑ present:   Knowledge Management and Community of Practice Facilitator - UN Volunteer and Consultant - various positions
2017 ‑ 2018:   Junior Research Officer at the International Labour Organization - Geneva, Switzerland
2016:   Research Intern of the Bi- and Multilateral Cooperation Department at the German Development Institute (DIE) - Bonn, Germany
2016:   MA in Development and Governance, Duisburg-Essen University - Duisburg, Germany
2016:   Summer School in Development Policy, Bonn University - Bonn, Germany
2016:   Research Intern at Käte Hamburger Kolleg - Centre for Global Cooperation Research - Duisburg-Essen University - Duisburg, Germany
2013 - 2015:   Project Analyst at the UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) - Brasília, Brazil
2012:   MBA in Project Management, ESAD Escola de Administracao e Negócios - Brasília, Brazil
2008 ‑ 2012:   United Nations in Brazil - various positions
2006:   Bachelors Diplom in International Relations, UNICURITIBA - Curitiba, Brazil


2015 ‑ 2016:   DAAD Public Policy and Good Governance Masters Scholarships Programme - Helmut Schmidt