On 24th and 25th September 2015, the IEE hosted the 4th PhD Conference on International Development. Together with the School of International Development (DEV), University of East Anglia, UK, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, NL, and our partners in the UA-Ruhr Graduate Centre, the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) and the Institute of Political Science (IfP) at University Duisburg-Essen the IEE has initiated the annual PhD Conferences in 2012.
At this year’s conference which coincided not only with the 50th anniversary of Ruhr-University but also another conference at RUB on "The Middle East and the Islamic World in the Mirror of Humanities and Social Sciences”, the IEE welcomed more than 100 participants from Germany, Europe and other countries such as, among others, South Africa, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Canada. Doctoral students and recent graduates delivered more than 35 presentations split up in five workshops ranging from "Banking and Financing in Developing Countries” and "Education and Development” to "Struggles about Land and Space in Rural and Urban Areas”. In his opening address Professor Wilhelm Löwenstein, Managing Director of the IEE and Speaker of the PhD IDS, welcomed the participants of the PhD Conference 2015 and emphasized the highly topical issue of "Responsibility to Protect" as the guiding theme behind our new "extension” of the PhD IDS in the framework of the DAAD-funded "German-Arab Research, Training, and Networking Programme”. Later the same day, Dr. Jürgen Wiemann, Vice President of the European Association of Development (EADI), delivered a keynote speech on "The New Middle Classes: Advocates for Good Governance, Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development?”.
Seven members of the IEE seized the opportunity to present their doctoral research projects and to engage in a critical debate about their research design, theory-based approaches and/or empirical results with the interested audience. Marc Hansen, IEE research fellow and PhD student, presented his co-authored paper "Determining Minimum Compensation of Smallholder Farmers for Lost Agricultural Land Grabs.” PhD student Amr Khafagy introduced his research project on "The Adverse Effect of Financial Sector Development on Kenyan Savings and Credit Cooperatives.” Farah Asif, a recent graduate of the PhD IDS, spoke about the results of her research on "Linking Foreign Affiliation to the welfare status of low income rural households: A case study of Pakistan”.” MADM coordinator Tobias Thürer discussed his recently finished doctoral project under the title "Does speculation with agricultural commodity futures cause price bubbles in the event of negative production shocks?” Jasmin Gerau, another PhD IDS candidate, talked about the topic "From Regional to Global Leader? The perception of the European Union as a leading environmental actor in Jordan and Morocco.” Michele Gonnelli, an associate member of the PhD IDS, delivered a presentation on the topic "Somali Development Agents as Development Communicators: A bottom-bottom Approach.” Elkhan Sadik-Zada, also a recent graduate of the PhD IDS and IEE research fellow, discussed "Lewis' Dual Economy Model with Political Bargaining - A New Approach for the Explanation of the Resource Curse.” Last but not least, Lungile Penxa from the University of the Western Cape, currently a visiting PhD student at the IEE, presented on "The Nature and Extent of Participation in Small Town Housing Projects, South Africa.” Beyond the paper presentations, almost all other PhD IDS members, associate members and some students from abroad took advantage of presenting and discussing their doctoral research projects with the audience in the framework of a poster session on the second day of the PhD Conference.
As mentioned above, the PhD Conference coincided with another conference on "The Middle East and the Islamic World in the Mirror of Humanities and Social Sciences” jointly organized by the German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO) and the Islamic Studies Section of the German Oriental Society (DMG) on 24-26 September 2015 at RUB. The intention of the IEE and the RUB Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies to host the PhD and the Middle Eastern Studies Conferences together at one and the same venue perfectly payed off: Participants of the DAVO/DMG conference joined the keynote session and the workshops of the PhD Conference and vice versa. Moreover, all participants were invited to join the official opening and reception of the conferences on Thursday evening including a panel discussion about the topic "Syria & Beyond: The Quest for Power and Survival”, chaired by Anja Zorob. On the part of the IEE team, Raffael Beier and Anja Zorob delivered a joint presentation at the Middle Eastern Studies Conference on "European Migration Policy after the Arab Spring: Sticking to ‘Securitization’ or Rising to the Challenges in the Mediterranean?” while Raffael Beier offered another presentation on the topic "Shifting Spatial Policies after the Arab Spring – Urgent Reactions or Real Changes?”