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Internship Peace Research Institute - Germany, Frankfurt

Datum:13 juni 2022
Auteur:Sarah Maria Horváth
Germany, Frankfurt
Germany, Frankfurt

As part of the master’s program International Relations and International Organizations at the University of Groningen, I completed an internship over the term of three months at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). At the institute, I supported the research group “Transnational Politics” in one of their research projects analyzing the complex dynamics between groups in intrastate wars. The Peace Research Institute Frankfurt is a research institute and Think-Tank located in Frankfurt am Main. Founded in 1970 under public law by the Hesse state government, the PRIF employs over 90 employees and is therewith one of the largest peace research institutes in Germany. The work of the PRIF is organized in five different research departments including the Department for International Security, International Institutions, Transnational Politics, Intrastate Conflicts, and Glocal Junctions. Although each program focuses on different areas of peace research, the pursued shared aim of all departments and the entire organization is to provide independent research on violent international and internal conflicts.
Based on my previous experiences in quantitative analyses and my expertise in intergroup relations, it was suitable that I would help my supervisor with creating a dataset on the (war)group dynamics within intrastate conflicts. This would be my main project throughout the entire internship, and I would consistently work on that dataset and the necessary qualitative research for that. The main goal of this project was to create a dataset including all multiparty civil wars or intrastate conflicts to analyze different characteristics of these conflicts, such as durability, dynamics, and/or composition of groups. I had the possibility to apply my interdisciplinary knowledge from my psychology master, including quantitative analyses and group dynamics, and from my international relations master, including inter alia intrastate conflicts. It was especially interesting to see the extent to which social psychology is interwoven with peace and conflict research.
Supporting and learning from a project that focuses on qualitative and quantitative analyses was one of my main learning goals and one of the main reasons I chose this project. However, one of my side projects was to work on a PRIF Spotlight which discusses the externalization of the EU borders, and the migration flows in the Sahel region. For this project, I researched literature from previous courses and dove deeper into the literature databases. Although the paper is finished up until now, the process of publishing will continue beyond my internship at the PRIF. Through these processes, I not only strengthened my writing skills in a peace-related topic but also gained a better understanding of the publication process from an insider perspective.
Conclusively, I am extremely grateful that I was able to complete my internship at the PRIF. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone, I was able to realize my potential, and learn more about myself and my future career. Most importantly, I met amazing people whose work is greatly contributing to peace research as well as whose social togetherness with colleagues is worth striving for. However, not only the internship but also the phase prior to the placement helped me to understand my value and to develop the confidence and skills to apply at prospective jobs.