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Placement: Bronwen Mehta

Bronwen is on the Politics and International Relations Pathway at the University of Warwick. Her research topic is "We will not be silent": unpacking the identities of online anti-sexual harassment movements in the MENA region. From July to September 2023 she undertook a Placement with Carnegie Europe in Belgium.

During her time with Carnegie Europe, Bronwen collected data about Europe’s (the EU, member states and non-EU states) approaches to democracy support across the world, with a particular focus on the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This required her to read hundreds of policy documents/reports/news stories to extract relevant information. This data will be used for an annual report that is commissioned by the European Union for both public consumption and for policymakers. Bronwen supported in the preliminary drafting of this report - liaising with other members of the team, shaping the overall arguments of the report, providing analytical insights, identifying key themes and writing specific sections. She was also able to elevate certain issues that she thought were important but had been underdeveloped in previous editions of the report, such as the worsening of LGBTQ+ rights both within and outside of the EU.

Due to the proliferation of coups in Africa in recent years, Bronwen also supported in the collection of information and the editing of materials for an upcoming essay series looking at the EU’s relationship with democracy in African countries.

Bronwen comments:

“This placement helped me to expand my knowledge base beyond the Middle East region as I was looking at empirical case studies from across the world, and looking at political phenomenon that are more prevalent elsewhere. Not only will this enhance my teaching, it will also help me in situating my PhD research into the broader global context. Beyond the PhD, knowledge of European political processes will be incredibly useful in any policy research that I may conduct in a future career in a thinktank/research context. Having to sort through masses of information in different formats to identify useful data, will no doubt prove essential during the data analysis stage of the PhD that I am about to begin – particularly in identifying themes across the data. Producing information for public and policymaker consumption required me to develop new writing skills that will aid me in a post-PhD professional environment, as well as inspiring me to produce parts of my PhD in creative formats for audiences beyond the academy. This experience was also instrumental in teaching me how to navigate the many interests that think tanks have to operate within due to the pressures of writing for different stakeholders and with various editorial limitations shaped by funding concerns and institutional positions – something that will be invaluable in whatever professional environment I find myself in in the future. Other useful professional skills that I was able to develop, which will prove useful in my later career, were: supporting teammates; delegation; and prioritisation and time management.”

Thu 23 Nov 2023, 11:15

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