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2020-2021 GLOCAL Hotspot Master Thesis Prize

Date of news: 20 January 2022

At the Glocal Master Thesis Prize Award Ceremony on December 21st, the prize awarding committee announced the winner of the second Glocal Master Thesis Prize. As a research hotspot, we are happy to announce the winner of the Glocal Master Thesis Prize 2021 is:

Marie-Therese Rezko with her thesis “The Impact of Unilateral Sanction Regimes on the Humanitarian Sector: a case study of Syria”.

On behalf of the prize awarding committee, consisting of PhD candidate Iris Poelen, dr. Joris Schapendonk and dr. Jana Vyrastekova, Iris Poelen awarded the prize, after stating the importance of the master thesis process in a research career. It’s that moment when you already identify what societal issues are important to research, which theoretical tools you need in during your career as a researcher and how to place your work within the larger academic debates. Marie-Therese Rezko did a great job with regard to this in her thesis on unilateral sanction regimes and humanitarian aid. She explained how international economic sanctions, which are meant to punish the Syrian government, unintentionally impact the Syrian population. She carefully outlined how the economic sanctions obstruct the work of humanitarian organisations in three areas of conflict-ridden Syria. Upon receiving the prize, she stated:

“I certainly didn’t expect to receive this prize. Thanks to my supervisor, dr. Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez. Writing this thesis has been both very hectic and at the same time a great experience. It’s a sensitive topic, not in the least since I come from Syria myself. I have worked with several NGOs over there and some of my interviewees where old colleagues. I’m very grateful for this award.”

Supervisor dr. Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez emphasized the importance of the political economy of sanctions and its effects on humanitarian assistance, stating she has learned very much on all this herself throughout the process.

As the runner-up, the committee chose Floris Tijdink, for his thesis “A resurgence of the countryside? Identity and belonging among the war-displaced rural population of Moravia, Medellín.” He was praised for his innovative fieldwork-from-a-distance and his vivid and very well-written analysis of ways in which moravitas connect their rural pasts and urban present by forming hybrid spatial identities.

The committee would like to stress that we struggled with ranking the students’ submissions. All four students have tackled the current time’s challenges, both with respect to collecting their data and writing their thesis, so honorable mentions also go out to the other two nominated students, Nicolai Schenke for his thesis “The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Homelessness and Neighborhoods” and Leah Tri Mulyasari for her thesis “Solidarity beyond the national boundary: Solidarity of individuals in the Netherlands with the Papuans living in West Papua”.

The Glocal Hotspot rejoices in this celebration of great contributions to the research peformed in her fields of interest by these four talented young researchers. We congratulate the winner and runner-up of the Glocal Master Thesis 2020-2021 Prize for their excellent research! We look forward to more Glocal research among master students in the coming years.