I am a great believer that teaching is learning. To teach humanitarianism and development-related topics is to carry out applied research in the field. This is why I combine field missions and the creation of advocacy tools, such as my recently released film on international law in conflict www.broken-the-film.com with lecturing and training.
Currently, I am working in Kazakhstan with the OSCE’s (www.osce.org ) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights observing the upcoming Presidential elections of 9 June 2019.
This work entails the collection of data transforming it into analytical reports and preparing for “short-term” observers traveling to the country for election day. These internationals are the ears and eyes on the ground and are teamed up in pairs of two, normally representing different gender, nationality, and levels of experience. There will be some 240 of those coming to Kazakhstan.
My five weeks mission consists of working on the ground together with my Italian colleague. We visit election officials in the province, government representatives, political parties, NGOs and civil society representatives. This quantitative research methodology suits me very well and falls in line with most of my other research work, and it is fun!
The synopsis of our findings is relayed regularly to the “Core Team” which is a group of some 12 experts based in the Capital Nur Sultan (formerly known as Astana). Under the guidance of the Ambassador who heads the mission cumulative reports are published, the final one with recommendations (see reports on OSCE website), some two months after the end of the mission. They are addressed, first and foremost, to the host country, but also the international community in general, including the 57 Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the states making up the OSCE. The opportunity to learn from people and for people is a great privilege and make these missions unique, relevant and valuable.
Prof. Stefan G. Ziegler
Humanitarian Practitioner, Lecturer & Documentary Producer