This summer, news that the Norpart program, which provides resources for academic cooperation and and exchange programs, is being placed on hold due to uncertainty regarding its budget.
Our chair, Arnhild Leer-Helgensen, alongside with several other academic leaders at University of Agder have talked to Khrono regarding the impacts that this can bring to norwegian students and to development studies, as well as the academic environment in the country.
The repercussions of the introduction of school fees for international students have began to show. The number of students from outside the EU and Switzerland has dropped considerably for the coming student year.
In an interview with “Panorama Nyheter”, NFU’s Chair Arnhild Leer-Helgesen has talked about this issue and the impacts it has already had at University of Agder (UiA), particularly in the Master’s courses focused on development.
In addition, Gudrum Cecilie Eikemo Helland from SUM at Universitet i Oslo and Martin Halvorsen from OsloMet also talk about the impacts that their respective universities are experiencing in regards to the number of new international students.
However, State Secretary Oddmund Løkensgard states that these numbers were expected and defends the need for the introduction of these school fees.
This week we will introduce you to one of our board members and Co-chair of NFU: Jason Miklian.
Jason has been a part of NFU for 5 years and is a key member in our organization. He became a part of NFU because he thinks that given how diverse the topics housed under the “development studies” umbrella are, he feels it is essential for scholars both in Norway and the Nordics more broadly to have the opportunity to untie and grow together, especially given the challenges that development studies and adjacent fields are facing globally.
He has two main research areas: 1. Business, development and peacebuilding. 2. Climate and Conflict.
He chose his research fields due to a mix of interest and happenstance! He started his career as a South Asia studies scholar, then became interested in the connections between business and conflict in places of “economic underdevelopment”, as the Indian government put it. This led to his PhD at Noragric in development studies, with a qualitative / mixed-methods focus studying the role of the Maoist conflict and extractive firms on development.
He currently works for the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo and his main projects now are an NFR-funded qualitative collaborative project on the role of small businesses in crisis and urban fragility, and an NFR mixed-methods project on the role of business and development on conflict in Africa.
Since he is living in Bogotá, Colombia at the moment, he is enjoying the sunshine and wonderful people while enjoying a bit less needing to get up early for the occasional 4AM call with his Oslo colleagues. 🙂
In his opinion, development studies is an worthwhile field because in an era of increasing specialization (yet hosting demands to be more cross-cutting and interdisciplinary), development studies provides an ideal platform for understanding complex societal relations in a way more holistically and critically-oriented than many other point-specific fields. In a time of increasing global uncertainty over inequality, climate change, and international order he believes that we are overdue for a renaissance in development studies, and he is excited for NFU to be a part of this leading edge.
For his more recent works, he chose to share with us a recent narrative non-fiction book on the Liberation of Bangladesh and the climate-conflict links therein, called The Vortex. Even though it is a less academic work, he is still very proud of it and thought it would be very intersting to share it.
This week we will introduce you to one of our board members and Co-chair of NFU: Randi Solhjell.
Randi has been a part of NFU for 10 years and is a key member in our organization.
Her research area is: Cross-disciplinary social scientists, I have worked on topics including statehood in contested areas (easter DR Congo) and gender-based violence in war and conflict. I am currently finalizing research on the topics on policing hate crime and prevention of violent extremism. In my upcoming position (2023-2027) I will be part of the project “JustExport” led by Prof. Kjersti Lohne at the University of Oslo, Institute of Criminology, focusing on how Scandinavian states engage in penal export internationally. And she currently works for the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, the Faculty of Law, The University of Oslo.
She chose her research field because she have always sought perspectives from ‘unkowns’ – people and societies I want to learn more about. It can be both within my home country Norway but also from places more distant from where I am situated (Nepal, Liberia, Chad, DR Congo). This has led me to different topics and societies.
And she believes that development studies is an important research area because it opens your mind to a world of injustice, difference and new knowledge fields. Knowledge is not taken for granted in a Eurocentric manner but critically explored theoretically and methodologically.
To access some of her most recent work, please follow the links below:
This week we will introduce you to one of our board members and our current lead Co-chair of NFU: Arnhild Leer-Helgesen.
Arnhild has been involved with NFU for 4 years and has taken the challenge of heading our board in the beggining of 2022. She joined because NFU is a network of Norwegian scholars working with global development issues, but NFU also works closely with the other Nordic associations for development research and the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). Conferences and different activities help her keep track of ongoing debates, conferences, and publications. There is also a need for an association like NFU to unite researchers in the broader field to be able to advocate for knowledge-based policies and practices.
Her PhD was on religion and development and the role of faith-based institutions in Latin America. And she is currently working in a project on different understandings of gender across contexts, together with colleagues from Makerere University and University of Dar es Salaam.
She chose her research field because she have had an interest in international development, Latin America and religion since the start of her studies. Before her PhD she worked in international development cooperation, and her research interests are results of questions raised during these experiences.
Arnhild believes that development studies is an important field because it is a field where you get to and need to work with colleagues and other people from different contexts and you continuously reflect on power relations and situated knowledge. You meet researchers with an engagement that goes beyond the academic environment.
She currently works at the Department of Global Development and Planning at University of Agder (UiA).
Her current work involves being the project leader of the project “Gender and digitalization across contexts”, where she focus on different ways of understanding and teaching gender. She is also initiating research much closer to home, looking into how perspectives of global inequality are communicated in kindergartens.
To access some of her recent work, please follow the link below: