From course participant to employee: Mirjam Schuler

How the Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium impacted my professional life.

7 June 2019
Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium
Caption: Mirjam Schuler, Junior Programme Officer

From course participant to employee: Mirjam Schuler

How the Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium impacted my professional life.

  1. How did you hear about the Geneva Centre for Security Policy?

I have always been interested in a diplomatic career. So, after having obtained my bachelor’s degree in International Relations at University of Geneva, I had the opportunity to work as an academic trainee for the Swiss Embassy in Stockholm and in Kuwait City. The Swiss Ambassadors I worked for told me about the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). During their diplomatic career, they had participated in GCSP activities including several courses. They were very enthusiastic about their learning experience and were convinced by the GCSP’s multi-stakeholder approach and the strategic, innovative and critical thinking in its activities. Hearing their experience made me curious to explore more about the GCSP and in particular, it motivated me to apply for a course.

 

  1. What was it about the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme that interested you?

I was intrigued by the themes it explores: it suggests new paradigms to understand, prepare for and respond to current and future challenges in the field of global security. These include:

  1. Emerging strategic technologies and their implications for geopolitics, security, civil liberties, artificial intelligence and run-away technologies, synthetic biology, human enhancement, and human destiny
  2. Outer space security, space weaponization, space debris, astrobiology and their role in the future of humanity
  3. New international relations paradigms such as neo-statecraft, meta-geopolitics, symbiotic realism, multi-sum security, and sustainable national and global governance
  4. Neuroscience and international relations which examines neuroscience and its link to human nature allowing us to better understand state and individual behaviors, identity and emotions.
  5. The five dimensions of global security: human, national, transnational, environmental and transcultural security

 

The primary aim of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme is to analyse these five areas through the lens of human dignity which is central to any sustainable governance system, stability and security. For this, the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme uses an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, drawing from both classical science and the humanities. Personally, I am fascinated most by the interplay between neuroscience and international relations, which is linked to Professor Al-Rodhan’s work (and will also be a main feature at the 2019 Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium). 

The Programme owes this innovative approach to Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan, Head of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme and Honorary Fellow of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University. Professor Al-Rodhan is a Philosopher, Neuroscientist and Geostrategist. He is also trained in neurosurgery/neuroscience research at the Mayo Clinic, Yale University and Harvard University. Find out more about Professor Al-Rodhan here.

 

  1. How did you get involved with the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the GCSP? And what has been your journey with the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme?

When I moved back to Geneva after an Erasmus exchange at University of Vienna, I came across a Facebook post promoting a Symposium organised by the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the GCSP. I contacted the Symposium coordinator to find out if scholarships were available. I discovered that as a student, I could indeed apply for a scholarship, so I immediately applied.

The 2018 Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium was an extraordinary three-day experience with a diverse range of speakers and intellectually stimulating topics. Distinguished researchers and experts provided an enriching exchange with participants coming from across the globe.

After the Symposium I spoke with Professor Al-Rodhan about the possibility of an internship within his programme. After two successful job interviews in the following weeks, I was delighted to be accepted for an internship from September 2018 to March 2019.

I have absolutely loved my experience at the GCSP. Especially having had the fortunate chance to work within a wonderful team. At the end of my internship, I asked my Professor Al-Rodhan if there was a possibility to continue working in his Programme as a Junior Programme Officer (JPO) and it was granted. It has been an incredible opportunity since April 2019 to be a JPO at the GCSP. In the meantime, I have also graduated from a Master of European Studies at the Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva.

 

  1. What are your daily tasks in your position?

My main tasks consist of Programme operations and research support. For example, supporting the advertisement, organisation, and execution of an international competition: the Prize for Innovation in Global Security; social media activities in general and related to the competition; preparation of documentation material, background readings, and other documents for the Programme’s Executive Courses; assistance in the preparation and implementation of Executive Courses organised by the Programme; attendance of meetings and workshops; research and identification of potential participants for the Programme’s upcoming Executive Courses, and creation of a contact list; gathering of material to update our website and social media channels; administrative support, maintenance and development of contact databases; making suggestions for improvement; bringing innovative ideas and thinking to the section; support in conducting research, writing articles and editing.

 

  1. What would you like to share with other people about the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme?

I would encourage anyone interested in global security to attend the 2019 Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium. It is a unique and outstanding opportunity for professionals, students and interns to network with one another. It is intellectually challenging and very enriching. This year we are discussing all sorts of topics including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, autonomous weapons, space power and policy, neuroscience of conflict, morality, diplomacy, emotions and of identity and culture, and much more!