Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What I am doing here?

I must respond to the deluge of emails from all over the world asking me why I am in Bcn, for how long, under what auspices, etc. Man, this blog has caught fire!

I am interning at CIDOB, which is a thinktank/NGO-type organization dealing with all aspects of Int'l Relations. As part of my Masters in European Studies (yes, it exists), I wrote to these people and asked if I could do an unpaid summer internship in their Europe and Mediterranean depts. I've now the opportunity to observe how European issues and EU policy is dealt with on a local level, and all that stuff. I get to see the practical, policy sides of what I study. So that is cool. Also I get class credit for working at a thinktank, attending conferences, and even helping organize one.

I'm also working/studying in some as yet unknown capacity with IEMed, which is a smaller thinktank, but important in Bcn as it deals exclusively with implementing the Barcelona Process in Spain. This is a big, ambitious directive issued by the EU several years ago (read more) that deals with Europe's Mediterranean region and, specifically, relations with their neighbors around the Mediterranean rim. I find all the cross-cultural and developmental challenges between Europe and North Africa/Middle East to be fascinating, especially within the context of (1) increased immigration to Europe from these areas and (2) post-9/11 geopolitics of relations with Muslim countries.

I'm now trying to figure out what specific academic project will come of this term. Eventually I'll write a paper about my research in that area, including interviews with some of the thinkers in these tanks. The paper will be along the lines of "what I did this summer," but hopefully interesting and useful. It might even lead into my thesis, which I have to write in the Fall. If I were smart I'd just settle on a topic now, find a way to work on it as part of my internship, and then take that material into the thesis. Knock on wood.

The problem is, it's impossible to settle on one topic. You can imagine that, within the EU alone, between Mediterranean and Barcelona Process stuff, integration of minorities, comparative federalism, and European integration theory in general, there is just way too much to choose from! Right?!

At the same time, I'm so excited to be in this city que me importa un pedo ("I could give a fart": I love that one) about the academic project. I'd rather go to the beach and read. And not about the EU. I hate the stupid EU!

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