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PhD Workshop on Citizenship & Statelessness at Tilburg Law School was a success!

Tilburg Law School hosted its first ever PhD Workshop on Citizenship & Statelessness from 29 October – 1 November 2018, which was made possible by the Tilburg University Fund. The workshop brought together an ambitious group of 15 PhD researchers working in this field from different disciplines and countries.

Workshop on Citizenship & Statelessness

The PhD Workshop on Citizenship & Statelessness was organized by three PhD researchers at Tilburg Law School who are all working on dissertations relating to citizenship and statelessness (Sangita Jaghai Bajulaiye, Caia Vlieks and Maria José Recalde Vela). They were keen on filling a gap in courses offered for PhD researchers working on citizenship and statelessness and to provide a platform for peer learning, discussions with experts, and community-building. These gaps were identified as a priority by PhDs during an academic expert meeting on citizenship, statelessness and inclusion at NYU in New York in June 2017. 

With generous financial support of the Tilburg University Fund, a diverse and stimulating program was created to which different Tilburg-based experts made valuable contributions. The four-day workshop kicked off with words of welcome by Professor Vanessa Mak (Vice Dean for Research, Tilburg Law School). Discussions sessions during the week included themes as digital data and statelessness by Dr. Linnet Taylor (TLS & TILT), citizenship and statelessness from literary and philosophical perspectives by Dr. Michiel Bot (TLS) and Mr. Isshaq Al-Barbary (Palestinian researcher), innovative research methods by Professor Morgan Goodwin (TLS) and researching statelessness by Dr. Laura van Waas (TLS and co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion).

Keynote speeches were given by Emeritus Professor Gerard-René de Groot (Maastricht University) on citizenship and statelessness, social identity and ‘genuine link’ from a legal perspective and Ms. Zahra Albarazi (Senior Researcher, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion; External PhD TLS) on academia and activism through field research on statelessness in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Further, the 4-day program reserved space for skills and career development sessions and gatherings. The participants presented and discussed their work amongst themselves, Mr. Thomas van Neerbos (Director of the European Press Prize, public speaking coach and speechwriter, and Lecturer in Rhetoric at the University of Amsterdam) spent the afternoon with the participants training them how to best present and explain their work to the general public. Dr. Laura van Waas and Mr. Oluseyi Bajulaiye (Senior UN official) gave an invaluable insights into their career journeys and spoke about career opportunities in and beyond academia. Also, a networks drink was co-organized with Tilburg–based Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion for participants, TLS colleagues and policy makers at the municipality of Tilburg working on statelessness. 

Participants’ enthusiasm to learn more about the issue led to agreement on some wonderful next steps, amongst others the publication of a special issue on statelessness and citizenship of the Tilburg Law Review to which different participants would like to contribute and the establishment of a Global PhD Network on Citizenship & Statelessness. Furthermore, participants will organize a PhD side event at the forthcoming World Conference on Statelessness and Inclusion and the next PhD Workshop is to be hosted by the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne. Tilburg University is proud to be a knowledge hub on statelessness and citizenship and to have hosted this PhD Workshop, which has proven to be an exciting event in many respects!