Project continues Münster’s legacy as a city of peace

Peace negotiations in the town hall of Münster in 1648 (painting by Fritz Grotem

Peace negotiations in the town hall of Münster in 1648 (painting by Fritz Grotemeyer). © Stadtmuseum Münster

The "Münster International Peace Research Initiative" (mipri) strengthens the university and the city as a location for peace and conflict research. To achieve this, the initiative bundles the scientific and social potential for sustainable and peace-building measures. Kathrin Kottke spoke with project leader Dr Erik Tolen about the content and goals of mipri.

What is mipri about?

The project connects peace and conflict research at the University with the present and the history of the City of Münster. Our goal is to bring together science and society. In view of current political developments, it is more important than ever to work together to find solutions and possibilities for peaceful interaction in the world.

How does mipri concretely contribute to peace and conflict research?

By awarding a total of four prizes for an innovative research project, we involve excellent international young scientists in the project. Together with a scientist from the University of Münster - the host - the prize winners carry out their project, thereby strengthening this field of research and developing new approaches to solving conflicts and disputes. Concrete topics are, for example, how do natural disasters play into the length and intensity of violent conflicts and how human and cultural resources can be utilized in indigenous peace building rather than important solutions from other conflict settings.

How do the prize winners benefit?

They get access to the infrastructure of Münster University and work together with their host and the respective research group. The prize funds allow them freedom to realise their research questions in an international academic community.

What are the advantages of the hosts at the University of Münster?

International research cooperation is further strengthened. Excellent scientists from renowned research institutions bring new impulses and valuable networks to Münster. This network includes the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the Graduate School for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hiroshima, the Institute for European Studies at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Sao Paulo.

How does the project fit into the City of Münster?

Münster has a rich history in peace-building dating back to the singing of the Westphalian Peace Treaty in 1648. We want to remember the city's heritage and motivate and encourage people to think about peace and conflict research issues.

The public has a big role to play, then.

Absolutely! Through public events, video series and podcasts, anyone who is interested can participate and exchange ideas with the researchers at the University of Münster and the prizewinners. For example, our digital citizen science platform 'PeaceHUB' (www.peacehub.de) enables an interactive exchange between scientific actors and interested citizens

This article first appeared in the University newspaper "wissen

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