:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 7
Many roads lead out of the BGHS. But where do paths lead to after the doctorate? In the summer semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Marie-Christine Heinze talked with us about her work at the „Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient“ (CARPO).
Panel discussion at CARPO on the subject of "The Yemen conflict in the context of regional rivalries" on 8 March 2018, on the panel from the left: Marie-Christine Heinze, Sebastian Sons (CARPO Associate Fellow), Gudrun Harrer (Moderator; Der Standard), Adnan Tabatabai (CARPO CEO)
Marie, if you remember the start of your career: How did you find your way in?
Marie-Christine Heinze: I wrote my doctorate on Yemen. And through an acquaintance from Bonn University - where I studied - I had contact with a Yemeni research institute that does mainly quantitative social research. When I went to Yemen for field research for my doctoral thesis, the only contact I had there was the Yemen Polling Center (YPC). I made contact with the YPC, and they helped me a lot in establishing contacts for my doctoral thesis. In return, I helped them and started writing project proposals for the institute. The first proposal I wrote for the institute was an EU project proposal, which I just thought of: Oh, I'll manage. I mentioned myself in the application as a consultant. The project application was accepted, and I am still working with the YPC.
What does your work look like now?
Marie-Christine Heinze: To give an example: At CARPO, we have a project that aims to bring together Yemeni experts from business and development. We are implementing this with two Yemeni partner institutions. To this end, we organise many meetings: between these experts, but also between the experts and the international community. And we produce publications: both to provide facts and to make policy recommendations for the international community, for the Yemeni government and for other actors who can improve the situation in Yemen.
Group picture at one of CARPO's bi-annual Development Champions Forum, at which CARPO and its project partners have been bringing together Yemeni experts from business and development since 2017 to draw up recommendations for action for national and international stakeholders.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your field?
Marie-Christine Heinze: So, I think that first of all it helps to gain knowledge about the actors in the field through some form of cooperation with institutions, through internships or short residencies. Secondly, a good knowledge of the content is a great advantage. So, in my case that was my knowledge of Yemen: I did my doctorate on that and I worked a lot with Yemeni research institutions and also with other actors from Yemen. I think that's the most important tip I can give: find something that you find really exciting - that's what you'll be good at. Which is perhaps also interesting: For example, I supported partners at the YPC for a long time without any financial consideration, and in doing so I developed the networks I am now working with.
Did you already have the goal of founding your own think tank during your dissertation?
Marie-Christine Heinze: No, no. I didn't know what I was gonna do afterwards. It simply became clear during the dissertation that I was doing a lot of consulting. Before the end of my dissertation, I joined a research project at the University of Bonn: a VW project that I implemented with the YPC. And actually I assumed at that time that I would acquire such projects at the university because I was good at it. My own research institute on Yemen: That was a secondary consideration, not a concrete plan.
Marie, thank you for the conversation.
The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
The complete conversation is available here (only in German):