Two-month Overseas Institutional Visit to the University of Berkley, USA
My institutional visit at the Human Rights Center (HRC), Berkeley has been very beneficial both for my research and my career development. I gained access to a uniquely important and comprehensive data set for my doctoral research, which allows me to test the generalizability of my arguments and empirical findings. The Atrocity Response research team at the HRC had conducted a multi-year, multi-country study on the experiences and perspectives of victim participants at the International Criminal Court (ICC). They had collected this data (which includes six hundred interviews with victims) and had just written the first draft of the policy report when I joined the Center.
This was optimal timing as they were keen to have my feedback and input into the report given that I write my PhD on the ICC's victims' engagement in Kenya and Uganda. We held several meetings to go through the report's findings and to discuss possible policy recommendations. The discussions with the researchers at the HRC, many of whom work on the International Criminal Court but from different theoretical perspectives, also helped me to put the final touches on my conceptual framework.
I also had the chance to learn more about how academia works in the United States. I attended many sessions for visiting scholars that gave advice on job applications and network-building. I was also encouraged by the Director of HRC to apply for postdoctoral vacancies at the University of California, Berkeley.
In terms of knowledge exchange, I have become involved in a project that cooperates with the International Criminal Court in analysing the Prosecutor's investigation and prosecution of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) to develop best practices and lessons learnt for future cases at the Court. I will remain involved in the project beyond my institutional visit.
It was an excellent opportunity to engage with a new academic community, build networks and get new feedback and input for my research, and I would therefore encourage all DTC students who are eligible to apply for support from the scheme to do so.