The Burch Field Research Seminar in Vienna and the Balkans is a six week program designed to investigate the roles, structure, and dynamics of international organizations (IOs) with a strong emphasis on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its conflict resolution and democracy building activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. At the same time, the Seminar provides an intensive investigation of the conflicts resulting from the breakup of the former Yugoslav and international efforts to end those conflicts and promote post-conflict state building. Key research questions include the goal setting process within IOs, the relationship between IO headquarters and field missions, and the relations among IOs and between IOs and local actors in the field. Additionally, the Seminar will inquire about progress in the development of state institutions, minority rights frameworks, and ethnic reconciliation in post-conflict countries.
The 2017 seminar begins with a three-week field trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, ruggedly beautiful countries with troubled recent pasts of violent ethnic conflict. Arrival in Sarajevo will be followed by one week of learning about the history of the region and the conflicts of the 1990s. Intermixed with the learning will be briefings with IOs and domestic groups in Sarajevo. During the second week, we will travel in Bosnia-Herzegovina, visiting regional centers in Banja Luka and Mostar, where students will have a chance to assess first hand the efforts of IOs to promote peace and rebuild ethnically-torn societies and to experience the varying influences of Muslim, Orthodox, and Catholic cultures. After a weekend at the Montenegrin coast, we will spend the third week in Kosovo, where the February 2008 declaration of independence highlighted the continuing challenges for IOs and domestic groups alike. In this environment, efforts at state building mix with ongoing attempts by IOs to reduce tensions between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority. Throughout these three weeks we will have an opportunity to examine the work of OSCE and other IOs in mission headquarters as well as regional and local offices and to interact closely with staff of these organizations.
The final three weeks of the program are based in Vienna, a city famous for its rich cultural heritage. As the former capital of the Hapsburg Empire, Vienna now offers a window into European culture, from the Baroque architecture of the eighteenth century through the Art Nouveau of the late nineteenth century to the post-modernism of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Once a home to Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Strauss and Mahler, it remains a city where music can be heard on the streets, in the concert halls and in the coffeehouses. Modern Vienna is also a home to multinational headquarters of the OSCE and a center of other IO activity, including a major United Nations center. In Vienna, we will hold classes assessing our experience in the Balkans, do independent research, and visit IOs.
Seminar research will focus on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), a multi-national agency with 56 participating states in Europe, North America and central Asia that is active in promoting security through democracy, human rights and conflict resolution. Participants will observe OSCE at close hand by visiting its headquarters, attending weekly sessions of ambassadors at the Permanent Council, and receiving briefings from diplomats and headquarters staff. Students will also meet with representatives from the United Nations office in Vienna and other IOs based in Vienna.
Credit will be given for two courses:
POLI/PWAD 469H Conflict and Nationalism in the Former Yugoslavia
(3 credit hours; GL, SS)
This core course, taught by Dr. Robert Jenkins, will explore the background, history, and aftermath of recent conflicts in the Balkans and attempts by international organizations to secure peace and rebuild states in the region.
POLI 252H International Organizations and Social Change
(3 credit hours; SS, GL)
Building upon supplemental lectures on European political and economic institutions offered by faculty members of the Vienna Diplomatic Academy (DA), briefings from OSCE headquarters, and IOs in the field, students are expected to keep a weekly journal of personal reactions to their experience and evaluations of organizations they encounter. Additionally, in consultation with Professor Jenkins, each student will design his/her own research project. This project will focus on a selected aspect of the role of international organizations in European security. Students will be encouraged to concentrate on issues related to the Balkan countries. The independent project will culminate in a 15-20 research paper due at the end of the summer program.
Upon successful completion of all requirements, students will earn 6 hours of UNC graded credit. Though only elective credits can be guaranteed, major credit can be earned if approved by individual departments. Submit a Credit Request Form
. The Department of Political Science and the Curriculums in International and Area Studies and Peace, War, and Defense have offered substantial credit hours in the past.
During the three weeks in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo students will participate in briefings at the OSCE mission headquarters in Sarajevo and Pristina, meet with representatives of other IOs active in the two countries, including the Office of High Representative (OHR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and European Union (EU), and have discussions with local organizations. We will travel into the Bosnia-Herzegovina countryside, where we will stay in Banja Luka, the seat of government of the Bosnian Serb Republic, and Mostar, a historic city that suffered substantial damage during the 1992-95 war. In Kosovo, we will be based in Pristina and make day trips to key regional centers like Peje/Pec and Mitrovica.
Courses in this program are UNC Graded Credit.
UNC Graded Credit Programs
(often taught by UNC Faculty): No action required