» Archive for: July, 2013



The Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development at Maastricht University (Netherlands) offers a fully funded 4 year PhD position on the circulation of children of migrants between the Netherlands and an African country.

The vacancy is advertised HERE, and below the details:

Vacancy PhD Candidate ‘Mobile Children’
Department of Technology and Society Studies, affiliated to the Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University
Reference number: AT2013.138
Job description
Children of migrants circulate between their parents’ origin country and the host country more than is acknowledged. They may go ‘home’ on school vacations, or return for longer periods of time with or without their parents, or be forced to return due to their parents’ legal status in the host country. This impacts children’s wellbeing as well as their educational outcomes in many ways. This PhD project examines the effects of circulation on children’s lives focusing on a) children’s own perceptions; b) parents’ perceptions, and; c) schools’ assessments and distinguishing by the different reasons for circulation. The project is multi-sited as it will follow children between The Netherlands and an African country. This project falls under the Transnational Families research theme of MACIMIDE and will be hosted by the Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development research programme of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
We seek candidates with strong academic abilities and the ambition to become excellent researchers. You have completed a research master (MA, MSc, MPhil) in anthropology, geography, development studies or other related social science with a preference for a 2-year Master’s degree. Outstanding students with a 1-year regular master can be accepted in exceptional cases when their profile exactly matches the requirements for this research project.
We are looking for a prospective PhD candidate with:
  • Strong background in qualitative research methods Background;
  • Experience in conducting research in the Global South, preferably in Africa;
  • A proven interest in development and/or migration studies; 
  • Strong analytical capacity;
  • Good organisational skills;
  • Affinity with work in an interdisciplinary and highly international environment;
  • Excellent writing skills in English;
  • Knowledge of (or a willingness to learn) Dutch;
  • Willingness and proven ability to work in a team;
  • Willingness to relocate to (the vicinity of) Maastricht.
The PhD-candidate will be enrolled in one of the Netherlands Graduate Research Schools as well as in the FASoS graduate school, and be supervised by Prof. Valentina Mazzucato and Prof. Hildegard Schneider (Maastricht University). The PhD student will be based at Maastricht University.
What we have to offer
Maastricht University provides an attractive, internationally-oriented academic environment where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct first-rate research.
We offer a 4 year full-time PhD contract. Your workload will be the normal workload for the position of PhD Candidate (Promovendus). Currently this implies 80% research activities and 20% teaching activities.
(The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years.) You will be employed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Compensation will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2083,- with a yearly growth to € 2664,- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment).
Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. A candidate who does not already live in Maastricht (or its immediate area) is eligible for a relocation allowance. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.
Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may be eligible for a special expense allowance scheme: the 30% facility. The Tax and Customs Administration decides whether employees meet the necessary conditions.
You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.
Maastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website:www.maastrichtuniversity.nl /Staff/Index and forms / HR from A-Z.
Contract type: Temporary, 4 years
Appointment date1 January 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Please consult our website: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fasos, where you can find more information on the Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development research programme.
Any informal inquiries about this job opening may be addressed to: Prof. Valentina Mazzucatov.mazzucato@maastrichtuniversity.nl or Prof. Hildegard Schneider / h.schneider@maastrichtuniversity.nl
The deadline for submitting your application is 30 September, 2013
For more information on this vacancy and application options, please use the direct link to this job opening:www.academictransfer.com/19349

ageIs there any relationship between the age of national political leaders, the median age of the population and the type of political system?

The Economist, in an article dated 15/2/2011 (including the above figure), suggests there is:

One much-discussed cause of the Jasmine Revolution in the Arab world is the age difference between youthful populations and grizzled leaders. Egypt’s median age is 24. President Hosni Mubarak was the fifth-oldest leader in the world before he was toppled aged 82. The countries in the chart below suggest that such a wide gap is more common in autocracies like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Cuba and North Korea (where Kim Jong Il celebrates his 70th birthday on February 16th). Democracies, by contrast, seem to prefer more youthful leaders these days, though India and Italy are exceptions to this trend.

In light of the recent developments in Egypt it is of interest to return to this suggestion. Mohammed Morsi is about 20 years younger than Hosni Mubarak, yet this didn’t seem to have helped neither him nor Egypt. Also, with Kim Jong Un North Korea got itself a political leader who was, in fact, below the median age of the population. Also here, this has apparently not transformed North Korean politics in any significant way.

Perhaps then, the relationship between age, leadership and political system is a bit more complex than the Economist suggests it to be, or perhaps not a relevant relation at all?

posted by Roy Huijsmans




Just over a month ago it was “International Children’s Day’ (1st June), a day usually marked with interesting speeches.

Perhaps there is a worthwhile project in analysing the various speeches that officials, the world over, delivered on the occasion? It may give an interesting impression of the different ways childhood is constructed in relation to various national histories and development trajectories.

Should you know of some speeches, please post them. As a starter, here is the speech by the Lao Prime Minister Mr Thongsing Thammavong:

Amidst the atmosphere  where the  whole  Party, armed forces and the entire society throughout the country is actively implementing  the  Resolution  of  the  9th  Party  Congress  and  the Seventh Five-Year Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011-2015) in parallel with the creation of political grass-roots activities based on the ‘Three builds’ directive and four breakthroughs approach, we together celebrate International Children’s Day (June 1).

This  occasion  provides  us  with  a  good  opportunity  to  review  the implementation  of  our  Party  and  government’s  policies  towards  the children of the multi-ethnic Lao  people as  well as other conventions related  to  children,  particularly  the  Convention  on  the  Rights  of  the Child.

As  we  approach  the  mid-term  review  of  the  implementation  of  the policies since the Party Congress in 2011, we are proud to see that our country has been developing at a rapid pace with economic growth averaging 8.2 percent annually. Our country has also enjoyed political stability, security and social order.

While progress has been made in regards to developing necessary infrastructure including the expansion of the  communications  and  transportation  networks  to  the  village  level,  we  must  also  pay  attention  to  socio cultural development in association with environmental protection. The accomplishment of this task reflects the progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for which we should be congratulated.

Some  notable  achievements  include  the  overall  poverty  rate  declining  to  20.5  percent;  the  poverty  rate among families falling to 16 percent; the primary school enrolment rate reaching 96.8 percent; primary school completion rates rising to 71.4 percent; the equality ratio between boys’ and girls’ access to primary schools standing at 0.95, to lower secondary schools at 0.89, to upper secondary schools at 0.83 and higher levels at 0.77.

In relation to health, there were many achievements including the mortality rate of children under 1 year old falling  to  48/1,000;  the  mortality  rate  of  children  under  5  falling   to  61/1,000;  the  maternal  mortality  rate reducing  to  339/100,000.  Meanwhile  37  percent  of  women  giving  birth  are  now  assisted  by  doctors;  the HIV/AIDs rate is low at 0.28 percent; the rate of people with access to clean water is now 79.5 percent and the rate of people using latrines stands at 55 percent.

In  regards  to  the  above  achievements,  on  behalf  of  the  Lao  government,  I  would  like  to  congratulate  the National Commission for Mother and Child from the central and local levels, various sectors, local authorities, the  Lao  Front  for  National  Construction,  mass  organisations  and  other  organisations  as  well  as  State  and private  business  units  and  the  multi-ethnic  Lao  people  for  their  progressive  contribution  to  the  task  of protecting mothers and their children.

On this occasion of significance, I’d like to express my thanks to friendly nations, international organisations, international  financial  institutions  and  non-governmental  organisations  for  their  assistance  to  Laos  in  this sector and hope that you will continue to support us in the future.

Despite the achievements we have made to lay a firm foundation for Laos to accomplish the MDGs in 2015, we still encounter some obstacles and challenges. We have the problem of malnutrition, which has caused our  children  to  be  underweight  and  short;  the  problem  of  high  mortality  rates  among  mothers  and  their children.  Meanwhile  the  completion  rates  among  primary  and  secondary  school  children  are  still  low, particularly among girls; and many people still lack access to clean water and latrines.

Even now, people in some local areas continue to practice open defecation, which is considered a cause to the spread and outbreak of diseases, threatening the health of mothers and their children.

Moreover, the disparities in  development between urban and rural areas remains a challenge in regards to accomplishing the MDGs in 2015, particularly people’s access to education and health services.

In addition, we still encounter some negative social phenomena which are related to the thinking, knowledge and awareness of some people who remain influenced by out-of-date traditions and beliefs.

Out-of-date  traditions  mean  people  have  yet  to  attach  great  importance  in  taking  care  of  and  creating opportunities for children, particularly girls, so they can experience inclusive development and be protected from  negative  social  phenomenons  such  as  amphetamines,  oppression,  domestic  violence  in  all  forms, illegal child labour, victims of human trafficking, prostitution, pornography and child labour.

Although  girls  in  remote  areas  have  access  to  educational  opportunities,  the  rate  of  girls’  enrolment  and completion continues to decline. Other problems are underage marriage and premature birth delivery.

We observe that some of our children do not concentrate much on education so that they can acquire actual knowledge.  On  the  contrary,  many  of  them  hold  on  to  extravagance  and  rush,  aiming  only  to  obtain certificates.

However, we give special priority to children with disabilities, orphans, abandoned children, children addicted to  drugs,  children  infected  by  HIV/AIDs,  children  affected  by  natural  disasters,  children  labouring  in hazardous  conditions  which  threaten  their  health  as  well  as  children  who  are  victims  of  human trafficking and other violence.

On the occasion of the International Children’s Day celebration (June 1) 2013, on behalf of the government, I would  like  to  urge  organisations  from  the  Party,  government,  Lao  Front  for  National  Construction,  mass organisations and other organisations as well as State and private business units and the multi-ethnic Lao people to enhance their responsibilities and efforts to implement the task related to our children in the next mid-term until 2015. Our aim is to ensure the survival, protection and development of our children, enabling them to move forwards towards prosperity, and enjoy warmth from families, organisations and society.

posted by Roy Huijsmans

International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.