7 April 2022

MA Fellows Spring 22

This spring term (22), NIAS is supporting 4 Master's students in their process of writing their thesis. We're introducing them below. 

Maria Dahl Skriver, Msc Political Science at University of Copenhagen Maria Profile

My name is Maria Dahl Skriver and I am from Slagelse (Denmark), but I have lived in Copenhagen for the past six years. Last year I spent in Spain where I first did an Eramus exchange at the University of Granada and afterwards did a 6 months internship at the Danish Embassy in Madrid. I did both the Eramus exchange and the internship as part of my master's degree in Political Science here at the University of Copenhagen. I took the International Politics and Conflict Resolution specialization as these are my main interests within the field of political science. I also did my bachelor's degree in Political Science here at the University of Copenhagen.  

Thesis topic 

I am currently working on my master's thesis on Myanmar. My idea is to investigate how the 2021 coup has affected the construction of a "Myanmar nationhood". I see the 2021 coup as a critical juncture in the creation of a shared identity in Myanmar. My main focus will be the elite group of ethnic Burmese that made up the National League for Democracy and now constitutes the majority of the exile-government, the National Unity Government. Using social constructivism I will show how there has been a change in the constructed shared identity and how it has moved towards a more open and pluralistic understanding of Myanmar nationhood. I will do so by comparing the constructed nationhood pre and post 2021 coup.  

Why you sought out NIAS

Besides the obvious advantage of having a physical space at campus that allows a separation of work and leisure, I see it as a huge advantage being close to academics who write within the field I am now myself doing research. Also, sharing an office space can hopefully facilitate a more informal exchange of information and ideas. I also look forward to share a office space with the rest of the staff at NIAS, hopefully meeting people in the kitchen for lunch or on their way to a coffee break. All in all I think it will be very stimulating to be in a research environment during this process.   

Amber Woortman, MSc Political Science at University of Copenhagen Amber Pic

My name is Amber Woortman. I am of Dutch & East Timorese origin, raised in Amsterdam but moved to Copenhagen 2.5 years ago for an Erasmus+ exchange and decided to come back a few months after to pursue my master's degree in Political Science at the University in Copenhagen. I have a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam, with a major in International Relations and I’m mainly interested in post-conflict areas, women empowerment and humanitarian intervention.

Thesis topic 

 am currently conducting my fieldwork in Timor-Leste, my mother's country of birth. It’s a tiny nation with a population of 1.36 million but had to endure many years of Indonesian occupation after being a Portuguese colony for centuries. After 24 years of under violent Indonesian rule, the Timorese choose to become independent in an UN-led referendum in 1999. In 2002, the nation became independent Timor-Leste. As one of the youngest countries and democracies in the world, this year marks a special period for the Timorese; twenty years after independence. What did independence mean for the Timorese? What has changed? This March and April, the two rounds of the presidential election will be held (if no one receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round). Although having four women candidates on the ballot in the first round, many historical leaders, who played a significant role in the struggle for independence, are running for president as well. But what about the young generation, do they feel it's time to transfer the power to the new generation? My research aims to provide an analysis on what role the leaders of the resistance era play in the current presidential election of 2022, and how this affects the generational gap within the country and the future of this young democracy. 

Why you sought out NIAS 

Being a master fellow at NIAS gives me the wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by experienced people within the field. Aside from connecting with others, being part of NIAS allows me to share my knowledge on Timor-Leste, a country of which many might not even know where it is located on the map. I am looking forward to taking my place behind the desk located in Copenhagen upon my return from Timor-Leste, and I am excited to become part of this inspiring research environment. In the meantime, I have also contributed to one of the episodes of the Nordic Asia Podcast, "Understanding East Timor's 2022 Presidential Elections" and have two more coming up.  

Kristoffer Fisker, MSc Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School Kristoffer Pic

My name is Kristoffer Fisker, I study Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School. I am from Viborg, Denmark but moved to Copenhagen when I started my bachelor's in International Business in Asia at CBS. Currently, I work for Danish-Chinese Business Forum where I assist with communication and projects. I also get a first-hand impression of some of the opportunities and challenges that Danish companies have in China. Lastly, I am the President of Global China Connection - CBS which is a student organisation that hosts events year round about doing business and/or working in China.

Thesis topic 

We are investigating the concept of vertical farming as a niche innovation and its impact on food security as well as its potential to disrupt certain aspects of conventional farming. We are investigating this as a comparative study between Denmark and Singapore to contrast different incentives for this industry to bloom.

Why you sought out NIAS 

My thesis partner and I sought out NIAS to get a place where we could set up a base and create a kind of "everyday workspace" to be able to concentrate and focus on our thesis. NIAS’ focus on Asia will hopefully help support our project and we also hope that some of the connections at NIAS can help us get knowledge about Singaporean institutions and companies for potential interviews.

Susanne Boelt Kristiansen, MSc Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School Susanne pic

My name is Susanne Boelt Kristiansen, and I am the thesis partner of Kristoffer. I too study my Master’s in Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School and did the same bachelor’s degree, International Business in Asia (with Mandarin Language). Before moving to Copenhagen from Aarhus, I spent a few years in Berlin studying Chinese and got to spend a year living and studying in Nanjing, China. Besides my studies I also work as a Student Assistant at NIAS and is mainly involved with our websites and managing the Nordic Asia Podcast.

Thesis topic 

As Kristoffer explained above, our thesis is on Vertical Farming in Denmark and Singapore, and we chose these two countries to investigate the similarities and differences in the political, geographical, institutional, and cultural settings that affect the interest, needs and incentives for alternative types of agriculture to provide enough food in an ever more urbanized world and with population growth.

Why you sought out NIAS 

Besides having NIAS as my workplace twice a week, being an MA Fellow here allows me to engage in NIAS in a different way, and hopefully to get to talk to some of my knowledgeable colleagues and seek academic guidance on our thesis topics such as institutional setting in Singapore, IR theories, as well as general writing tips. The MA Fellowship also provides a workspace that really helps structure our process, and through NIAS we have access to valuable library databases.