Taavi Sundell begun in January 2019 as the new research-coordinator of FIME in Beirut. Besides working on his own research, he will take part in coordinating FIME’s communications and scientific activities. Sundell is currently in the writing-up stage of his doctoral research in world politics (University of Helsinki) in which he examines the political economy of higher education in Jordan and Finland.
‘I’m very grateful for this opportunity to get to know this city which the late Samir Kassir defined as a Westernized Mediterranean Arab metropolis. In my doctoral research I’ve been interested in the ways in which processes of internationalization and privatization have become connected in the field of higher education. Beirut and Lebanon provide an excellent environment for examining this phenomenon. I’m especially looking forward to learn more about the Lebanese system of higher education as well as about the expectations and pressures it faces in the current Middle Eastern context defined by high levels of youth unemployment and migration.’
Sundell hopes that during his two-year term at FIME he can enable the rise of new voices and perspectives to Finnish public discussions on the Middle East.
‘FIME counts amongst the most important Finnish expert organizations on the Middle East and its perspective to the region transcends historical and disciplinary boundaries. Due to my own background, my work will be undoubtedly be steered towards the modern Middle East and its various world political dimensions.’
As a research-coordinator, Sundell will also start working on his post doc -project. Here he plans to examine the role the theory of human capital has played in discussions on education and migration as well as the related political and economic processes within the Middle Eastern context.