We are an association of current and former students of the Master Program in Peace Studies. This program is carried and enriched by the diversity of its students from all over the world who offer their different backgrounds, stories and experiences. We have repeatedly experienced that some of our peers have been unable to continue their studies after the first semester due to insecurities regarding funding and the weak economic situations in their countries of origin. For that reason in the spring of 2016, five of us decided to take action and the Peace Studies Fund was born!
At the moment, the Fund counts 24 members and we are happily receiving new members – there are no fees to be paid and everyone is welcome to join us! If you are interested in becoming a member, please see here.
The current board consists of 4 members:
Shakir Muhammad Usman
Being born and raised in the Global South, securing a better future has always been a far fetched dream of mine. Bureaucracies such as visas, finances and the application process at an international university were the biggest hurdles to fulfill this dream and once I overcame some of them and got accepted at Innsbruck to do a MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, I realized there are many students who need support, but they don’t know where to get this support and on the other hand many who want to support, but don’t know exactly how. During my first semester, I got to know the group of students who had established the Peace Studies Fund with the aim to financially support their peers. I decided to join as a member and later became a board member.
I support and volunteer for the Peace Studies Fund because it allows me to keep peace education alive. The diversity of students is one main aspect that made the MA Program in Innsbruck an enriching experience for me. Studying with students from different backgrounds was not only enriching – since it broadened my view about the world and the people living within – it also made me reflect and question my own perspective and culture. This learning with and from each other constituted my foundation and understanding as a Peace Worker.
When it comes to financial needs and the accessibility for funding, there is a big gap between students of the MA Program. While some finance their studies without major difficulties or can find a variety of suitable scholarships, other students cannot access this peace education or do not know how to continue financing their studies. I’m happy to support students, peace education and peace work through the work of the Peace Studies Fund and to offer a possibility for future generations to engage in peace and conflict work.
I gained a lot from doing the MA Program in Peace Studies and to this day draw strength and energy from what I experienced in the two years of studying in Innsbruck. After I finished, I wanted to give something back. The Peace Studies Fund seemed the best option for me to do so, because it supports others in making their own Peace Studies experiences, just as I was able to do. So I first contributed with regular donations and in 2020, decided to become a member of the Fund. This decision coincided with the founders of the Fund wanting to hand it over to a new generation of board members and so I gladly took on this role.
Although the Fund exists already several years, we are still a quite small association and all work on a voluntary basis next to our paid work. I wish to put the Fund on stable footing together with my colleagues at the Fund, so that it can continue supporting students of Peace Studies.