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  • 執筆者の写真Hiroshige FUJII

Student research as a member of UIPJ 2023

B2 Miyu Suzuki

On 19th January, 2nd-grade students of UIPJ conducted a presentation of student research in front of Mr. Hidehiko FURUMOTO, who is an expert in the humanitarian aid field, and students who took Professor Fujii's international law class. In this essay, I would like to write down what I felt and experienced through student research at UIPJ.

Firstly, I briefly explained UIPJ and introduced my colleague. UIPJ, Utsunomiya International Peace and Justice, is the name of the club that we aim to study deeply regarding international law or related human rights topics and some practical activities by using the knowledge we learn. As an example of works, we take a workshop on the Rights of the Child and issue the importance of human rights. Members consisted of 1st and 2nd-grade students, and this research was engaged in 2nd-grade students, Miyu SUZUKI, Haruka YOKOI, Nonoka SATOU, and Kaito TATCHIBANA.

Around September of this summer, we began to search for research topics and talked about what we were interested in. Even though there were some differences among our opinions, we discovered a common keyword: peace activities and started reading documents to determine more detailed contents of our research. After sharing each piece of information, we decided to focus on humanitarian aid from the perspective of peace. Then, we found a curious relationship between peacekeeping and humanitarian aid space, what is called a civil-military relationship, and kept gathering information for the mid-term presentation in mid-December that showed progress in getting senior students' opinions. Our research question was, "In what frameworks and methods can UN peacekeeping operations contribute to humanitarian assistance?" However, it was indicated that improper and vague topics to conduct student research and senior students gave us various perspectives. In addition, Prof. Fujii gave us objective advice to improve the quality of the research. He also told us that we needed to narrow the range of topics, such as limiting countries as cases, what kinds of peace activities we would research, etc. As a result, we changed our research question to "Consideration of the relationship between UN peacekeeping operations and emergency humanitarian assistance operations ~ Why does the ICRC not cooperate with peacekeeping operations? In comparison with UNHCR ~" We also did a final presentation several days before an actual presentation. Finally, we could make a presentation about student research on 19th January and receive some questions and advice from Mr. Hidehiko FURUMOTO.

After the presentation of student research, I also had an opportunity to have a conversation with him and ask him some questions about his career path. It was impressive that he has passion and enjoyment even though he had some difficulties in his duties. Since working at an international institution or field of international corporation attracted me, it was a precious chance to get information. Once again, I respect people who do their jobs in humanitarian assistance and feel I would be active around the world like them.

Lastly, we went to a restaurant at Utsunomiya where we could eat gyoza and talked roughly with him. He was so friendly and rooted for us to keep having an interest in international topics, including the humanitarian aid field.

Through the experience of student research, I could learn important things. First, managing and communicating with members is significant to success. In this research, having the same motivation and reorganization of knowledge was challenging. However, producing environments to proceed with all member's agreements made sense. This lesson is also applicable when we work in the future. Second, one research topic that I am fascinated with is a complex but valuable heritage of knowledge, and how to proceed with the research is crucial rather than results. The research confused me because I was unsure how to advance the flow of research. But thanks to guidance from Prof. Fujii and advice from senior students and members of the Lab, I gradually learned how to do my research. Although it was my last work at UIPJ, what I learned, including this research from UIPJ, was valuable in my life.

This student research gave me self-confidence and motivation to keep researching this topic and what I pursue relating to international law and human rights. From now on, I want to challenge myself more actively and try to learn many things.

Ultimately, I again appreciate the guidance of Prof. Fujii and the people who support our student research!


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