Collegium Helveticum
In conversation

Find the Time to Listen and Widen the Focus
Medinat Malefakis

Medinat Malefakis is an academic and policy-oriented expert on terrorism, conflict, and peacebuilding, with broad experience in humanitarian displacement program management. During her early-career fellowship at the Collegium in 2021–2022, Medinat scrutinized the use of digital technologies and social media in conflict and peacebuilding, resettlement, sexual violence, and reparations in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Medinat’s research project was not only situated at the intersections of these various disciplines, but also of research and practice, and thus required input from various sides. “For me, specifically, it was crucial to initially organize a round table on my planned project in a focused discussion.” Experts from various fields participated and she could feed all the input into the further development of her ideas and research questions. “In the academic world, you often work towards a very specific goal and are under pressure at the same time to provide a certain result. In that environment, your focus can get sometimes too narrow, and you miss important aspects from disciplines that are not obviously related." At the Collegium, the fellows have the possibility of widening this focus, and to find the time to listen, Medinat elaborates. An spect that she finds very stimulating and empowering, in the sense that one can gain confidence from the fact that one's research integrates many important aspects. Towards the end of her fellowship, Medinat organized a symposium. “In this regard, the support I received for the event from the Collegium’s staff was essential. My personal profile benefitted greatly from the fact that I could invite and personally host colleagues in a highly professional setting.“ The symposium allowed her both to expand her network and to finally bring together researchers and practitioners in the same room.

Medinat currently sits as a member of the Independent Review Panel for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund in Geneva and holds since 2022 a senior researcher position at the NADEL–Center for Development and Cooperation at ETH Zurich.