INTENSIVE SUMMER SCHOOL ON ORGANISED CRIME 2014, CATANIA UNIVERSITY AND ECPR SGOC
Organised crime is complex. Thus, it is crucial to examine this phenomenon from different perspectives with the help of distinguished experts from a number of different fields. It is even better when interested, motivated and friendly students from across the world come together to research, discuss, question and sometimes even provide answers to issues relating to organised crime. In addition, if this is all well organised, funded by the European Commission and takes place in a fascinating and stimulating environment, the whole event promises to be a huge success.
And this is exactly what happened during the Intensive Summer School on Organised Crimeorganised by the ECPR Standing Group on Organised crime in Catania, Sicily from the 22nd June to 5th July 2014. I was lucky enough to be one of the participants chosen from the University of Bath to attend. In my opinion, all crucial fields relating to OC were covered. Distinguished academics and practitioners provided insights on security-related issues, EU policy, law, police cooperation and many others. We tackled pressing issues such as how to actually conduct research on OC and gained an understanding into the fight against organised crime undertaken by civil society in Sicily. However, the Summer School was everything but one-way communication. Frequently, we discussed issues in groups (that often continued into our leisure time), prepared and held presentations. We even simulated a European Council meeting – in which a lot of realpolitik was involved. All in all, I learnt a lot.
But it was not only the formal programme that made the Summer School a fascinating experience. I met many very smart, motivated, and friendly people during the two weeks in Catania, from whom I also learnt many things during our discussions but with whom I also had much fun after the official programme had ended in the evenings. Here, I should mention that the entire event was very well organised and that we were also offered some exciting and fun leisure time activities during the weekend.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the generous funding of the European Commission, the University of Catania’s facilities nor the ECPR SGOC’s initiatives and vision. This shows me that the European idea is about bringing people from different backgrounds together to learn from, teach each other and thus to contribute to solving complex problems. It also showed me that organised crime is regarded as a phenomenon that needs to be tackled by motivated people from various backgrounds and disciplines. This year’s Intensive Summer School on Organised Crime was a step in that direction. I hope that many more steps will follow.
Student “Master in International Security”
University of Bath, UK