IMSISS Information Webinar

Thank you to everyone who came along to our information webinar about the IMSISS Programme - the recording is now available to view here.

Applications remain open until the 26th July 2024 for international applicants and 16th August 2024 for UK applicants, and you can apply here.


Hear about the IMSISS programme from one of our newest alumni!

A few weeks ago after the graduation ceremony at the University of Glasgow, we caught up with Maria Patsikouridi, one of our newest alumni, about the IMSISS programme and why you should apply for 2024!

Why did you study IMSISS and why should people study IMSISS?

One of the best things that this Master has offered to all of our cohort is the possibility to study in different countries, in different universities, within different educational systems and it gave us a perspective on security but not the traditional one – it included also post-colonial approaches, humanitarian approach, and general alternative perspectives on security issues.

[Another reason] was the chance to live in so many different cities, all of them so beautiful. Glasgow first of all and the University of Glasgow here is amazing and super organised, the staff is very helpful with everything , and then I chose Trento, other people chose Dublin. Trento was also beautiful (because it’s Italy!), and Prague was also different and the closure of our journey. All the destinations were very beautiful and the universities were really great to be in and to be part of all the spirit and community that you can find in the IMSISS community.

 

What skills did you gain on the programme?

I think that the most important skill that I learned was to be adaptive, because to travel in all these different countries and to study there you need to be very flexible and adapt to your circumstances, so I think this is the number one skill that I got from IMSISS and this is very important because to change the world (because we have to create world-changers!) we have to change ourselves and this can only be done by entering into different situations and getting out of your comfort zone. Therefore I think adaptiveness is the number one skill that this programme gave me and I will use it and apply it in whatever I do next.

 

What makes a good IMSISS application? 

I think that you really have to put yourself in the application and tell your truth and how you see things. If you have a different perspective include that and try to link it with the security field and write in your application how exactly you are going to bring that alternative perspective into the mainstream security field. So be you, and just state how you will make a difference.

 

Favourite memories from the programme?

There’s so many memories! Every day was a new experience but one of the best memories was hanging out with my new friends, going on trips throughout Europe; whenever I’m abroad I can just call them and I have someone to meet in another city. Also a very fun memory is the day that I arrived at the University of Glasgow trying to find the correct building and getting lost – fortunately the staff here are very friendly so they helped me get to my class!

 

Applications to join our 2024-2026 cohort are open now! You can apply here.  


A Warm Welcome to our 2023-2025 Cohort!

Last week we held welcome events for our new 2023-2025 cohort of IMSISS students. It was great for everyone to get together – we wish you all the best for the two years ahead and look forward to working with you!


International Women's Day - Inspiring Alumni From Each Of Our Partners

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 every year.

There is much to celebrate about women’s achievements, and yet there is still more we can all do, women and allies alike, to #EmbraceEquity and ensure that we build a world for those that come after us that is evermore diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

We’ve compiled a list of successful women in various fields who’ve graduated from each of our partner universities below.

Marion Gilchrist, University of Glasgow

Marion Gilchrist was the first woman to graduate from the University of Glasgow in 1894, and the first woman in Scotland to graduate with a medical degree, despite medicine being considered an ‘unfeminine’ subject at the time.

She worked as a GP in Glasgow, specialising in eye diseases, and was also an early motoring enthusiast, having a garage on Ashton Lane. She was also a leading figure in the UK suffragette movement, but change took time: it would be 34 years after Marion graduate that women were finally granted full voting rights.

Angela Nagle, Dublin City University

An alumna of Dublin City University, Angela Nagle is an American-born Irish academic and non-fiction writer who was written for numerous publications including The Baffler and Jacobin. She authored the book “Kill All Normies”, published in 2017, which discusses the role of the internet in the rise of the alt-right and incel movements. Nagle describes the alt-right as a dangerous movement, but she also criticizes aspects of the left that have, she says, contributed to the alt-right’s rise. She completed her PhD at DCU with a thesis titled ‘An investigation into contemporary online anti-feminist movements’

Rosy Bindi, University of Trento

Maria Rosaria Bindi, best known as Rosy Bindi, is an Italian politician and the former President of the Antimafia Commission. From 1984 to 1989, she was Vice-President of Azione Cattolica, the most popular Catholic lay association Italy, before joining the Christian Democracy Party. After that part’s dissolution, she joined the Italian People’s Party and became a leading figure in Romano Prodi’s left-to-centre ‘Olive Tree’ coalition. Following that coalition’s election victory, she served as Minister of Health for four years in successive governments. 

Eliška Krásnohorská, Charles University

An alumna of Charles University, Eliška Krásnohorská was a Czech feminist author and the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Charles University in 1922. She wrote works of literary criticism, children’s literature and translations, and numerous libretti (texts written for opera performances). She wrote for four operas by Bedřich Smetana: The Kiss, The Secret, The Devil’s Wall and Viola. In 1873, she founded the women’s magazine ‘Ženské listy’, which she led until 1912. She also established the first Czech grammar school for girls in 1890. 


IMSISS Teams Competed at Cyber 9/12 Geneva Strategy Challenge

The Cyber 9/12 Geneva Strategy Challenge is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with an escalating cyber incident and potential cyber conflict. 



This year the competition was held online over two days, with two IMSISS teams competing: Cyberians and HTTP418 . The teams were formed by students from the 2018/2020 and the 2019/2021 cohorts. DCU Lecturer, Dr Erika Biagini, coached the teams.

https://twitter.com/BiaginiErika/status/1278696389900451840

Team HTTP418 were successful in advancing to the second round of the competition.

https://twitter.com/BiaginiErika/status/1278687593887137797

This was an experience cherished by our students, who work successfully as a team and explore the challenges of cyber security.





More Information

For more information on the competition, follow the Geneva Centre for Security and Policy on Twitter and check out their website. IMSISS is committed to coaching and presenting teams to the Cyber 9/12 competitions each year (although participation is not guaranteed). There is no fee to compete in the competition, but IMSISS aims to help a select number of students participate in this competition each year. This year we also submitted teams to the UK competition.


Obituary - Mohamed Dabo (IMSISS Student)

The IMSISS Consortium, including the School of Social and Political Sciences (University of Glasgow), the School of Law and Government (Dublin City University) and the Department of Security Studies (Charles University in Prague) are very sorry to hear of the death of Mo (Mohamed) Dabo, who was a student on the International Masters in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies (IMSISS). Our sadness is shared by colleagues and students across the programme, including associated partners.

Mo was from Sierra Leone and was the first student from there to study on the IMSISS programme. He was due to graduate from the degree this summer (2020) and since returning home earlier this year had been working for the Sierra Leone government in the Disaster Management Department, advising members of parliament on the establishment of a National Disaster Management Agency. He had most recently been working on the national response to COVID19, building on his knowledge of the national response to the previous Ebola outbreak, which had been the subject matter of his degree dissertation.

Mo listed his interests as African Security, Energy Security, Migration, Public Health Emergency, ICTs, Disaster Risk Management and Security Sector Reform. These clearly informed his engagement with his studies and the opportunities he pursued as part of his degree. His account of his time at the 2018 Geneva Summer School on Global and Regional Migration Governance can be read at the IMSISS website. During the summer of 2019 Mo attended events at Chatham House, about which he was interviewed, and in autumn also participated in the first AU-EU African Students and Alumni Forum in Ghana.

During his final year, Mo also visited New York City as part of his studies to intern with the United Nations’ Office for Information and Communication Technology, which was important to his concerns to improve security in Africa as he believed that “technology will play a great role in liberating Africa and empowering youth”. Going the UN and attending the General Assembly were considered by Mo to be among his lifetime achievements. His work there included contributing to Sierra Leone’s mission at the Assembly, as well as working on the UN’s Reboot the Earth campaign, and learning about supply chain for peacekeepers in Africa. Omar Mohsine, his supervisor at the UN, wrote that “We are very saddened by his sudden passing. He was so full of life, such an amazing spirit. We will deeply missed him and his contagiously good mood and smiles. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones. We are very thankful that we had the opportunity to work with Mo and meet him.” At he end of his internship in New York, Mo also met the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, which he described as a “golden opportunity” and a photo of which he pinned on his Twitter feed.


Mo will be remembered by his teachers and student peers as an individual who was enthusiastic and unabashedly friendly, with genuine ambition to return home and play a role supporting the future development of Sierra Leone. It is with great sadness that he will be unable to continue with that ambition, but hopefully he will become an inspiration to others who will follow in his footsteps. 

We wish to pass on our condolences to Mo’s family and friends.

Dr Eamonn Butler McIntosh (University of Glasgow) 
Dr James Fitzgerald (DCU)
Dr Vít Střítecký (Charles University)


Update on English Language Requirements for 2020 Entry

As English language testing centres in different countries are currently closed, there has been concern around the ability to demonstrate that the English language requirement has been met.

The Consortium  has agreed to offer some flexibility which we hope will reassure offer holders and new applicants of their ability to meet these requirements.  

IELTS 

  • Where an offer holder has taken two IELTS tests within 6 months of each other, and through a combination of these tests has met the English language requirements, the University will accept the combined scores. 
  • The validity of an IELTS test will be extended from 2 years and 5 months prior to the date of entry to 4 years 5 months.  
  • We are currently reviewing the new Indicative Test offered by IELTS and will update on this in due course. 

TOEFL  

  • The University of Glasgow will accept the TOEFL At Home test at our usual TOEFL scores.
  • We will also accept TOEFL MyBest.
  • The validity of a TOEFL test will be extended from 2 years and 5 months prior to the date of entry to 4 years 5 months. 

Duolingo

Duolingo will be accepted for entry to our Pre-Sessional English and degree level programmes with standard English language requirements with the following scores:

  • 115 – direct entry to degree programme 
  • 105 – direct entry to degree programme with compulsory in-sessional English support 
  • 100 – entry to the 5 week online Pre-Sessional English course 
  • 95 – entry to the 10 week online Pre-Sessional English course 

Other qualifications 

  • We already accept BALEAP-accredited online and offline Pre-Sessional programmes at other UK institutions.
  • Where an offer holder has studied at least two years of an undergraduate degree in English in a country which speaks English as a primary language or at an institution in their home country on a Trans-National Education opportunity, and has successfully passed that degree, no further evidence of English language will be required. 
  • Where an offer holder has studied a postgraduate degree taught fully in English at an overseas institution based in their home country, and has successfully passed that degree, no further evidence of English language will be required. 
  • In some cases, we will accept an English language qualification taken in the applicant’s home country; e.g. WAEC, Indian CSE. For further information on whether we will accept a specific qualification please contact the International Recruitment Officer for that region. You can find details of named contacts through the University of Glasgow country pages.

Where an offer holder is unsure whether their English language meets the entry requirements, they are encouraged to contact the Admissions Team with evidence of their existing achievement for assessment at pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

The above measures are in response to the issues around the Coronavirus epidemic and the difficulties it has  brought, and are not intended to reflect a change in admissions policies generally. These measures will be applicable for autumn 2020 entry only, and will be reviewed for Autumn 2021 entry. 

Full information at English Language for 2020 Entry

See English Language proficiency level for programme entry on the Entry Requirements section.


New book by Prof. Pejman Abdolmohammadi (University of Trento)

We are glad to announce the new book Contemporary Domestic and Foreign Policies of Iran by Prof. Pejman Abdolmohammadi (University of Trento), co-authored with Prof. Giampiero Cama (University of Genova). The book has been published by Palgrave-Mcmillan, as part of the Middle East Today book series.

New book by
Dr Pejman Abdolmohammadi

This book is a comprehensive analysis of the domestic and foreign politics of Iran, focusing on its complex nature from political, social and cultural perspectives. It has adopted a multidisciplinary approach, combining comparative politics and intellectual and modern history with international relations. It analyses the institutional structure of the Islamic Republic, the main political and social actors and alliances, as well as Iranian opposition forces both inside and outside the country. The book tries to simplify the seemingly intractable complexity of the Islamic Republic by demystifying it and using political science methods to prove that it is a peculiar hybrid regime.

Dr Pejman Abdolmohammadi is a Senior Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of International Studies, leading the Causes of Conflict Pathway at the University of Trento.


IMSISS Teams Competing at Cyber 9/12 UK Strategy Challenge

The Cyber 9/12 UK Strategy Challenge, funded by the Atlantic Council, is designed to identify and foster the next generation of policy and strategy leaders for the cyber security challenges of the future.

Video: Courtesy of Atlantic Council

Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyberattack, analyze the threats and risks and then propose effective mitigating policies and strategies to panels of expert judges. Over two days, the scenario evolves through 3 judging rounds into a grand final in front of a panel of senior cyber security leaders and all the other competitors.

Cyber 9/12 UK occurs on the 17th-18th February, and IMSISS has three teams competing this year: CS27001, LightCyber and Unanimous. All students competing in London are from our 2019-21 cohort. These teams were coached by University of Glasgow lecturer, Dr Damien van Puyvelde.

CS27001

Team CS27001 is composed of 2019-21 IMSISS students Ashley, Smera , Livia and Christie.

Cybersecurity
affects everyone. Since the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a safe
and secure cyber domain has become a prerequisite for the preservation of
fundamental individual rights, such as privacy, and also a crucial element of
economic prosperity and political integrity. Owing to its paramount importance
in society, the digital world is increasingly being abused. The potential of
utilization of an arsenal of digital weapons to attack states, infrastructure,
institutions, and values has become a major threat to global security.

We, Ashley,
Smera, Christie, and Livia, want to actively contribute to a more prosperous
and secure world. We are confident that our existing knowledge, strengths, and
talents combined will be enhanced through real-time simulation exercises and
will help yield new inputs to the approach of cyber threats. Therefore, we are excited
to participate in the 2020 Cyber 9/12 Challenge in London.

Together, the
four of us possess a range of skills allowing us to deal efficaciously with the
broad spectrum of challenges in this domain. While sharing a passion for
security in general, and cybersecurity in particular, our diverse backgrounds,
both technical and non-technical, allow us to draw on strong professional and
academic competencies in political, economic, technological and communication
affairs.

Ashley
contributes strong business and technical analysis skills developed and refined
over nearly a decade of education and work experience in the field of
Information Technology. His former role as an IT business analyst and project
manager for one of the UK’s largest defense organisations, complemented by
previous military experience, provides a sound technical understanding of the
different aspects of implementing an international computer system from which
we can base our policy recommendations.

Having a
multi-disciplinary background in History, Politics, and Economics, Smera has
developed a sense of practical analysis through professional work. During her
employment at a leading think tank, she conducted research on various
geopolitical issues alongside prominent academicians and policymakers. This has
been further honed by participation in conferences and roundtable meetings such
as the Security 360 and the Policy Colloquium on Security organised by the
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of Indian Intelligence.

Christie further
accentuates the teams already heavily multidisciplinary professional and
academic background. Having past completed studies in psychology, criminology,
governance and public policy, she complements the team with her acquired
research skills and broad content knowledge to help with understanding cyber
crime at a behavioural and criminological level. She also has professional
history, working within a multinational tech company, with insights of how
these private enterprises face daily security adversaries, both physical and
technological. She provides well rounded professional skills, such as public
speaking, working in teams and competencies in working in high pressure
environments.

Livia
disposes of strong research skills, acquired through her degree combining
Political Science, Philosophy, and languages. As a former researcher in the
security field, she is accustomed to identifying reliable sources when
information is scarce, processing it analytically, and providing leaders with a
solid foundation for their decisions, even in moments of imminent crisis and
severe time pressure.

This
aggregation of individual skills and experiences, both academic and
professional in nature, allows this international team to stand out. The
multinational composition of the team can be instrumental in offering a
plethora of positions, allowing for an unrestricted approach to teamwork-based
solution-finding. Moreover, the guidance and knowledge of all the professors of
the IMSISS programme, honed under your leadership and direction, will provide
the team with all the tools necessary for a challenge of this magnitude.

Our
determination to develop a deeper understanding of security in order to fill
lacunae in the domain of cyber policy making will work as a catalyst for
change; not merely restricted to this exercise, but with possible application
in future national strategy documents. We feel privileged to represent and
promote IMSISS on the Cyber 9/12 Challenge and hopefully secure a world that is
prosperous for everyone.

LightCyber

Team LightCyber is composed of Emma van Heeswijk, Francis de Satge, Johanna Cottin, and Maarten Visser.

The members of Team LightCyber come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Francis is a South African alumnus of the University of Cape Town, with a background in Political Science and government policy, and Emma is an experienced qualitative researcher with a background in cultural anthropology and development sociology. Johanna is an award-winning filmmaker, with an academic background in Development Studies and Public Health concerns, and Maarten has many years of experience in the corporate world of tax law. The Team takes the challenge as a great opportunity to deepen their interest in Cyber Security and use their varying perspectives to address this expanding security threat.

Unanimous

Team Unanimous is composed of Gilles de Valk, Jessica Poon, Maria Patricia Bejarano Carbo and Zulaika Ubysheva.

Jessica Poon

Jessica has 5 years of experience working in research and business intelligence roles for tech SMEs. Her paper titled ‘The Art of Warring Networks: Critical Strategies of Self-Representation in the Post-Internet Condition’ was published in an anthology by isthisit? an artist collective from East London. She subsequently presented an accompanying lecture at King’s College London as part of their conference on Resisting Digital Culture. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2015. 

Gilles de Valk

Gilles is from the Netherlands and holds a bachelor's degree in European Studies. During his BA, he focused on (geo)politics in Central and Eastern Europe and went on exchange to the Saint Petersburg State University. Beside his studies, he has been an intern at the Dutch Embassy in Kyiv (Ukraine) and at the Brussels based Netherlands house for Education and Research, which serves the interests of the Dutch education and research community at the EU.

Patricia Bejarano Carbo

Patricia holds a BA in Business Administration and BA in International Relations and is currently pursuing an IntM in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies. Her past professional experience in multinational corporations and organisations have influenced her research focus, which combines security issues with economic interests and their implications. She is also interested in issues of privacy and emerging cyber threats, such as deepfakes.

Zulaika Ubysheva

Zulaika Ubysheva has two years of experience in the non-profit sector, including international organizations, working with different social and development projects, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and International Comparative Politics.  Currently she is pursuing her Masters in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies with a concentration in conflict studies. Her enthusiasm for pursuing a career in conflict prevention and the peacebuilding area stems from her interest in working with youth and disadvantaged communities and her responsibility to make full use of her expertise and skills to help them acquire a better quality of life as every individual has a right to live in a safe, just, and peaceful environment. Her professional work within international organizations such as UNHCR and UNICEF, local NGOs and extensive community service at youth centers helped her to attain valuable field experience and acquire strong research, advocacy, communication, and project management skills.


More Information

For more information on the competition, follow Cyber 9/12 UK on Twitter and check out their website. IMSISS is committed to coaching and presenting teams to the competition each year (although participation is not guaranteed). There is no fee to compete in the competition, but IMSISS aims to help a select number of students participate in this competition each year. This year we also plan to submit teams to the Geneva competition.


Professor Kai Michael Kenkel (PUC-Rio & GIGA) visits IMSISS

Professor Kenkel speaking at GIGA

In Autumn, IMSISS at Charles University received a visit by Professor Kai Michael Kenkel, a faculty member at the Institute of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an associate of the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies. There he taught our students and met with staff at Charles.

Following his trip to Prague, Prof. Kenkel recounted of his visit:

It was a great pleasure to be able to teach in the IMSISS programme at Charles University. The combination of a dynamic, international programme, housed in one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious academic institutions, was very stimulating. Over the course of four sessions on two days during the space of almost a week, I taught the short course “Current Developments in Latin America”. On the first day, we discussed the political, economic and social specificities of the Latin American continent, with a focus on the legacies of colonialism, slavery and the Cold War. On the second, we engaged in an in-depth treatment of the current situation in Brazil, Chile and Bolivia, as examples of the impact of election results on political and economic stability. I was pleasantly surprised by both the level of interest in the class and students’ level knowledge and engagement in the class discussions. It was particularly interesting to be able to identify certain parallels between the past relationship of the Czech Republic and its Central European neighbours to Western European powers and that experienced by some South American states. My positive assessment of the my stay in the IMSISS programme at Charles University was reinforced further when I received students’ research papers some time after the end of the teaching; most were very well structured, and as a whole they showed an impressive breadth of topics and theories, from constructivism to Realism and from water rights in Chile, the role of China in the Brazilian economy, and decolonial approaches to the current crisis in Bolivia. In terms of contributions to my own teaching and other responsibilities, it was thrilling to see the breadth of work being done on up-to-date security questions in the University, and I was able to initiate a formal institutional cooperation process with my own Institute and University. The teaching topic contributed to my own efforts in that it added another welcome layer of insights to the richness of interpretations that must be brought to bear in teaching about a region as diverse as Latin America.

PUC-Rio is an Associate Partner of IMSISS, and helps us to deliver on our ambition to be a global collective of conversations on security. We look forward to future collaboration with Prof Kenkel and his colleagues.