“The refugee crisis deserves the most attention. Not only because it is a huge humanitarian issue unlikely to get better.”
Name: Giulia Di Domenico
Birth place: Milan, Italy
Occupation: Freelance translator for Blue Heron Research Partners and job seeker
Languages: English, Italian and working on my Arabic
Currently reading: “Island Beneath the Sea” by Isabel Allende
Q: What is your most memorable international experience?
Two summers ago, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the Arabian Gulf for my MA dissertation, which tackled the impact of recent socio-economic changes on youth in Qatar and in the UAE.
For the project, I specifically focused on the improvement in education and technologies, which are considered key aspects for democratic development as both increase people’s awareness and shape their aspirations and priorities.
One of the places I liked the most is the Creek, once the main trade route and business heart of Dubai, that flows between Deira and Bur Dubai — the most ancient districts of the city.
Bur Dubai is also home to the Al Fahidi UNESCO heritage site. In the area you will not see skyscrapers or many big, fancy buildings. Instead you can somehow escape from the bustle of the city and look at what Dubai used to be.
The people I met shared with me stories they have heard from their families about how their cities and their lives have been transformed in relatively little time. One of them told me that when her dad was a child, he used to swim in the Creek. The Creek was the place where families chose to spend a nice day outside.
I was amazed to see the coexistence of “futuristic” Dubai and its old districts, where heritage is preserved and embraced.
It was simply invaluable to travel to my region of interest, experience first-hand what I had been studying and to be exposed to the points of view and stories of other people.
While I have always felt the need to be informed about what is happening in the world, it was my first year in university that made me truly interested in international affairs. Among the classes I liked the most were geopolitics and international relations theory.
These classes covered the relations among states, between state and civil society, and non-state actors such as multinational corporations, NGOs, lobbies. The more I studied the mechanisms behind political institutions — all the actors capable of playing a role in the international arena, shaping the balance of power and influencing choices and behaviors — the more I thought they deserved my full attention.
It made me realize and grasp, at least in part, the complexity that surrounds us.
Q: What international issue is of greatest interest to you today? Why?
I believe the refugee crisis deserves the most attention. Not only because it is a huge humanitarian issue unlikely to get better but also because it intertwines with other, prominent matters: instability in the Middle East, economic and political crisis in the EU, radicalization and political violence.
Favorite quote: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”