Our Guest: Ahmet Sözen



LFUI Guest Professorship
March - May 2024

Home university / Country
Eastern Mediterranean University / Cyprus

Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations

Research areas
Russia-Turkey relations, populist-nationalist agendas, governance in deeply-divided societies, conflict resolution and peace-building 

Guest of 
Rina Malagayo Alluri 

Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies

Guest lecture
to be announced ...

"Peace is possible, and we have to start from one community at a time."


The motto I live by is...

...“World peace is possible”! However, it is not going to land on our lap in one bang… Peacebuilding requires a constant hard work and careful nurturing. “Peace is possible, and we have to start from one community at a time” – starting with our own community, which can range from the very colleagues we work together to the ethnic or national group that we feel identified with, to all the way to being a world citizen. In that sense, this is also very much related to the original “mission” of the discipline of International Relations on which I hold a PhD and I’m very honoured to be a member of this discipline which has in my opinions a very honourable mission. The original mission of the discipline was to scientifically study to find ways to prevent wars taking place. Along this line, since my childhood when I had lived the trauma of conflict and war in my country (Cyprus), I’ve been a champion of peace and tried to contribute both academically and on the ground in solving outstanding conflicts in the region.


At the University of Innsbruck I will...

...be teaching a course named “Cyprus Conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean Context” in which, by using the Cyprus conflict and peace negotiations as a case study, I will focus on the negotiation, mediation and peace-building processes in general. My aim here is to get my students to learn the mechanics and the workings of these processes and being able to apply them to other conflict cases, of course the current Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine conflicts will be natural and relevant examples that we will relate our learnings with. In addition, I will contribute to two other courses of my colleagues based on my conflict resolution experience on the ground in the last 3 decades. Moreover, I’ll be also holding public lectures including one on "Understanding the Unique Conflictual Cooperation in the Russian - Turkish Relations" which is part of a book that currently my PhD student Vera Liubchak and I are writing for Lexington Books (2025).


Innsbruck for me is ...

...a peaceful and picturesque city where I have a peace of mind to focus on my research aside my teaching engagements. As the lead guest editor, I’ve finished editing a book on Second Track Diplomacy for EUROpolitika Journal in Innsbruck, thanks to the serenity that Innsbruck provided to me.  Similarly, University of Innsbruck will be a fresh platform for me to learn new things and experiences from the colleagues and the students, especially at the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies which is using a different approach compared to most of the mainstream conflict resolution programs in the other parts of the world. In that sense, I am very confident that my experience in Innsbruck will hopefully be a two-way learning where I will also contribute to the Unit and the University with my three-decade long accumulated knowledge and experience on conflict resolution processes in the field.


For my students I give the following advices...

As students of conflict studies, always remember that we have a mission – that is, to contribute to the solution of conflicts in the world, no matter how modest your contribution is! This is needed more than ever before as I believe that the world is going through a power transition, and hence in layman’ term a “crazy” time with the eruption of wars, unchecked climate change with its global repercussions and rise of populist politics and democratic backsliding globally. We need young people who are in control of the new technologies to be more involved in politics and decision making with the sense of duty to their community – including the world at large as a big community. I know that, at least some of us, live under “representative” democracies and believe that they do their service by participation into elections in every 4-5 years. That might be true; but we have a lot at stake to leave to the discretion of the traditional politicians – the elected “representatives” of people. So, my simple advice for them is to get involved and participate in social and political processes very actively and take ownership in the processes involved.

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