Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meet Prof. Winrich Kühne

SAIS professors are academics, practitioners or both. Today we introduce you to Winrich Kühne, a practitioner par excellence who has a Ph.D and a publishing record to boot.

The latest edition of La Rivista has an interview with Kühne, who is the Steven Muller Professor in German Studies. The article lists some of his many accomplishments: founder and former director of the German Center for International Peace Operations in Berlin; longtime consultant to the German parliament and government; senior adviser to the European Union's former Crisis Prevention Network; member of the international advisory board of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations' Lessons Learned Unit; a member of election observer missions in Namibia, Malawi, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa.

Kühne is too modest to mention it, but in 2009 SAIS Bologna students awarded him, together with Thomas Row, the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.


What course are you teaching?
Two courses: "War, Conflict, State Failure and Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa" and "Theory and Practice of Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding". In the courses I link academic teaching very much with real life experience in the field.

Your degrees?
Ph.D in International Law, University of Munich and Tuebingen, Germany

Where have you taught?
My work experience is much more important than my teaching although I taught at the University of Munich for a while and lectured at many German and international academies as well as research and training institutes.

Important stages of my working life:
  • Director of the German Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) 2002-2009
  • Deputy Director of the German Think Tank Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) 1995-2002; before I was head of its Africa Department
  • many field trips to Africa and other places where conflicts were going on or in the process of being managed or even resolved.

How long have you been teaching at SAIS Bologna?
Since 1991 after former SAIS Bologna Director Steve Low recruited me at a Winston House conference near London. As I enjoyed the Center, the students and the staff so much, not to mention beautiful Bologna, I kept returning although it was not easy in certain phases of my professional life to harmonize the Bologna schedule with tough professional demands, in particular the development of the German Peacekeeping Training Center.

A link to a recent publication/oped/academic work by you?
"Peace Operations and Peacebuilding in the Transatlantic Dialogue" (2009)

Anything special about SAIS Bologna?
Great place to teach and to learn!

Anything special about Bologna?
After more than 20 years I still love walking around between teaching hours and exploring its many picturesque "stradine" and corners.

Your favorite book?
Oh God, there is more than one...

Tennis, skiing and being idle whenever possible

A quote?
"While we are planning life it is doing something else." One of my favorite quotes which I learned in Africa.

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