Sara de Jong, Netherlands
- Employment: Research Fellow, The Open University, United Kingdom
- Scholarship: OeAD Grant – Ernst Mach worldwide
- Duration: 10/2012–02/2013
- Philosophy of Life: “The personal is political”
Currently, Sara de Jong is working as a Research Fellow in the Strategic Research Area Citizenship & Governance at The Open University in the United Kingdom. She is conducting research on the claims to rights, protection and settlement by Afghan and Iraqi locally engaged civilians, such as interpreters, for western armies and organisations. Many of them have been facing threats to their lives based on their work for ‘the enemy’ and have sought protection and asylum from the nations that they worked for. She is also supporting the research of other colleagues at the Strategic Research Area Citizenship & Governance and organizes seminars on Engaged Scholarship as a platform for exchange. Prior to this Sara de Jong conducted a 2 year postdoc research project 'Employing the Cultural Broker in the Governance of Migration and Integration' (BrokerInG) supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme, at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna. In 2012-2013 she was supported by an OeAD worldwide grant and the Dutch Catherine van Tussenbroek fonds to conduct a research project on ‘Development and Migration: The Missing Link’. Her previous positions include: Research manager, Atria, Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History, Amsterdam (2009-2012), Researcher, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2011-2012), Teaching Fellow, School of Politics, University of Amsterdam (2013). She is a volunteer befriender at a so-called Immigration Removal Centre, a place where migrant women are detained.
The OeAD Grant gave me the opportunity to return to conducting research at an academic institution, after working for some years outside academia. The transdisciplinary Department for Development Studies at the University of Vienna has been an inspiring home for my work. The OeAD sponsored research project ‘Development and Migration: The Missing Link’ built on my previous PhD research, but allowed me to develop in exciting new directions and widen my field of expertise to include migration. After completing this project, I was supported by my head of department in my application for an EU Marie Curie project for 2 years at the same institute. In December 2013, we received the good news that the grant had been awarded, so since March 2014 I have been back in Vienna again. Through this experience, I have been able to gain insight in the German speaking academic world, familiarise myself with other ways of teaching, improve my German language skills, engage in new academic debates and expand my professional network. I still draw on many of the contacts that I established at the University of Vienna in my current role at The Open University in the UK.
I frequently come back to Vienna and my old employer, the Department of Development Studies, for instance to speak at workshops and have also invited staff and PhD students from Vienna to The Open University as well as other international workshops that I organized on the topic of brokerage.
I am also in the process of finalizing a special issue with the Head of the Institute, Prof. Petra Dannecker. I am in touch with many friends in Vienna and also have frequent contact with the women academics I met in the context of the University of Vienna mentoring programme.