Mirjam Granström has been a research intern at the Åland Islands Peace Institute from March to May 2019. Here are her reflections on the internship period:
The core reason for my interest in an internship at the Åland Peace Institute was that I wanted to become better acquainted with research and with issues that the Institute is working on in the field of peace, security and minorities. When I think back on my internship, I realise that in addition to gaining an insight into how the Institute works with research, I have really become aware of what Åland’s special status entails.
As a Swedish-speaking Finn I have read about the “Åland example” in history class, but it was only during the internship period that I really understood what this special position entails and how Åland can serve as an example of a peaceful solution of a minority conflict.
In practice, I have had the opportunity to work on the development of the e-course “Territorial Autonomy as a Tool for Diversity Management: Lessons from the Åland Example”, I have participated in the Kastelholm talks and in various seminars concerning questions about the special position of Åland, the position of the Swedish language, sustainable development and other relevant issues. Besides this, I have also had the opportunity to familiarise myself with another form of peaceful conflict resolution, that is, mediation activities at the Åland Mediation Office. In my studies, I have read about examples of how various international actors strive to solve conflicts internationally, and it has been extremely interesting and instructive to see how the Mediation Office on Åland is working to develop peaceful solutions to conflicts that occur in the Åland society. The discussions with the staff and with volunteer mediators have made me realise how important it is that peace work is also carried out locally.
Overall, during the internship period, I have had the opportunity to try a variety of tasks as well as to participate in educational discussions and lectures. I have also had the opportunity to present and discuss issues that I am passionate about and I have met people who believe in what they work with and who have inspired me.