Katharina Ritz: Enriching many years of experience in war zones with academic knowledge

Katharina Ritz has been striving to relieve human suffering in countries ravaged by war for over 20 years. She has worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in areas including South Sudan, the Ivory Coast and Libya. Today, she heads the almost 1,000-strong ICRC delegation in Iraq. She believes that this extensive work experience in crisis regions prompted her to complete a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Civilian Peacebuilding. The two-year, part-time further education program run by swisspeace at the University of Basel has enabled her to enrich her expertise with academic knowledge and new working approaches. After completing the program in the fall of 2016, she acknowledges that dealing with the humanitarian consequences of armed violence and political oppression on a daily basis leaves little time for in-depth reflection about the interplay between war and peace. This made the regular training modules in Basel all the more important for her.

Pedro Rosa Mendes: Further education opens doors

The Portuguese journalist and novelist Pedro Rosa Mendes has been writing about Africa for many years. As a correspondent for Portuguese media outlets, he has reported from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau. In 2012, after conducting research into the security sector, he decided to take the CAS in Civilian Peacebuilding at the University of Basel. He hoped that the training program offered by swisspeace would lead to further career opportunities for him. Three years after finishing the program, Mendes' verdict is positive: This CAS program opened up doors to him. It was partly thanks to this training that he got his current position in the security sector team at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Not to mention enhancing his credibility as a peace specialist. Pedro Rosa Mendes now works on the role companies play in the security sector reform processes in conflict areas.