Scholar Roba Abumiddain completes MA degree in Peace Studies

6. April 2021
Roba Abumidain on a trip with scholarship holders
Her research addressed the contribution of social workers in strategic peacebuilding in the Gaza Strip, under the supervision of Prof. Paula Ditzel Facci.

The results of this thesis fill a gap regarding the contribution of social workers in strategic peacebuilding in the Gaza strip and the gap between the practice of social work and the theory through researching the different tasks the social workers do in Gaza and the conflict context. Moreover, the research highlighted the challenges and limitations that social workers face under the occupation, siege, and the conflict between the two biggest Palestinian parties, Fateh and Hamas, since 2007. Roba hopes that her work will inspire other researchers’ curiosity to further research about these topics.

For Roba being a student at the MA program Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck was a transformational experience. She gained both academic and practical knowledge through the different trainings with the Austrian army, Red Cross, and others. Therefore, she is not only equipped to be a researcher but also a practitioner through the courses of simulation of United Nation missions offered by the MA program. Roba underlines that during her studies she had to question her own perceptions: “Coming from a war zone, Palestine, for me, the clearest way to contribute to peace was the political, but through my study in Austria, I expanded my vision about the many actors contributing to peace and the several career pathways that can contribute to peace and peacebuilding.” Remembering how she overcame the many challenges, Roba says “patience, asking for support and persistence to continue are the main things that helped me to finish with an excellent grade”. The MA program celebrated her graduation due to the Covid-19 restrictions online through presenting a video with the title “What does it mean to be a master of Peace” and showing photos of the students during the different study courses.

Roba Abumidain holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at Al-Azhar University - Gaza, Palestine. She is an activist for youth and women rights and was responsible for the Cluster work, a forum for coordination between different organizations for humanitarian response, at Fares Al-Arab association for Development and Charity work. She also volunteered in several organizations like Palestinian Working Women Society for Development (PWWSD), AMIDEAST, and YMCA. She was awarded the MA scholarship as part of the APPEAR project Rooting development in the Palestinian context.