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What Connects Foreign with Peace Policy

Professor Laurent Goetschel is a prominent media figure and a popular policy and public authority consultant. He is a recognized expert in issues surrounding peace policy and Swiss foreign policy. He began teaching and researching at the University of Basel in 2000.

Laurent Goetschel
The transfer of knowledge from university into practice is important to Laurent Goetschel.
© University of Basel

As a researcher, Laurent Goetschel has dealt mainly with foreign policy analysis as well as peace and conflict research. He has headed various research projects, including ones involved with the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. He was also in charge of the National Research Program (NRP) 42 «Foundation and possibilities of Swiss foreign policy» at the University of Bern.

Goetschel’s research currently focuses mainly on the transfer of standards and knowledge. «I want to know how new ideas and values – from the sciences, for example – are incorporated into political practice.» The transfer of knowledge from university into practice is not the only subject of Goetschel’s research. He has served as a consultant to many public authorities, foundations and NGOs. He has been a director of swisspeace, a practice-oriented peace research institute, since 2001. swisspeace has been affiliated with the University of Basel since 2009. In addition to its main offices in Bern, the organization opened a second office in Basel in 2013.

«Whatever you are researching and teaching must always be pertinent to what is happening outside the university. Science must play a role in public reflection and produce knowledge that is beneficial to society. For this reason, I believe we absolutely need practical applications in addition to research – whether in the form of consulting, lectures or continuing education,» says Goetschel. He therefore sees his academic career as atypical. For a long time, he was uncertain whether he wanted to stay at the university. «But what I appreciate about the university is the freedom you have to think, write and research.»

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