Exchange to Change January 2018 E2C January 2018 web | Page 13

IN THE PICTURE 13 Truth or dare with Monica Aciru. A talk about truth commissions Monica Aciru is an IOB alumna of the Master Governance and Development (2007). On Friday 7 July 2017, she successfully defended her doctoral thesis on “Transitional justice in practice: truth commissions and policies of victim reparations”. Can you give a short summary of your PhD project? The PhD project focused on understanding the dynamics of following up and implementing truth commission recommendations and the interaction between the various actors in achieving this aim. It analysed the different contexts for the inclusion of reparations within truth commissions processes and strategies for their implementation. To this end, it proposed a framework for studying the follow-up and implementation of recommendations on reparations made by truth commissions. What methodology did you use in your research? I used a qualitative approach consisting of literature analysis and in-depth interviews with purposely selected respondents. This approach was relevant in order to understand the complex and sensitive issues that would require a comprehensive analysis of various experiences. A three pronged approach was adopted: seeking out what the practice is in transitional justice for studying post- truth commission recommendations, empirically explore how the recommendations are translated into action and from these develop a framework for studying post-truth commission recommendations. What do you consider as the most important policy recommendation of your research? The study developed a framework, the integrated approach, that could be used to study how the recommendations on reparations made by truth commissions are implemented. It views implementation as part of a long term process rather than an isolated activity emerging after the end of the commission and argues that implementation is affected both by the prevailing circumstances and the factors that existed before and during the truth commission. How did you experience to work and live in Belgium the past years? In general, I have enjoyed my stay in Belgium. Having access to different services is refreshing and convenient. It is also cosmopolitan and one is bound to experience a diverse mix of cultures. What was the worst, most difficult and what was the best moment? The worst moment was having to bid farewell to my cohort from IOB when we completed our studies. The most difficult is not experiencing the support of extended family and friends in child care. The best moments are the graduation ceremonies both at IOB and KU Leuven and mothering my three children. To conclude, can you tell us the most important thing you have learned during your time at IOB? How did it help you in your PhD process? I learned a number of important things. First, my PhD topic was a continuation of my Masters thesis. I therefore credit IOB for deepening my knowledge in my field. Second, the working and learning process at IOB encourages a mix of autonomy and team work as well as diligence and perseverance. These skills were invaluable during my PhD process. Third, the intercultural interactions led to contacts and networks in different parts of the world. What’s next for you? Since October 2017, I joined Argusi b.v. (Breda) as the Humanitarian Logistics Research and Development officer. E xchange to change J anuary 2018