28 October 2006

Graduate Fairs, Anthropology and Intelligence Services

This week I have been to two graduate fairs and will shortly post about the highlights of both of them:

The London Autumn Graduate Recruitment Fair in the Islington Business Design Centre (quite impressive venue):

Among two other development/volunteering organisations there was this one, called Raleigh International. Luckily, the stall was deserted when I had finished reading the leaflets, otherwise I might have had a heatful discussion with the representative! Their marketing strategy looks like this (at least on paper, I couldn't find any hint of this when I checked on their webpage): "You can help building huts, you will be an essential part of every project, you can help poor people when you are not sure what to do with your life and want to take a gap year." On the pictures (available online), you found white Raleigh participants (with T-Shirts) holding laughing black children and maybe carrying one on their back. It seemed like a development project designed for you specifically, you are going to be in control of everything, you are going to be the "white angel". Never heard anything about partnership? Alignment? Ethical principles in development? As I say, it might be that it was just the leaflets that had been badly designed because their website is not that aggressive.

Something more cheerful: I was approached by someone (a PhD, as it said on his business card) to teach English at the Cambridge Business School in Kairo! Wow! Sounds really interesting, Kairo and the opportunity to do this, but unfortunately, I don't trust myself to be a) a good teacher b) to enjoy myself in a region entirely different from where I want to be (SEA). Besides, there must be a hook somewhere when they ask a random person who's not even a native speaker (he commended me on my English: "Your English is good enough, it is very good!") to teach in another country... They must be desperate.

The Graduate Jobs Fair in the Brunei Gallery (SOAS):
Among the employers you could find: ICRC, Reuters and... the MI5! ("Apply your language skills!") Who would work for the MI5? That probably involves very unethical interests! When I mentioned this in a tutorial, my tutor said that there was this article that says that the CIA actually funds Anthropology students in the US. These have to bind themselves to work for them for a minimum period of four years or so otherwise they'd have to pay back the cost for their education plus penalties much as was paid for them! See the AAA (American Anthropological Association) website for an article on anthropological research abuse and the viewpoint of the concerned themselves: "Spies in our midst" I tried to research some more on that on the internet and found this highly interesting article (especially for you, Clemens!): "If CIA calls, should Anthropology answer?"

I'm hooked now, I think I will be reading some more on this. There's also this guy in my tutorial who has written an essay on a similar or even this very topic...

Did you know that "The Arab Mind" a book written by Raphael Patai (an anthropologist), an published in the 1970ies was abused for Abu Ghraib?

3 courageous comments!:

Kat said...

Wow, these Graduate Fairs sound fascinating! And hey, why not work for MI5? Wouldn't that be just cool? *g*

natascha said...

i really wish we had sthg similar here in vienna. comparable graduate fairs here ponted out to focus on tecnical students (and partly business administration, but only an the bank and insurance field).

Heidi Jahn said...

Working for the MI5 might sound cool but I think that the real issues of the MI5 differ a lot from the ones movies build up around. You never know what the government would use your expertise for: i.e. Will they abuse this information for (psychological) warfare or will it improve international relations?

And concerning the graduate fairs in Austria: It's true that there is not much diversity of employers and that Humanities and Social Sciences are usually fields that are difficult to access or to get information about. And also, Austrian recruiters tend to be rather fixed on particular university courses and less dynamic when it comes to non-business related education or at least that's my point of view.