Master’s Award Ceremony 2023 celebrates Suvi Baloch

February 17, 2023

UniPID was pleased to co-host a wonderful onsite Conference Reception where Suvi Baloch’s master’s thesis was awarded for its critical thinking and innovative conceptualizations.

UniPID and the Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) are responsible for organizing an annual prize to accomplished theses related to the field of global development studies. With no Covid-19 restrictions, this year a warm reception was organized to welcome the Development Days Conference’s assistants.

Liisa Laakso, Hanna Rinkineva, and Barry Gills, members of the selection board were happy to announce Suvi Baloch as the winner of the Master’s Award 2022 while granting honorary mentions to Noora Isomäki, Johanna Miettinen, and Anni Valkeinen for their remarkable master’s thesis.

Suvi Baloch
Suvi Baloch

Baloch’s thesis “This is democracy in action”. Critical discourse analysis on women’s rights organizations’ approaches to ending VAW in Pakistan was recognized by the selection board as “an important contribution for women’s rights organizations’ as well as for Finnish and EU policies and actions to curb violence against women (VAW).” In a work undertaken with both sensitivity and social science rigour, Baloch identified the forms and factors that dominate the VAW by combining extensive literature review and field research. Accordingly with the selection board “in her findings, Baloch identified developmental logics and discourses, including the developmental logic 'saviorism in solidarity' and 'commonsense hope', which made visible how organizations build on a civilizational narrative and unquestioned hope in aid's capacity to deliver 'development'. This leads to a counter-discourse to the misogynous state ideology, and an alternative political space that enables women's rights organizations to persevere in Pakistan.”

During the ceremony, Baloch offered an emotive and inspiring speech where she made a special recognition to all people who supported her –in her words- “in the most time-consuming but also the most exciting marathon I’ve run so far”. Baloch also took the opportunity to acknowledge the seven homes that offered hospitality during her fieldwork. She closed her speech with a simile between her role as a researcher and that of an artist, she said:

“I see myself more as a choreographer, assembling together traces of lived realities, stretching theory, improvising and re-organizing the co-produced material. Through this work, I got access to new worlds, practices, and thinking patterns. I also learned a lot from being lost and feeling puzzled. Thank you. This award is deeply appreciated”.

For this year, UniPID and the FSDR received a total of 10 multi-disciplinary master’s theses from six different UniPID member universities. Once again, the standard of theses was very high. Although it represented a challenging task for the evaluation committee to choose the finalists, we celebrate the high-quality research projects received as well as the interdisciplinary development research conducted in our member universities.

UniPID and the FSDR express their special gratitude to the selection board members Liisa Laakso, Hanna Rinkineva, and Barry Gills. A warm thanks to Kennedy Adams, Shahid Mallick, Quivine Ndomo, Jerkko Holmi, and Annika Hyytiä, members of the pre-evaluation committee, for their efforts and work done during the evaluation.

What is next? Stay tuned to our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), website, and mailing list to be among the first to know about our next Master’s Award call and other news that might be of your interest. In the meantime, find more information about the Master’s Award in Development Studies here

Photo Credits: Brands&People, 2021 on UnSplash.