After studying several undergraduate courses at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, I was excited to start my Honours in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies this year. The CAIS provides a welcoming environment for research-oriented studies, a flexible Honours program and numerous excellent supervisors.
My research looks at how territories on the edge of the international community - unrecognised states - build legitimacy. While this topic has received some academic attention in recent years, the symbolic dimension of legitimacy building is unexplored. Accordingly, I decided to investigate how sport might be used as a legitimacy tactic, and in June undertook fieldwork at the CONIFA World Football Cup in Abkhazia (an unrecognised state in the Caucasus). I had a remarkable time in an eye-opening environment, interviewing political elites, meeting with civil society leaders and watching football!
My Honours year has given me a taste of higher degree research, and I am very tempted to pursue a PhD at CAIS. I enjoyed every course I have taken at the Centre, from early undergraduate subjects to Honours coursework, and highly recommend the CAIS to prospective students.
In 2016 Kieran received the ANU University Medal for his Honours thesis on Abkhazia. The medal recognises students who have obtained First Class Honours (or Masters Advanced Equivalent) and demonstrated exceptional academic excellence across their studies.