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SOCIAL Science Research at its Best July 7, 2011

Posted by Elyse Leonard in Individual Fellowship, Norway, Undergraduate.
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Elyse Leonard

Elyse Leonard

RrrrrrRRRrrrrrRRRR …. a warm purring fills my ears every morning when I enter the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) building. As I climb the lobby stairs, the purring grows louder, joined by the clinking of cups and colleagues’ chitchat.  RRRRRrrrrrrrrr …. the purring subsides and a happy sigh is released.  The PRIO Espresso Machine has put one Norwegian peace researcher’s morning off to a very good start.

The PRIO Espresso Machine (PEM) defines PRIO in a nutshell.

First, as any researcher knows, coffee gives life. Without espresso shots and cups o’ joe, thousands of pages would remain unread and most articles unwritten. PEM provides the necessary caffeine shock at any time of day, in any form–latté, cappuccino, mocha, Americano, you name it! With these delicious brainboosters, PRIO can keep producing its world-class peace studies and policy recommendations.

St. Hanshaugen Park in Oslo, Norway

Elyse's apartment lies two blocks from St. Hanshaugen Park, which boasts a beautiful view of the Oslo fjord.

Second, coffee is social.  PEM offers PRIOites a chance to detangle their brains from deep research and enjoy their friendly, fun co-workers.  Before I arrived at PRIO, I had pictured professional researchers as a bit more bookish. But not Norwegian researchers! My colleagues at PRIO are outgoing and super interesting. Everyone has a story from traveling in a Rwandan convoy, to trekking through the Andes, to eating a fabulous Bangladeshi dinner.  Yet, PEM chitchat is not simply a Norwegian version of water-dispenser gossip.  PEM is the tip of PRIO’s social iceberg.  We also have a Tuesday walking club, a Wednesday running group, and a Thursday stretching class.  About once a week PRIO hosts a ‘cake party’ to celebrate a PRIOite’s recent publication or welcome a guest researcher.  At PRIO, academia’s hierarchy has dissolved. From the first morning RrrrrrRRRrrrrr to the mid-week cake party, you might find yourself discussing Harry Potter with the institute’s director or the Afghanistan war with the web designer.

As the youngest intern, I greatly appreciate PRIO’s open, social environment.  I feel free to learn from all of my colleagues.  Though I can’t fully credit the PRIO Espresso Machine for this supportive, fun work atmosphere, I still think the morning RRRrrrRRRrr plays its part well.

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