Michael Gebel is Full Professor of Sociology especially Methods of Empirical Social Research at the University of Bamberg. He graduated both in economics and social sciences and earned his doctoral degree in Sociology at the University of Mannheim. His main research interests are youth labour markets and transitions to adulthood in international comparison, specifically post socialist Eastern European and Muslim Middle Eastern countries. He is the coordinator of the TEW-CCA project and co-coordinator of the international and interdisciplinary research projects EXCEPT (http://www.except-project.eu/home/). Read more about him on his personal homepage https://sites.google.com/site/profdrmichaelgebel/
Why TEW-CCA project? After graduation I worked in the Volkswagen Foundation funded ELM-CEE project “Educational systems and labour markets in Central and Eastern Europe” (2006–2009). I got inspired in doing international and interdisciplinary research on youth transitions in post-socialists countries by Irena Kogan, the ELM-CEE project coordinator and my doctoral thesis supervisor. As the international advisor to the “Syrian Youth Transition Survey 2009” I also gained interest in studying youth transitions in countries with majority Muslim population. Getting into contact with Tair Faradov from Azerbaijan five years ago, built the foundation of extending my research to the Caucasus and Central Asia. With Tair’s help I have established an excellent interdisciplinary team of experts in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan. Studying the transition from education to work in the Caucasus and Central Asia is an exciting endeavour given the common Soviet heritage, but also the different cultural, economic and institutional settings in each country.
Eliza Mandieva completed her bachelor study in Social Sciences at the University of Osnabrueck (2010). She also holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Development Policy from the University of Duisburg-Essen (2014). Currently, she is working as a research associate at the University of Bamberg https://www.uni-bamberg.de/empsoz/lehrstuhlteam/eliza-mandieva-ma/.
Why TEW-CCA project? I was born just before the fall of the Soviet Union in Kyrgyzstan – at that time Kyrgyz SSR. When I was six years old, I began hearing about independence and transition, but what I witnessed were things like mass unemployment, lack of essential goods like flour, sugar or tea, desperate women leaving their children to work in foreign countries, alcohol consumption in the streets, and people becoming beggars. When I was 16 years old, my school organized “European Days”, through which I met my first friends from Belgium and Germany. It inspired me to open an e-mail account, something new to me, so I could stay in touch with my new friends. Through our communications I realized that we had concerns which were actually very similar. Still, through the media and internet, I could also see differences between the countries, the opportunities and restrictions given due to economic and social development. These initial thoughts about the differences and similarities between societies drove me to study social sciences and become a researcher. My motivation to participate in this project is easily apparent when taking my background into consideration. Being a part of it gives me a great opportunity to study in detail the processes that influence youth’s transition from education to work, processes which are happening parallel to social and political transitions of the region.