As part of the Atlantis Transatlantic Degree Program in International Security and Development Policy, Marc Barnett will graduate with dual degrees from two leading institutions. He will complete a Master of International Relations (MAIR) degree at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, and he will complete a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Over the summer, he further interned at the Council of Europe.
Corruption represents a pervasive issue for both the developing and developed world. It tends to undercut national security by providing safe havens for terrorist groups and organized crime as well as undermining human security through impunity and lack of accountability. Transparency International is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and one sector of this organization, the Secretariat, has fought against corruption since its inception in 1993.
Transparency International was founded by Peter Eigen who is a former World Bank employee. The Berlin-based Secretariat organizes and coordinates the fight against corruption working in conjunction with over 100 national chapters. Corruption issues have found their way to the top of many policymakers’ agendas in recent years, in no small part due to the work Transparency International has done. Due to support from PAIA, The Maxwell School, and Syracuse University I was given the opportunity to intern with Transparency International – Secretariat, which is nestled in the eclectic Berlin district of Moabit on the river Spree.
Working under the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) division, my duties mainly focused on the Western Balkans. This is an area in which I had prior expertise due to my research with the Global Black Spots Project, a joint initiative between the INSCT and Moynihan. I edited and synthesized various corruption reports from the region. Most notably I analyzed the National Integrity Systems (NIS) project, which contained seven accounts from national chapters in the region including Turkey. Some of my other responsibilities were substantial and sophisticated donor mapping analysis of South East Europe as well as working with members of the ECA team on grant proposals and concept notes to various organizations including the European Commission, Open Society Foundation, and bilateral donors in the region. Finally, I tested out important recommendations from the NIS reports in order to strategically plan for the next phase of the NIS project.
As someone interested in the developing nexus between corruption and national security, the experience proved to be invaluable. I was able to be a privileged observer to corruption experts in the field. Furthermore, building upon my experience this summer with the Council of Europe (Pompidou Group), I gained valuable insight into the inner workings of an international organization. As Transparency International develops a new strategic plan, conversations in the Berlin Secretariat resounded and resonated with my prior coursework from the Maxwell School, centering on impact, output, and strategic analysis.
I hope that future students will be able to follow in my footsteps and continue the arduous, yet rewarding work of Transparency International. Ultimately, fighting corruption remains more of an art than a science with no formula for success. Even scholars and experts often disagree on the most successful initiatives, but fixing political corruption proves to be the most important, yet possibly the most elusive.