Mads Larsen – The Human Security Profile of May 2018

This is a post from The Human Security Angle: the newsletter of the Master’s Programme in Human Security at Aarhus University.

Mads, why did you decide to study human security at Aarhus University?
For me, the road towards the Human Security programme started in Seattle, where I studied abroad during my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies. Here, I attended an introductory course in Environmental Anthropology, where we studied various topics located at the intersection of society and nature. This course got me interested in especially natural resource management and I soon started searching for a Master’s programme that would accommodate this interest. Human Security quickly emerged as a unique interdisciplinary opportunity and a close to ideal match to me.

Mads Larsen, Ilulissat, Greenland – April 2018

Where did you do your work placement, and what did you learn?
I did my work placement in Malaysia and Indonesia with an international non-profit organization called NEPCon. NEPCon delivers, develops and consults on sustainability projects aimed at combating major global challenges such as deforestation and climate change. Working primarily out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Bogor, Indonesia, I was hired as a “Responsible Sourcing Intern” and worked on a Risk Assessment Tool. This Risk Assessment Tool aimed at informing Danish companies sourcing palm oil from Southeast Asia about the societal and environmental risks of importing this resource and thus contribute to a greater level of awareness among the Danish industry.

As part of my work on the risk assessments, I conducted a series of interviews with government officials, non-government actors, academics and smallholder farmers, which in turn also functioned as field work and data gathering for my thesis. This resulted in a thesis that discussed and explored the underlying structures of private certification that determines resource access.

Small holder community rice field in Java, Indonesia, where I did part of my fieldwork. While my focus was mainly on land tenure issues related to palm oil, these communities grew a wide variety of crops.

What are you doing at the moment?
I currently work at the Ministry of Fisheries and Hunting in Greenland, where I am employed as Head of Section in the fisheries unit. My tasks are extremely varied and range from licensing of inshore, offshore and experimental fisheries in Greenland to development of management plans as well as participating in the Greenlandic delegation during international negotiations.

The dog sled still serves as an important form of transportation in Northern Greenland for inshore fishermen – this picture is from my trip to Ilulissat in April 2018.

What have you taken with you from your human security studies?
The interdisciplinary nature of the Human Security programme has benefitted me greatly in my daily work. In particular, I often use my knowledge of the methodologies of biology and social science, as I work in close cooperation with politicians, biologists and industry representatives. At the Ministry, we often function as a link between these entities and an interdisciplinary profile is thus imperative.

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