"Academics in Solidarity," the Nation-Wide Project for At-Risk and Refugee Researchers, to Hold First Network Conference

Opening event on November 21, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. with a talk on "Research in Exile" by literary scholar Azade Seyhan

No 344/2019 from Nov 14, 2019

"Academics in Solidarity" will hold its first network conference on November 21 and 22, 2019, at Freie Universität Berlin. The project aims to support at-risk and refugee researchers. The conference will focus on "Regaining Lost Knowledge - Connecting Research at Home and in Exile." Professor of literary studies and German literature Azade Seyhan (Bryn Mawr College) will hold a public lecture on November 21 as part of the conference’s opening program. Professor Seyhan is currently conducting research at the American Academy in Berlin for her project "Exile in Translation: The Exodus of German Culture to Turkey (1933-1945)."

The head of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s Department of Cooperation with Africa and the Middle East Peter Webers will provide some opening remarks, followed by an introduction by Dr. Florian Kohstall, who heads the "Academics in Solidarity" project at Freie Universität Berlin. Professor Günter M. Ziegler, the president of Freie Universität, will be there to officially welcome the conference participants. Immediately following the keynote lecture is a panel discussion, also open to the public, which will examine regaining lost knowledge and solidarity in the academic world. The panelists include Dr. Nil Mutluer from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dr. Isabella Löhr from Osnabrück University, Dr. Adnan Kanbar from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Stefan Gosepath from Freie Universität Berlin.

The conference serves as an opportunity for exiled researchers currently in Germany to share their work with a larger audience and to become better integrated into the academic community here. It is also a platform to discuss the academic job market as well as potential collaborative projects with at-risk and refugee researchers living in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

"Academics in Solidarity" focuses its work on providing support to early-career researchers at the postdoctoral level. Scholars and scientist from around the world in all disciplines and fields are encouraged to participate if they have recently been forced to leave their home countries due to military conflicts or persecution and wish to continue their academic pursuits in Germany or another host country. The program puts them in contact with experts who are researching or teaching in Germany in their specific fields. Through the mentoring program, at-risk and refugee researchers can benefit from sharing ideas and research findings, individual career counseling, professional training sessions, as well as from support with funding to attend conferences, conduct research trips, or organize workshops.

So far, the network includes around 80 researchers. The "Academics in Solidarity" program has received 600,000 euros in funding for the next three years from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Situated in the university’s Center for International Cooperation, "Academics in Solidarity" was founded by Dr. Florian Kohstall with the support of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) and Freie Universität Berlin. It is now a vital part of Freie Universität’s far-reaching efforts to support endangered and exiled scholars, in addition to the university’s active role in the international network "Scholars at Risk" and the Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Einstein Foundation. Freie Universität Berlin is also a participant in the Academy in Exile initiative.

Time, Location, and Registration

  • Public events: Keynote lecture and panel discussion: November 21, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 35 (lecture hall A), 14195 Berlin, Subway station: Freie Universität/Thielplatz (U3)
  • Registration: If you wish to attend the conference, you need to register in advance by email at ais [at] fu-berlin (p) de

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