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Opening of Graduate School in Framework of Initiative for Excellence

Joschka Fischer to hold keynote address at ceremonial opening of the Graduate School of North American Studies at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität Berlin

№ 242/2007 from Oct 18, 2007

The Graduate School of North American Studies at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität Berlin, funded within the framework of the German federal and state Initiative for Excellence, is one of the outstanding institutions of higher education for young scholars in Germany. An opening ceremony for the graduate school will be held on November 5, 2007, where the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, will hold the keynote address.

The graduate school aims at preparing highly qualified doctoral candidates in the fields of cultural and literary studies, history, political science, sociology, and economics for scholarly careers.  Under the overriding theme “Challenges of Freedom,” the graduate school is dedicated to a comprehensive and interdisciplinary analysis of the North American ideal of freedom, the importance of democratic values in the U.S.A. and Canada, and the debates about their applicability in a globalized world.

In addition, key qualifications needed for scholarly careers, such as presentation techniques, management skills for scholars, and conference organization, are being taught. Central components of the three-year program of study include close supervision of the doctoral candidates by teams of individually selected mentors from various academic disciplines as well as the opportunity to spend periods of time for research at universities in the United States or Canada. The first eleven scholarship holders who were admitted to the graduate school this fall were selected from among 120 applicants.

The Graduate School of North American Studies will be funded over five years in the amount of approx. one billion euros annually. In October, 2006, it was selected along with the Berlin Mathematical School, a joint project of the three large Berlin universities, within the framework of the German federal and state Initiative for Excellence as being particularly worthy of funding.

Time and Place:

The opening ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. on November 5, 2007, in the Henry Ford Building at Freie Universität, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin. The doors will open at 5:00 p.m.  The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Additional information may be obtained from:

Kerrin Wellmer, Program Assistent and Office, Tel. +49 (0)30 838-52 868, Email: office@graduateschool.jfki.de.

Homepage: www.graduateschool.jfki.de