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DFG and Einstein Foundation Approve German-Israeli Research Training Group to Study Challenges Facing Realization of Human Rights

Human Rights under Pressure Research Training Group Is Collaboration between Freie Universität Berlin and Hebrew University of Jerusalem

№ 123/2013 from May 23, 2013

The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Berlin Einstein Foundation are funding a new International Research Training Group at Freie Universität Berlin that will investigate challenges faced in the realization of human rights. Named "Human Rights under Pressure – Ethics, Law and Politics,” the group is being set up in cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Researchers from the Human Rights Center at the University of Potsdam as well as the German Institute for Human Rights will also be involved. During the coming years 20 doctoral researchers based in Germany and 20 based in Israel will be trained in the jointly organized doctoral program. The Einstein Foundation and the DFG will each be funding half of the total budget of 4.5 million euros. The program is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2014. This is the first German-Israeli doctoral program  to receive funding from the DFG.

The researchers involved in the International Research Training Group (IRTG) will study the most urgent challenges facing the realization of human rights. Named "Human Rights under Pressure – Ethics, Law and Politics," the IRTG will consider human rights during times of crisis and emergency and in terms of their relationship to diversity and globalization. The somewhat abstract concept of human rights will be given concrete meaning with the historical relationship between Germany and Israel and thus open up new insights, transcending purely national and traditional notions of human rights.

The doctoral students are being encouraged to address challenges of the present day that put a classical understanding of human rights in question. "Our goal is to facilitate innovative and interdisciplinary human rights research through a network of research institutions and researchers," stated the spokesperson for the project, Prof. Dr. Klaus Hoffmann-Holland from the Department of Law at Freie Universität. To this end, researchers from the disciplines of law, political science, philosophy, history, sociology, comparative ethics, and education who are based at the involved universities in Israel and Germany will work together. "The interaction of experts from Jerusalem and Berlin creates an excellent research environment for future doctoral students," said Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, the president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The president of Freie Universität Berlin, Professor Peter-André Alt, emphasized, "We want to utilize international and regional synergies to provide our young researchers with international research opportunities at a very early stage in their careers. The Human Rights under Pressure ITRG exemplifies these efforts." As part of the university's development strategy within the German Excellence Initiative, Freie Universität Berlin promotes the internationalization of research and doctoral training with selected leading research institutions worldwide. In 2011 Freie Universität Berlin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem formalized a Primary Partnership.

Further Information

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Hoffmann-Holland, Department of Law, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-54716, Email: