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.