Freie Universität Berlin is a member of various organizations and networks at the regional, national, and international levels, including the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) and the European Universities Association (EUA).
Important partnerships at the level of implementation of international exchange projects include the university’s membership in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the European Association for International Education (EAIE), the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), and the Asia Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE).
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is the most important academic support and aid institution for research in Germany. The external funding raised by Freie Universität is primarily financed by the DFG. A large number of scientists and scholars from Freie Universität have been appointed to act as experts on the DFG’s selection committees.
The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) is the voluntary association of state-operated and state-accredited universities and other higher education institutions in Germany. The HRK serves as the mouthpiece for its members and is a major voice in the higher education landscape. It is a forum for the shared opinion making process of the higher education institutions. Freie Universität is a highly active member of the HRK and has even provided a president in the past.
German U15 is an association of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the universities of Bonn, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Göttingen, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Cologne, Leipzig, and Mainz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and the universities of Münster, Tübingen, and Würzburg. Their objective is to increase the awareness of the teaching and research performance, the social influence, and the knowledge-creating and economic potential of leading German comprehensive universities among the political and economic leaders and the general public.
HUMANE is a European association of higher education institutions that is primarily dedicated to the administrative structures and tasks of universities. Freie Universität participates in continuing education courses and events in order to exchange information with other bodies regarding the latest developments and make further advances in professionalization.
The Magna Charta Observatory of Fundamental University Values and Rights is a non-profit organisation based in Bologna, founded by the University of Bologna and the European University Association (EUA). The Magna Charta Observatory aims to gather information, express opinions and prepare documents relating to the respect for, and protection of, the fundamental university values and rights laid down in the Magna Charta Universitatum signed in Bologna in 1988 by 388 Rectors of worldwide main universities.
The Wissenschaftskolleg is an important, internationally renowned institution for outstanding scholars and scientists who spend several months in Berlin, devoting their time to a research project. The fellows invited to the Wissenschaftskolleg are brought together into a “class” each year to ensure that the daily meetings required of all participants yield stimulating interdisciplinary expert discussions. The Wissenschaftskolleg also occasionally organizes events for Berlin residents with an interest in academia, with guests of the group. Freie Universität was one of the founding members and also provided the rector for many years.
Within the Asia-Pacific Forum Berlin, areas of business, political, academic, and cultural life that are interested in forming networks and in advancing dialogue with the Asia-Pacific region are represented.
The German Academic Exchange Service is the world’s largest support and aid organization for the international exchange of students, scholars, and scientists and is supported by the German higher education institutions and student body associations in the form of an association. The DAAD fosters the international character of higher education institutions in Germany, strengthens the study of German language and literature abroad, supports developing countries in establishing and developing high-performance higher education institutions, and advises decision makers on cultural, education, and development policy.
A network of 14 field offices and 50 information centers maintains contact with the association’s most important partner countries all over the world and provides advice in the regions. The DAAD is the most important aid organization for the international relations of Freie Universität. The university’s liaison offices in New York, Beijing, Cairo, and São Paulo work closely together with the DAAD.
The Deutsch-Französische Hochschule, or Université Franco-Allemande, is a virtual association of German-French academic programs that receive financial aid. With its German-French study program at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität was one of the founding members of the DFH.
The European University Association serves as the voice of the European higher education sector in Brussels. Annual and subject-specific conferences are held to provide information on the latest developments in higher education. Freie Universität has been a member of the EUA since its founding.
GATE Germany is the initiative, financed by the German federal government and administered by the DAAD that advertises Germany as a location of higher education. It does so through various means, producing advertising campaigns, websites, and printed materials. In various regions around the world, the initiative regularly organizes trade fairs and road shows at which German universities can present themselves and their programs locally. Freie Universität is a founding member and participates in many events.
The Institute of International Education is the oldest interest association in the world dedicated to the internationalization of higher education. Subject-specific conferences and publications support the universities’ work. Freie Universität has used the IIE as a forum to maintain its partnerships and spark new development trends for years.
The NAFSA is an interest association aimed at internationalizing the education offered at higher education institutions, primarily in North America. Representatives of the international offices make up a large part of the organization. Annual conferences and continuing education seminars support the members and participants in their professional fields and drive the process of professionalization at the international level. The annual conferences are an ideal forum for maintaining existing university partnerships and paving the way for new ones, since they welcome participants and partners from all over the world.
UNICA was created in the scope of the EU call for tenders for thematic networks. As its name suggests, it is an association of universities from Europe’s capital cities. Since these universities face similar challenges, they share a number of topics of interest, which are addressed in regular meetings. Freie Universität is a founding member and has always participated in the association’s self-government structures.
The Berlin Consortium for German Studies is an association formed between Freie Universität, which hosts the program, and a number of Ivy League universities, which send students to Freie Universität for one or two semesters under the program. In return, Freie Universität is able to send students to the American universities. Participants are integrated into the regular Freie Universität student body, meaning that their German skills are so advanced that they a.re able to participate in regular instruction. The program is administered by Columbia University
The Study Foundation of the Berlin House of Representatives was formed by the lower chamber of Berlin’s parliament in 1994, to mark the departure of the Allied military forces from Berlin. The goal is to use the foundation’s earnings to give scholarships to outstanding students from the former four Allied countries to study in Berlin for a year. The program has served several hundred scholarship recipients since it was founded, establishing good relationships with former and current participants, especially in Eastern Europe. Freie Universität administers the program.
The International Parliament Scholarship program is a program initiated by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German federal parliament. Each year, half-year scholarships are awarded for about 120 parliament internships and clerkships. Scholarship recipients come from the Western Allied nations, Israel, and many countries in Eastern Europe. The program’s goal is to give participants insight into the workings of parliamentary democracy in Germany and provide helpful suggestions for their future careers in their home countries. The program is managed on an alternating basis by the three universities in Berlin. It is administered by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
alumni-clubs.net e.V. is an association of alumni initiatives within the German-speaking countries. Both the alumni organizational units of the universities and nonprofit and charity clubs of former students and faculty members from the higher education sector are active within this organization. Its annual and subject-specific conferences provide a forum for professionals in this field to exchange information and obtain continuing education. Freie Universität hosted the 2010 annual conference.
Freundeskreis Amerika-Haus (Friends of Amerika Haus) was founded in 1995, after the departure of the Allied military forces, with the aim of supporting the cultural work performed by the Amerika Haus. The nonprofit association has become known in particular for its “Meterweise Amerika” (America, Meter by Meter) campaign, which ran for many years. Donations were collected, and whenever the money was enough to purchase ten one-meter compact reference libraries containing standard works about and from the U.S., these “meters” were donated to schools in the area of the Amerika-Haus. Schools in the east of the country benefited in particular, receiving literature and making new contacts with organizations in the United States. Freie Universität was a founding member of the association and was represented on its Board of Directors for many years.
The German Studies Association is the most important association of North American scholars and researchers who study and teach about the German-speaking countries. The disciplines represented range from German language and literature to history, political science, art history, music, and anthropology. Freie Universität was able to bring in the GSA as a partner for its Berlin Program for German and Advanced European Studies. In a jointly organized advertising campaign and selection process, the two bodies grant doctoral fellowships at Freie Universität each year.
The International Center for Academic Exchange (Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Wissenschaft, IBZ) was built in the early 1980s as a guesthouse for visiting scholars and scientists at research institutions in Berlin. The building is now used jointly by the Max Planck Society and Freie Universität. The Director of Administration and Finance of Freie Universität is the chairman of the association. The IBZ offers especially attentive service to its guests. Advance bookings with as much lead time as possible are recommended.
The Airlift Foundation (Stiftung Luftbrückendank) was developed in the 1950s and 1960s based on donations made by Berlin residents. The foundation’s earnings are used to support needy airlift participants and their families. Early in its history, the foundation organized regular commemorative events to recognize the support provided by the Western Allies. More recently, it has aided the universities in Berlin by providing scholarships, grants, and support for programs, as well as organizing an information campaign on the Berlin Airlift for schools in Berlin. Freie Universität has been represented on the foundation’s Board of Directors ever since it was founded.
The Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (Stiftung für Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft, EVZ) was established in connection with the process of reparations for those who worked as forced laborers during World War II. The foundation’s activities include providing scholarships for descendents of forced laborers and students who are researching topics related to forced labor. More than ten recipients of EVZ scholarships come to Freie Universität each year. Freie Universität has also taken on responsibility for the electronic administration and development of the EVZ archive, under the leadership of the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS).