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Watersheds of Internationalization: Excellence vs. Solidarity? Debating Support Programs for Scholars in Exile

FUB Lunchtime Debate on Higher Education on 20 January 2021.

News from Jan 12, 2021

Academics in Solidarity and the Freie Universität Berlin, in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, invite everyone interested to the third event in the series of “FUB Lunchtime Debates on the Future of Higher Education Internationalization”. The event will focus on support programs for at-risk and displaced scholars and the question what higher education institutions can do to provide long-term teaching and research opportunities for scholars in exile.

Since 2015, Germany has become a major host destination for at-risk and displaced scholars. The Philipp Schwartz-Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a well-known example of fellowship programs for researchers under threat. These programs are often essential for the scholars’ career “restart” and enable many to overcome the challenges of the exile. Yet, the number of scholars in need of the support by far supersedes the programs’ capacities and available funding. While being rooted in humanism and solidarity-oriented philosophy, they are thus confronted with the necessity to be selective in providing fellowships and financial support. Simultaneously, there are no structures in place to ensure long-term reintegration of the exiled scholars into the host countries’ academic systems after the finalization of the fellowships. Unable to return home, the scholars find themselves in a precarious situation, competing for limited positions on the academic labor market of the host countries, where success is defined by meritocracy and professional networks.
What does this situation mean for scholars in exile? Does the path to personal academic freedom have to lead to precarity in academia? What are the prospects for at-risk scholars in the German / European academic system?

• Dr. Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
• Dr. Asli Telli Aydemir, Associate Researcher, University of Siegen, and former Alexander von Humboldt Foundation-Phillip Schwartz Fellow
• Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott, Vice-President International Affairs, Freie Universität Berlin

• Dr. Florian Kohstall & Dr. Vera Axyonova, Academics in Solidarity, Freie Universität Berlin

The discussion in English will take place online on January 20, 2021 from 12:30 – 13:30 CET. You can find more detailed information about the event and a registration form can be found here.
Please register for the event by January 18, 2021. Upon registration, you will receive the access link via WebEx one day before the event.

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