:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 9
Many roads lead out of the BGHS. But where do paths lead to after the doctorate? In the summer semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Devrimsel Nergiz spoke to us about her work as managing director of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council.
Devrimsel Nergiz © private
Devrimsel, you did your doctorate at the BGHS in 2012 and are now working as managing director of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council (BZI). If you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?
Devrimsel Nergiz: I must say that I was able to gain practical experience at a relatively early stage. I started working for a member of the Bundestag during my doctorate, and towards the end of my doctorate this led to another position for me. I really enjoyed working in the Bundestag because I was able to experience and help shape various perspectives of political practice. At the same time I was able to integrate scientific impulses, approaches and concepts into political work.
Where are you working now outside the university?
Devrimsel Nergiz: I am managing director and project manager of the BZI and its support association. The BZI is the nationwide association of the regional organisations of municipal integration, migration and foreigners advisory boards. The BZI stands for 6,000 politically active people with a history of immigration in about 400 democratically legitimized municipal migration advisory boards in almost all German states and is thus a symbol of lived democracy and a culture of responsibility that works even without a German passport. We work across religious, ethnic and party lines. The expansion of the possibilities of political participation of migrants and the sensitization for the different possibilities of participation within the liberal-democratic basic order are a special concern of ours. To this end, we are in close dialogue with the German federal government, ministries, members of the German Bundestag, and national and state institutions such as federal and state centers for political education, broadcasting corporations, and civil society organizations.
What does your work look like now?
Devrimsel Nergiz: My task is to support the organisation on the one hand in building up its office in terms of structure, personnel and strategy and on the other hand to represent the organisation to the outside world. This includes, among other things, developing new projects in order to act more independently and sustainably; setting political priorities for our vision of helping Germany become a more democratic, diverse society - but also purely organizational matters such as project, event and personnel management, public relations and networking. My previous professional positions help me a lot in structuring political lobbying and association work, because I know how the political business and science tick.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?
Devrimsel Nergiz: Being open and willing to learn is very important to me. For me, this also includes putting aside a bit of the vanity of the academy. Important work for the society/societies is done at the grassroots level. To paraphrase Karl Marx: you have to dare to change, instead of just interpreting the world differently.
Devrimsel, thank you for the conversation.
The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
The complete conversation is available here (only in German):