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Bielefeld University Hosts Three Threatened Scholars

Published 14. Dezember 2016, 11:15 h

Vice-Rector Angelika Epple: “Freedom of academic and scientific inquiry is an ultimate good”

 For the first time, Bielefeld University is taking in three threatened academics facing danger in their home countries to contribute to research projects at the university. Two of these researchers are being funded with fellowships from the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, and one scholar is receiving funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).

 “Freedom in academic and scientific inquiry is an ultimate good,” says Professor Angelika Epple, Vice-Rector of International Affairs and Diversity. “We stand up for this freedom, and are pleased to be able to offer threatened scholars opportunities at our university.” In June of this year, Bielefeld University joined the Scholars at Risk network. The goal of this network is to protect threatened scholars and to strengthen values, particularly academic freedom.

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative provides universities and research institutions in Germany with the means to host threatened foreign researchers for a period of 24 months on a fully funded research fellowship. Bielefeld University is hosting two researchers from Turkey – one scholar at the Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung (IKG, The Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence) with Professor Andreas Zick, and one in the Faculty of Health Sciences with Professor Oliver Razum. At the IKG, the fellowship recipient is working on a comprehensive study on the barriers hindering the social, political, and economic integration of young people with a migration background. This entails the question of what impact experiences of discrimination have on the development of one’s prospects in life. The researcher working on Professor Razum’s team is looking at the views held by immigrants as well as asylum seekers from the LGBTTIQ community regarding mental health care services in Germany (LGBTTIQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexual, and queer individuals).  

The DFG is making this integration possible in active DFG projects through the end of the project durations. A postdoctoral sociologist from Syria is slated to work on an international comparative project on violence among young men in at-risk urban areas through the end of May 2018. Professor Wilhelm Heitmeyer, a Senior Research Professor at the IKG, is heading the project. Parallel to this, the Syrian sociologist will also develop a new DFG proposal on ethnic-religious constellations of conflict and violence in Syria in cooperation with Professor Heitmeyer and an IKG network. The goal of this project is to contribute to a Syria marked by less violence.

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was created by the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) together with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. It enables universities, universities of applied sciences, and non-university institutions in Germany to award research fellowships for threatened scholars and scientists. This initiative is financed by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Foundation, die Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, and the Robert Bosch Foundation, as well as the Mercator Foundation.  

More information is available online at:
Current press release from the Philipp Schwartz Initiative:
www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/press-release-2016-33.html

Philipp-Schwartz-initiative:
www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/dossier-philipp-schwartz-initiative-en.html

Refugee Scientists and Academics: DFG to Facilitate Participation in Research Projects
Press Release No. 59 | 11. December 2015
www.dfg.de/en/service/press/press_releases/2015/press_release_no_59/index.html

Bielefeld University sets up clearing house for refugees
Press Release, 10. October 2016
http://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/uninews/entry/bielefeld_university_sets_up_clearing

Bielefeld University joins Scholars at Risk Network
Press Release, 5. Juli 2016
http://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/uninews/entry/bielefeld_university_joins_scholars_at

Lifeline for refugee scholars
Published, 9. December 2016
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1207.full

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