Protecting Threatened Scholars
They come from Syria, Iraq or Turkey because they are threatened by war or persecution at home. Research scholars in many parts of the world face personal peril and restrictions to their academic freedoms. The Philipp Schwartz Initiative advocates on behalf of displaced scholars and provides universities with the means to fund residential research fellowships for these persons at their own institutions. In 2016, the University of Bamberg was included in the group of universities funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and awarded its first fellowship to a threatened Turkish scholar in January 2017. Now the university has been selected for a second time and will award a 24-month research fellowship for another Turkish scholar beginning in October. The foundation will provide the university with a total of €96,000 in funding.
One of the crucial factors in the selection of universities and research institutions to host one or more scholars was the concept of integrating fellowship recipients both personally and academically. In addition to the quality of integration and personal qualifications, the foundation also considered prospects for a successful career re-entry.
In all, 68 universities and research institutions applied for funding. Besides the University of Bamberg, 40 other German institutions have been selected to host fellows in what’s now the third selection phase. The initiative, which was named after the Jewish pathologist Philipp Schwartz who himself fled Nazi Germany in 1933 and founded the Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland (roughly “Emergency Association of German Scholars Abroad”), currently supports 68 fellows. Now, 56 new fellows selected from a pool of 114 nominees are set to begin their research stays in Germany. These researchers are originally from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Yemen and Ukraine, but the typical countries of origin have shifted over the course of the application process. Whereas most of the first-round fellows were from Syria, the majority of recipients from the second and third selection phases are from Turkey.
The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was established by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Federal Foreign Office to provide universities and research institutions in Germany with the means to award threatened foreign scholars research fellowships at their institutions. Funding comes from the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Stiftung Mercator and the American Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This press release was translated by Benjamin Wilson.