Press release

2020 Reimar Lüst Awards: outstanding research on political violence and modern administrative law honoured

Research Award for International Scholarly and Cultural Exchange is granted jointly by the Humboldt Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation

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Robert Gerwarth (left) and Sung-Soo Kim

The German historian Robert Gerwarth and the South Korean legal scholar Sung-Soo Kim receive this year’s Reimar Lüst Award. This award is granted to humanities scholars and social scientists from abroad who have shaped academic and cultural relations between Germany and their own countries. Each award is endowed with €60,000. Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, in collaboration with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, grants up to two Reimar Lüst Awards.

Robert Gerwarth is professor of modern history at University College Dublin, Ireland, and founding director of the Centre for War Studies located there. His research focuses on the history of political violence in Germany and Europe in the twentieth century. He has published highly regarded monographs that have been translated into more than 30 languages. For example, the new interpretations set forth in his publications on the German November Revolution of 1918 or the legacy of the First World War have sparked scholarly discussions and changed previous assessments of the First World War and the Weimar Republic.

Together with the German historian Sönke Neitzel, Gerwarth established the International War Studies Master’s Degree programme that students can complete in Potsdam and Dublin. As a Reimar Lüst Award winner, he is planning a collaborative project with colleagues from the Chair of War Studies at the University of Potsdam where he wants to work on a major study on civil wars during the first half of the twentieth century.

The legal scholar Sung-Soo Kim is professor of public law at Yonsei Law School in Seoul, South Korea. He is the author of the standard Korean reference work on general administrative law and has additionally worked on other subjects such as tax, environmental and water law. Particularly, he has earned an outstanding reputation in South Korea as a scholar with his research on the evolution of the understanding of the state from a paternalistic to a partnership-based model and on the concept of public-private partnership. Kim supports social change in South Korea by providing legal expertise.

His research in this connection is always internationally orientated. Besides earning his doctorate in Germany, Kim has also worked as a bridge builder to this day to foster collaboration between German and Korean legal scholars by conveying the concepts underlying German administrative law in South Korea. His collaboration as a Reimar Lüst Award winner with colleagues at the University of Jena will enrich both sides: the reception of German law in Eastern Asia and German studies on Korean law will be jointly examined and discussed. The exchange of views and information is also important in view of both countries’ experience of being divided.

Reimar Lüst served as President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation from 1989 to 1999. He died on 31 March 2020 at the age of 97. In appreciation of his life-long work to promote international exchange of scientists and scholars, the Humboldt Foundation established the Reimar Lüst Award for International Scholarly and Cultural Exchange in collaboration with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation back in 2006.

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(press release 15/2020)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.

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