The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is working together with other stakeholders in the European area to ensure that academics from Afghanistan receive fast assistance. With colleagues from the French PAUSE programme, the British Council for At Risk Academics, and the Scholars at Risk Europe organisation, the Foundation is making initial arrangements with potential hosts at universities in order to be able to quickly and unbureaucratically offer opportunities to as many instructors and researchers from Afghanistan as possible – should they be able to leave the country – through support programmes such as the Philipp Schwartz Initiative for researchers who are at risk or who have fled their country.
“During times of crisis, the strength of our networks can be seen in our commitment to academic and scientific freedom”, reports Frank Albrecht, programme manager for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative. “This also means helping individuals who during the last two decades have worked together with German organisations to bring about social progress in the area of education, research, and academic and scientific freedom – work that has now led to enormous personal risks for them”, noted Albrecht. The Humboldt Foundation has co-signed an emergency appeal issued by the Scholars at Risk Network which calls upon the governments of Europe to commit themselves with all available means to helping academics, researchers and other important forces in Afghanistan’s civil society, continuing the evacuation flights, establishing expedient residence regulations and creating and expanding support programmes. Already last week, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced the establishment of an assistance fund with more than ten million euros for Afghanistan’s civil society. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative has already begun providing grants for Afghan researchers.