Press release

More help for Afghanistan: Humboldt Foundation and DAAD expand fellowship programme

With financing from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are expanding their assistance for Afghan students and researchers.

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The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will initially be allocating €1 million and the DAAD another €4 million for this.

“The situation in Afghanistan is desolate and extremely depressing. Students and researchers – not only in Afghanistan but also Afghan nationals who have fled to Germany – urgently need more prospects for the future. We are therefore very pleased that we can expand the efforts we are undertaking along with the Humboldt Foundation and with financing from the Foreign Office to help these people”, said Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the DAAD.

“Germany champions freedom of science around the world and offers a safe haven for threatened researchers. This threat is particularly great in Afghanistan. We are pleased that we, in tandem with the DAAD and with funding from the Federal Foreign Office, can offer Afghan scientists and scholars special assistance”, said Professor Dr Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Philipp Schwartz Initiative and Hilde Domin Programme

The two organisations will use part of these funds to expand successful programmes that already exist for threatened students, doctoral candidates and researchers. For instance, the DAAD plans to establish a special quota for Afghanistan in its Hilde Domin Programme for students and postdocs who are persecuted or have fled their country. Approximately 30 additional fellowships are to be granted next year.

To date, the Humboldt Foundation has been able to support more than 300 endangered researchers and scholars, including one Afghan researcher, through its Philipp Schwartz Initiative. In response to the crisis in Afghanistan, it has introduced more flexible nomination requirements for Afghan researchers and scholars who are at acute risk. Ten nominations have been received to date.

New bridge fellowships

After arriving in Germany, qualified Afghans are to receive an additional offer – in the form of a new “bridge fellowship” – to help build or expand their academic career. For this, the DAAD is planning to initially offer 60 bridge fellowships (including family benefits) next year. primarily to Afghan students who are already enrolled in a German university or have received a notification of acceptance confirming that they have been admitted to study there.

The Humboldt Foundation plans to grant approximately 20 one-year bridge fellowships to threatened researchers and scholars. These fellowships will allow them to develop their prospects and prepare a new future at a German university or research institution in safety and with the support of their academic host. This assistance includes family benefits and funding for language instruction and continued professional training.

Questions? Please contact

Contact at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Frank Albrecht
Programme Manager for the Philipp Schwartz Initiative
+49 228 833 122

Contact at DAAD
Dr Christian Hülshörster
Head of the Scholarship Programmes Southern Hemisphere Department
+49 228 882-545

(Press release 34/2021)

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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