8 December 2016, No. 32/2016

Threatened – how researchers become refugees

New edition of Humboldt Kosmos magazine focuses on researchers at risk

Whether from Syria or Iran, Turkey or Ethiopia: in 2016, researchers from many parts of the world had to leave their own countries. The fates and stories behind their flight, irrespective of the countries they hail from, illustrate how important help for these researchers really is.

Consequently, the new edition of Humboldt Kosmos, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s magazine, has a special focus on academics under threat. We introduce researchers who have fled to Germany from their own countries and are now working at German universities and research institutions. We also throw some light on the few existing statistics on researchers forced to flee. The figures show that they do so not only because their lives are in danger from war, but because they are threatened and intimidated due to their research.

In order to offer these researchers safe haven, the Humboldt Foundation, together with the Federal Foreign Office, has launched the Philipp Schwartz Initiative which finds places for endangered and persecuted researchers at German universities. The first fellows have already started working at institutes in Germany. At the beginning of 2017, a further 45 will embark on their fellowships. The Humboldt Foundation will publish the list of universities which will be accepting threatened researchers in the coming week.

There is great interest amongst universities and research institutions to engage on behalf of researchers at risk: in this edition of Humboldt Kosmos, we are therefore not only able to report on cases of threat and displacement, but also of hope and solidarity amongst researchers who help their colleagues in need.

Ausgabe Nr.Edition No.106/2016 Humboldt Kosmos: Threatened – how researchers become refugees www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/Magazine-Humboldt-Kosmos.html#106

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 54 Nobel Prize winners.


Alexandra Hostert
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-257
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441