6 October 2017, No. 24/2017

Conference: between freedom and threat – when researchers become refugees

Representatives from the political sector, scientific community and academia to meet at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on 10 October.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is hosting a conference in Berlin on 10 October 2017 with German and international scientists, including fellows of the Phillip Schwartz Initiative, who were at threat in their native countries such as Syria, Turkey and Yemen and have found a safe haven at universities in Germany. In keeping with the title of the conference − The Future of Societies: On the Role of Academic Freedom and Independent Researchers – the attendees will discuss what scientists can do to help solve political and societal challenges. What opportunities and difficulties exist for this in open societies and what opportunities and difficulties are there in countries where critical thinkers are threatened and intimidated?

In addition to the attending researchers, Sabine Kunst, President of Humboldt-Universität, Lorraine Daston, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Andreas Görgen, Director-General for Culture and Communication at Germany's Federal Foreign Office, and Helmut Schwarz, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, will address the conference and take part in the discussions. The journalist Jan-Martin Wiarda will moderate the discussions.

Date and venue: Tuesday, 10 October 2017, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Senate Hall at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Journalists will have the opportunity to film, photograph and make audio recordings.

Please register to attend by sending a copy of your valid press ID by e-mail to presse@avh.de.

The conference will be held in English.

The conference programme is available here.
Information about the Philipp Schwartz Initiative is available here.

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 28,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Prize winners.


Kristina Güroff
Lena Schnabel
Press, Communications and Marketing
Phone: +49 228 833-455/-144
Fax: +49 228 833-441

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

Further information