Seminar in 2017
Europe, and the Refugee Crisis
Challenge to integrate
9 - 19 June in Berlin, Germany
Program Design and Highlights
background: two perspectives
In 2015 and 2016, Europe -
and particularly Germany - experienced a dramatic increase of migrants,
both asylum refugees and other immigrants. A report by the Deutsche Welle news organization
recently summarized the situation:
year has passed since Germany opened its doors to hundreds of
thousands of refugees and Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered her famous
mantra - "Wir schaffen das,"
or, "We can do this."
critics at home have grown louder over the past year with proof that
migrants have overburdened the system, right-wing violence has worsened
and Islamist terrorism has finally arrived.
how has the refugee crisis impacted Germany's international reputation
as a steadfast ally, and economic powerhouse and a country with a
watched the refugee crisis slowly heat up over several years as unrest
and dire poverty in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa drove
people to desperate measures in search of safe haven. Summer 2015 was
the boiling point.
reports of migrant deaths at sea and on land combined with Hungary's
violations of refugee rights prompted Germany, in coordination with
Austria, to suspend Dublin regulations of Syrian refugees last August.
The move freed Syrians from the asylum process in their EU country of
entry; it was also viewed as a welcome sign to refugees everywhere."
Peter Wittig, the German
Ambassador to the United States, articulated the impact of
Germany's decision, from a diplomat's point of view, to accept a
considerable number of immigrants:
"It was clear from the outset that Germany had to
assume responsibility in the crisis, and so we did.
refugee crisis is highly complex and there is no single lever we can
pull, no magic wand we can wave in order to solve it. Instead, we have
to work continously on many different levels. There are the root
causes, such as the civil war in Syria or the often desperate situation
in some African countries; there are joint European efforts to address
the crisis; and there is the situation on the ground in Germany itself.
Overall, I think, the circumstances have much improved since September
2015, when the refugees began arriving in Germany.
the root causes is probably by far the hardest part of solving the
refugee crisis. In Syria, fragile ceasefires might provide
opportunities for the Syrian people, although caution is advised. At a
donor conference in London this year, the international community
raised $11 billion in humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees residing
in, among other places, Jordan and Lebanon. Germany pledged $2.5
billion at that conference.
the European level, solidarity among the member states is still not as
strong as we would like it to be, but Germany will continue to press for
more cooperation within the EU. A central part of the EU effort has
been the refugee agreement with Turkey, which has significantly brought
down the numbers of refugees arriving in Europe. The EU has now
particularly focussed on the situation in Africa. It has established a
close cooperation on migration issues with Niger, a country through
which 90 percent of the refugees boarding boats in Libya pass. The
European border protection agency, Frontex, has been completely
reformed over the last year and can now help protect the EU's external
borders much more effectively.
took in 1.1 million refugees in 2015. This has been a great challenge,
but Germany has lived up to it and the situation has improved on any
levels compared with one year ago:
procedures have been expedited. This August, Germany adjudicated the
applications of 57,000 people, more than three times the number as in
August 2015. Hundreds of additional employees were hired to process
applications more swiftly.
to what some populists claim, the security situation in Germany remains
stable as well. Crimes committed by migrants dropped by more than 36
percent between January and June of 2016. And many of the crimes were
more of the petty sort, such as attempting to ride a train or bus
without a ticket. The crime rate is especially low among refugees from
Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the countries from which most new
refugees in Germany come.
The main challenge,
of course, remains integration
- this is why Germany is now providing courses for refugees to help
them integrate into society, learn the German language, and find
employment. At the same time, refusal to join integration courses will
lead to cuts in benefits for refugees.
we have achieved a lot in the last 12 months - internationally, on a
European level, and in Germany itself. But the refugee crisis is far
from over and still needs enormous efforts. Germany will continue to
stand by its commitment and do its share, internationally, in Europe,
and at home, because it is our humanitarian obligation to do so."
Faculty Development Seminar's focus
challenges outlined by Ambassador Wittig and DW News are certain to
remain, and the will require huge efforts by Germany and on the
European level to find adequate solutions, not just in the short run
but even for decades to come. Only a few of the quite critical hurdles
to overcome will certainly be:
At Studienforum Berlin,
- To accommodate the refugees fairly and
- to maintain a stable political and
- to keep the extreme right and the
populists under control;
- to providea decent education to all
- to conclude agreements with neighbor
- the 2017 Summer Faculty Seminar will
consider the multiple consequences for Germany and Europe created by
this immigrant influx that has already developed.
- The Seminar will provide participants
with a balanced assessment of Germany's approach, conflicting
interpretations of its "success" and the partisan views from across the
national and international political spectrums.
- Berlin, the nations's capital, provides
arguably the best venue, with its rich multi-cultural environment to
set the stage for U.S. faculty who intend to acquire maximum exposure
to the political, social, and academic debates on this controversial
Lectures, site visits and cultural events
Scheduled lectures, site visits, study tours, and cultural events of
the seminar will include the following opportunities:
- Visits to historic sites in Berlin on immigration,
escape and displacement
Exposure to the political implications of integrating migrants, as seen
from business and labor union perspectives
- Introduction to cultural initiatives designed to
make Berlin and Germany a home for new migrants and refugees
- Consideration of the "Welcome" environment in
Berlin on critical issues
- Critical issues include health, women's rights and
their development, the education of adults and children
- Expectations of and for refugees in Berlin,
religious dialogue and the acceptance of democracy
- Ongoing national research on migration to Germany
- The stability of the European Union, as it faces
the the refugee challenge as well as populist movements
their goals, participants in the 11-days seminar will
- have access to several major sites in Berlin that
document a long history of migration to Germany
hear and learn from experts who will discuss and explore current and
future political and cultural developments
- meet with politicians, leaders of economic, social,
and cultural, institutions, labor unions, and academic scholars
- learn about up-to-date and authentic practical
initiatives on integration measures for immigrants
- meet with migrants to obtain one-to-one
perspectives on the pros and cons of the so-called "Welcome Culture"
- analyze the implications for Germany in the context
of the European Union
- develop or advance their own research projects
- build a collegial network for common teaching and
research interests with faculty from the U.S. and Germany
that support and fund Seminar participants will
| demonstrate leadership through institutional commitment
to internationalizing campus curricula and programs by considering the
place of Europe and Germany in global issues, especially in connection
with the Middle East
| enlarge the pool of
faculty and administrators conversant in international issues who
will develop European curricula on these issues and perspectives and
more effectively engage in independent research and publication.
| support international awareness and interest among
undergraduate students by promoting faculty exposure to contemporary
experience of Europe and Germany,
| broaden on-campus dialogue about diversity issues in a
The 2017 Faculty Development
Seminar participants should be faculty and/or administrators at two or
four-year institutions of higher education. In order to facilitate an
interdisciplinary exploration of seminar themes, individuals from all
academic concentrations are encouraged to apply. Consequently,
participants are not
expected to be experts on the seminar topics or the region. Knowledge
of the German language is not required.
is hosted by Studienforum
Berlin, an independent, non-governmental, non-political,
non-profit organization. SFB promotes better understanding of the
people, society, culture, and institutions of Germany and Europe among
national, European and overseas students.
offers highly competitive academically oriented educational semester,
language, and internship programs for English speaking students. SFB
has hosted programs from, among others, the Universities of Hawaii,
Richmond, Rochester, from West Chester University, Virginia Military
Institute, George Mason University, Mississippi State University, UCLA,
Nazareth College of
Rochester, N.Y., the College Consortium for International Studies
(CCIS), Washington, D.C. and the Consortium „New American Colleges and
Universities.“ In addition, SFB has been the local host of the
Institute of Foreign Relation's Program for U.S. Junior Journalists
that is supported by Germany’s Foreign Office. SFB also conducts
research on cultural, political and economic developments in Germany
The faculty leaders for this seminar are Dr. Hanns-D. Jacobsen and Dr. William Hopkins. Sara Thögersen
serves as faculty seminar manager.
is a retired Professor of Political Science and Chairman of
Studienforum Berlin. He studied and earned his Ph.D. in Economics at
the Economics Department of the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin,
habilitated in Political Science and got his venia legendi at
the Department of Political
Science of the FU Berlin. He has been teaching and conducting research
in European and International Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.
He was a fellow at Harvard University's Center for European Studies, at
the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was also a Visiting Professor at
Stanford University and Beijing University. Most recently he was the
Managing Director of a multinational research project of the Freie
Universität Berlin on "The Eastward Enlargement of the Eurozone",
funded by the European Commission. Dr. Jacobsen has published
extensively on international political and economic issues, including
the subject of European integration.
More. . .
Dr. Bill Hopkins
is a retired Professor of German at Nazareth College of Rochester, N.Y.
He teaches a range of courses, from language and culture to literature
and international business German. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from
the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with emphasis on German with
History and Art History. His specialty of research is Reformation,
Humanism, and Baroque studies. In recent years, Prof. Hopkins' students
have entered major area companies in international trade and banking.
Several have won one-year Fulbright Teaching Fellowships to Germany,
serves as Studienforum Berlin’s Project and Development Director. In
this capacity, she builds relationships to new partner institutions in
the U.S. and develops programs and seminars pertaining to historical
events and other topics of interest. A graduate of Goshen College in
Goshen, IN, she first experienced collaboration with Studienforum
Berlin from a student’s perspective as a transfer student in Nazareth
College’s Fall Residential Program. After finishing her Music degree,
she moved back to her hometown Berlin in 2008, working as a freelance
and studio musician and with Studienforum Berlin in various capacities
since then. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Music
Therapy at the University of the Arts, Berlin.
2017 seminar fee is
EUR 2,385 (single room occupancy).
Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. The
application deadline was 1 April 2017. Applicants cannot be accepted anymore; the Seminar is booked up.
participants will be accepted. Applicants will be notified of
acceptance within one week after receipt of the complete application
Invitation as Commentator
may be invited formally as "commentators" to facilitate their access to
funding opportunities from their home institutions.