Studienforum Berlin e.V.
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Studienforum Berlin

Financial Details

Faculty Seminar in 2018

 Germany and the European Union

Refugee Integration and Its Political Consequences

               Date 2018:
         8 to 18 June 2018

             Final Application Deadline:
31 March 2018

Program Design and Highlights in 2018

After the 2017 Federal Election - The Challenge of Right-wing Populism

The September 2017 federal elections in Germany mark a break in its recent history. For the first time since 1949, a right-wing, populist and nationalist party, the Alternative für Deutschland, has entered the German Parliament. Germany is not the only country in Europe where nationalist movements have been increasingly in recent years. France, Austria and the Czech Republic are particular examples. Moreover,  in some nations there is talk of leaving the European Union, indicating that certain segments of their populations do not believe in the political and economic benefits of a European integration process that allows what many see as the uncontrolled influx of Muslims and other migrants into their nations, while neglecting their own people’s needs.

This development raises a variety of fundamental questions, the answers to which are about to determine the future of the European Union, its member countries and the future of Europe and beyond.  Will this development continue? Is the post-war integration process that seemed to have been a guarantor of peace and well-being coming to a close?  Where are individual European countries and the European Union headed?

In light of this major shift, will the national governments and the Commission of the European Union find a way to provide effective and successful responses to the political, economic and social polarization in societies?  How can the leaders adequately influence the outcomes of internationalization and globalization to reduce threats, both real and imagined?  Finally, will they be able to forge better working partnerships within and among nations?  

The Summer 2018 Faculty Seminar at Studienforum Berlin will address these and other issues touching the right-wing shift in Germany and its deeper causes. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mantra, “Wir schaffen das” (We can do this) in the summer of 2015 marked a high point in the optimism, as the nation at first seemed to accept significant refugee numbers and economic migrants.  Later, the Chancellor’s words created exactly the opposite response, expressed in anxiety, mistrust, protest and even violence, as the large numbers of refugees arrived, primarily from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The Lectures, Site Visits and Cultural Interaction

To approach the various challenges involving refugee status, integration and right-wind trends, the 2018 Faculty Seminary will provide venues and programming to take up the following questions:

What is the current state of migration policies of Germany and the European Union?

What are current challenges to be faced in processing and housing incoming refugees and migrants to Germany. What have been the successes and failures?

What problems confront the refugees themselves who remain isolated, sometimes for months and years, while their individual cases are reviewed?

How do the measures taken in coping with migrants and refugees differ on the local, regional and federal levels?

How have business, industry and the trade unions responded or reacted to the influx of these hundreds of thousands of non-Germans? And what have been the responses and the measures put forward by the academic community?

What are the short and long term sisks for the political parties, as they weigh the political implications and consequences of the refugee challenge? Are they supportive of present national measures, and do they trust Europe-wide positions?

In addition to getting answers to these fundamental questions, The Faculty Seminar

•    will provide a variety of opportunities to enhance knowledge about the historical background of refugee waves coming to Germany and Berlin.

•    There will be visits of "Welcome Centers" and Refugee Camps and even a Sightseeing Tour "Refugees show their Berlin".

    In addition, seminar participants will get the chance to share recent experiences with migrants, e.g. in vocational training institutions, theatres and the like.

   Meetings with refugees and migrants will be held to discuss a variety of relevant subjects such as the role of women's rights, religion and the like.

Furthermore, participants of the Seminar can

•    develop or advance their own research projects and

    build a collegial network for common tecahing and research interests with faculty from the U.S. and Germany.

For a first draft of the Seminar's schedule, click here.

Universities/Colleges 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 and Northern Africa,

•    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,

•    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 global context.


The 2018 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 any academic discipline 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.

Host Institution

The 11-day Seminar is hosted by Studienforum Berlin e.V. (SFB), 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.

Studienforum Berlin 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 and Europe.

In 2018, Studienforum Berlin celebrates its tenth Faculty Seminar so far. Subjects of recent faculty seminars included German unification, European integration, Lutherian Reformation as well as German and European policies regarding the environment and sustainability. Almost 200 faculty members from U.S. colleges and universities have been served until now.

Seminar Leadership

The faculty leaders for this seminar are Dr. Hanns-D. Jacobsen and Dr. William Hopkins. Sara Thögersen serves as faculty seminar manager.

Dr. Hanns-D. Jacobsen 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.

Dr. William Hopkins is Professor of German emeritus at Nazareth College of Rochester, NY.  He has taught a range of courses, from language and culture to literature and international commercial German.  He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with emphasis on German together with History and Art History.  His research areas are Late Medieval Studies, Reformation and Humanism.  In recent years, Prof. Hopkins’ students have entered professions abroad in trade, banking, technology and science.  Several of his students have been awarded one-year Fulbright Teaching Fellowships to Germany upon graduation.

Sara Thoegersen 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.

Seminar Fee

The 2018 seminar fee is EUR 2,485 (single room occupancy).

Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. The application deadline is 31 March 2018.

Twenty (20) participants will be accepted. Applicants will be notified of acceptance within one week after receipt of the complete application material.

Invitation as Commentator

Participants may be invited formally as "commentators" to facilitate their access to funding opportunities from their home institutions.

For further information or questions please email us.