Against the background of the Ukraine crisis, the heads of two German higher education organisations have issued a statement condemning nationalism and exclusion and calling for open-mindedness and tolerance.
But despite the call, the German government has banned Russian graduates from attending a parliament internship programme.
A joint statement by Peter-André Alt, president of the German Rectors’ Conference or Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), and Joybrato Mukherjee, president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), refers to universities as “places in which there is no room for xenophobia, nationalism and exclusion”.
“Diversified views, a plurality of opinions and international exchange belong to the foundations of research and teaching in our universities. Especially in times of horrifically brutal conflict in Europe, the universities are called upon to stand up united for these values,” they said.
The HRK and DAAD heads emphasise their organisations’ solidarity with Ukrainian students and researchers as well as all refugees coming to Germany and to its universities from Ukraine now and in the near future.
They point out at the same time, however, that they are well aware of the need to distinguish between the Russian government and its offensive war and Russian students and researchers who, often at considerable personal risk, have spoken out against this war.