Supporting students and doctoral candidates at risk: The Federal Foreign Office launches the Hilde Domin Programme

Belarus is the focus of the first year of the Hilde Domin Programme.

Belarus is the focus of the first year of the Hilde Domin Programme., © dpa

14.04.2021 - Article

With the Hilde Domin Programme, the Federal Foreign Office and the German Academic Exchange Service are founding a new scholarship programme for students and doctoral candidates who are denied the opportunity to study or complete a doctoral programme in their countries of origin.

Commitment to academic freedom and democracy

Academic freedom is coming under increasing pressure worldwide. In many places around the world, researchers and students are persecuted for their work or their commitment to democracy and freedom or are prevented from continuing their research or study.

The new Hilde Domin Programme (full title: Students at Risk – Hilde Domin Programme) is intended to enable students and doctoral candidates who are denied the right to education in their country of origin to take up or continue their studies in Germany under safe conditions. The Federal Foreign Office considers academic freedom to be a non-negotiable foundation of democracies.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised the following:

With the Hilde Domin Programme, we are opening up a safe academic space for students as well as researchers who are at risk or persecuted. I am delighted that we are making a genuinely substantial contribution to this programme to the tune of 8.6 million euro by 2027. We are concentrating on Belarus in its first year and are providing assistance where it is needed most.

Up to 50 scholarship holders per year

Hilde Domin (1909 - 2006)
Hilde Domin (1909 - 2006)© picture-alliance / akg-images

The programme is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. Up to 50 new scholarship holders per year will receive support until they complete their studies or doctoral project in Germany. The Federal Foreign Office is thus expanding its commitment to science and research worldwide and aims to build on the success of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative for scientists at risk.

Hilde Domin (1909-2006)

The new fellowship programme is named after the poet and writer Hilde Domin from Cologne, who studied first in Germany and then, from 1932, in Italy. When the National Socialists seized power, she was not allowed to return to Germany owing to her Jewish background. In 1939, in response to the Italian racial laws of 1938, Domin fled first to UK and then to the Dominican Republic, where she began her career as a writer. She returned to Germany in 1954. From 1961, she lived and published her works in Heidelberg and became famous around the world as a proponent of what is known as unrhymed poetry.

DAAD - Hilde Domin Programme

Philipp Schwartz Initiative


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