In dialogue with Academics in Exile

What does it mean to lose freedom and democracy?
Researchers in exile share their personal experiences.

The Project

“At first I stopped writing everything I thought. Then I stopped speaking my mind. Only much later had I realised that I began following different routes home every day.”

This account comes from one of the first Fellows of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. It describes how his loss of freedom as a researcher and citizen of his country was imperceptibly gradual. Before it was too late, he fled his country and arrived here in Germany, where he feels safe again to continue his research and speak freely. Not to be taken for granted, this hard-won freedom to research and teach is protected by the German constitution and an independent judiciary.

Our mission: raising awareness of freedom of research

In the “Fragile Freedom” project, we create the opportunity for dialogue with refugee researchers. Their personal stories can and should raise our awareness of the challenges facing the freedom to research and emphasise the importance of free science and teaching for democracy. At the heart of the project are five public dialogue events with refugee researchers at their universities of refuge. The dialogues will then be published as podcasts. The dates and locations will be published here as planning continues.

We invite all interested parties to find out more, take part and contribute to the discussion. Upper school courses in particular are also invited to attend the events and use the podcasts. Teachers receive material for designing a teaching unit.

The project is being carried out by the science communication agency con gressa in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the “Science Year 2024 – Freedom”.


Past events


In the context of the Science Year 2024 – Freedom

“Fragile Freedom” focuses on the importance of freedom of research. As part of the Science Year 2024 – Freedom, the project offers opportunities for encounters and dialogue between refugee scientists and the public. It highlights the dangers to which researchers around the world are exposed and that it is worth standing up for freedom.