For this year's Annual Conference in Germany, the members of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) met in Hamburg from 24 to 28 March 2017. During the conference the AGYA members exchanged ideas and discussed new collaborative research projects beyond disciplinary boundaries. In Working Group Meetings and a Tandem Market Place, the members presented the results from their AGYA projects and decided upon their next research activities. As a port city and space of transition, Hamburg was the most suitable place for a conference on the cross-cutting issue of migration that is tackled from different perspectives of all working groups by the AGYA members within the academy.
Hamburg as a Port City and Space of Migration
During the conference, the AGYA members visited the port area of Hamburg both by land and sea: A walking tour through Hamburg's historic warehouse district with "Kontorhaus" quarter focused in particular on the history of the former free port district and its present role as part of Hamburg's UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Looking out over the harbor from the Elbphilharmonie plaza, where the tour ended, the AGYA members learnt about the opportunities and challenges Hamburg faces as a port city. During a boat excursion through Hamburg's harbor, the members discussed with local experts the ambiguity of port cities as both gate to the world or rather as a border.
Arab and German Approaches to Migration and Education
A public evening event on 27 March 2017 was dedicated to Arab and German Approaches to Migration and Education. The event at the University of Hamburg was festively opened by Prof. Dr. Dieter Lenzen, President of the University of Hamburg. The AGYA Co-Presidents, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Sakhrieh and Jun.-Prof. Dr. Kalman Graffi welcomed the audience and presented the aims and mission of AGYA as well as the research activities. In the public keynote lecture, Ziad Mikati, member of the AGYA Advisory Board and Head of the Beirut Office of the Mikati Foundation, reported on the The Role of Civil Society in Tackling the Challenges of Migration; A Case Study from Lebanon.
“Arab countries can rely on years of experience and best practices in the area of migration and education. We can benefit from their knowledge and learn from their expertise”, stated Prof. Dr. Verena Lepper, AGYA Principal Investigator (PI). This is why AGYA – in May 2016 – had brought together 200 high-ranking Arab and German scholars and leading university representatives from 19 countries to discuss challenges and potentials of migration in regard to education, research and innovation in Berlin. On the occasion of the event in Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Verena Lepper presented the AGYA Policy Report on Migration as a result of various AGYA research projects, and especially of discussions that took place at the AGYA conference on Migration and Transnational Cooperation in Education, Research and Innovation held in Berlin, in May 2016. With a focus on the integration of migrants and refugees into the higher education systems, AGYA members developed 26 recommendations from a distinct Arab and German perspective in the AGYA Policy Report on Migration.
Another result of the research activities on migration and higher education within the academy is the project Adopt An Academic. AGYA member Dr. Florian Kohstall, project leader and member of the AGYA Steering Committee, presented the mentoring program that aims to bring refugees and scientists at risk together with established academics. Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Laila Prager, member of the AGYA Steering Committee, introduced activities at the University of Hamburg in the field of migration. The event was followed by a reception and a poster exhibition, where AGYA members exchanged with researchers and students about projects on migration of the University of Hamburg.
Kindly find more information on AGYA’s activities in the field of transregional migration as well as the AGYA Policy Report on Migration on our website.