Zwei Hände halten einen Luftballon, auf dem "no war" (kein Krieg) in den ukrainischen Farben steht

Solidarity with Ukraine - Defend freedom of science and research

Wiesbaden. Hessen´s Minister of Science Angela Dorn and the heads of the state's 14 universities have adopted the following joint statement on the invasion of Ukraine:

The Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts and the Hessen universities jointly condemn Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which is contrary to international law. The people in and from Ukraine, especially the students, scientists, artists, who are experiencing death, injury, displacement and destruction of their homes, infrastructure and livelihoods, have our great concern, deep sympathy and full solidarity.

The invasion of Ukraine is an attack on democracy and the liberal values to which modern Europe feels bound and is committed to. In line with the “Lübeck Declaration of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs” of March 10/11, 2022, the statement of the “Alliance of Science Organizations” of February 25, 2022, and the statement of the “German Rectors' Conference” of February 24, 2022, the State of Hessen and its universities declare their joint responsibility for students as well as scientists from Ukraine who are in distress or danger and fleeing from war. This also applies to students from third countries who have stayed in Ukraine to study.

Maintaining cooperation

The state government encourages the universities to maintain cooperation with Ukrainian universities as far as possible and to keep in touch with students and scientists. It thanks the Hessen universities for their immediate action and for the numerous initiatives to support Ukrainian students, scientists and artists.

The state government and the universities in Hessen agree, in line with the Europe-wide sanctions regime and the recommendations of the “German Rectors’ Conference” and the “Alliance of German Science Organizations”, to suspend institutional cooperation with Russian and Belarusian universities and state institutions until further notice and to suspend and critically review financial support for state projects with the Russian Federation. At the same time, this means that no new cooperation projects will be initiated and no joint scientific, research or artistic events will be held. This step hurts all the more because cooperation between Russian and Hessen universities across all disciplines has been particularly fruitful over the years, as Hessen´s relations with Eastern Europe have traditionally been especially close. However, a military attack on liberal values cannot go unanswered and demands a response at all levels. We must therefore show the Russian president that his aggression has consequences.

Supporting students and researchers

At the same time, it is a matter of concern for the state government and the universities that individual collaborations with Russian and Belarusian scientists can be continued as far as possible and justifiable in the spirit of freedom of science. In particular, our solidarity goes out to those in the Russian science and art system who, because they believe in democracy, freedom and the rule of law, represent a critical voice and important link in Russian civil society and are often themselves affected by repression. The state government and universities therefore welcome the fact that Russian students, scientists and artists who are enrolled or employed at universities in Hessen can continue to receive individual funding. Likewise, they can continue to be accepted within the framework of projects and courses of study at the universities. We want to continue to promote the academic and cultural richness of Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe and reject any form of discrimination. We counter the message of violence with a culture of peaceful debate.

The state government and the universities will continue existing offers of support and advice for students, researchers and artists from Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation. The HessenFonds Scholarship Program has already been extended to persecuted scientists and thus also to Ukrainian applicants. Individual universities have also already responded with emergency funds and scholarship programs. In close coordination with each other as well as with the responsible bodies of the federal and state governments, they will also consider further measures with regard to the challenges faced by universities in receiving and supporting students and scientists from Ukraine who are affected by the war and who have fled. In this context, we explicitly welcome the establishment of the central contact point for Ukrainians by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as by the science ministries of the federal states and the “Alliance of Science Organizations”. Through the platform administered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), information on concrete support measures from the federal government, the federal states, universities, science organizations, student unions and foundations can be bundled and made accessible.

Many thanks to helpers

We also strongly support the German Academic Exchange Services´ promotion of a major support program for German universities financed by the federal government, on the basis of which the admission, supervision and further qualification of Ukrainian students and academics is to be guaranteed and academic operations at universities in Ukraine are to be supported. The state government and the universities would like to express their sincere thanks to the many volunteers and private donors who have thus set an example of solidarity with Ukraine and for the freedom of science and research.

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