Human Rights Day 2021
Public Statement

Academy in Exile is being trolled by politically-motivated parties.

Academy in Exile is committed to supporting scholars at risk and to advancing academic freedom. Academy in Exile adheres to the principles of good academic practice and the rule of law.

Legal action will be taken against libelous claims.

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Agnew

Universität Duisburg-Essen /
Australian National University

Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott

Freie Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Volker M. Heins

Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut

Georges Khalil

Forum Transregionale Studien

Prof. Dr. Kader Konuk

Universität Duisburg-Essen

Fellows of the Academy in Exile

12-24 months


1 visiting professorship
36 months

emergency stipends


1 visiting professorship
12 months

57fellowships granted

Disciplines of Academy in Exile-Fellows


Social sciences






Political sciences






Media studies



Countries of Origin of Academy in Exile-Fellows
Current Academy in Exile Funding Recipients




Host Institutions

  • FU: 11
  • Forum: 5
  • KWI: 4
  • UDE: 1*

* 1 visiting professor

Former Academy in Exile Funding Recipients

12-24 months



visiting professor


Fellow Placement Record

33 Follow-on placements after the end of AiE funding:

23 in the tertiary education sector in Germany

4 in the tertiary education sector abroad

5 returned to home institutions; 1 retired; 1 started a business in Germany


What We Brought With Us – an ongoing exhibition by the Academy in Exile at the festival Re:Writing the future

What We Brought with Us is an exhibition of things people took when they fled persecution, suffering, and war. It is also a meditation on things people might take if they had to flee.

When people are forced from their homes, their things carry symbolic weight. They represent the human relations that constitute a settled life. Yet, things also stand for hope: they are a seed that must bear fruit in strange ground.

View the exhibition online here.

Re:Writing the Future is a digital festival focusing on artistic freedom, spaces of resilience and international solidarity over the course of several days. More information here.

Academy in Exile offers scholars who are threatened in their home countries because of their academic or civic engagement for human rights, peace and democracy the opportunity to resume their research abroad.

Academy in Exile provides a forum for reflecting on the pressing challenges to intellectual life, critical thinking, reason, social justice and diversity that are facing us today and that define the parameters of academy freedom.

Academy in Exile fellowships afford scholars the opportunity to continue their careers in Germany and to work on a research project of their own choosing in a multidisciplinary environment. Fellows contribute to and shape the research agenda and intellectual profile of the Academy generally.

Academy in Exile was founded in 2017 as a joint initiative of the Institute for Turkish Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen and the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin. The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Volkswagen Foundation provided the start-up funding. IIE-SRF and the Freudenberg Foundation granted further funding. Since early 2019, Academy in Exile hosts a new cohort of scholars at the Freie Universität Berlin with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Academy in Exile is based on a proven model that creates multidisciplinary cohorts of scholars around a unified theme, with the aim of enabling persecuted scholars to collaborate with each other. As of October 2021, a total of 57 scholars were awarded with long-term fellowships of 12 to 24 months or with short-term emergency stipends of three months.

Online courses

Online courses developed by Academy in Exile are being co-authored by scholars banished from academic life in their home countries. Across borders and disciplines, scholars collaborate to shape widely accessible, pioneering pedagogical tools for higher education. The first of these courses came on line in 2019; additional courses followed in 2020.

Conferences and workshops

Academy in Exile creates public fora for the dissemination of its intellectual work. An inaugural international conference was held in October 18-19, 2018 at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen (KWI) on the topic of “Exile and Academic Freedom Today”. A diverse audience of scholars, students, and members of the public shared theoretical and personal insights into exile and reported on threats to academic freedom around the globe. The conference also created a particular synergy for identifying gaps in the existing support mechanisms for exiled scholars, and for discussing new models of support such as the one provided by Academy in Exile.  Click here for the conference program.

Academy in Exile hosted a second international conference on “Critical Thinking” on January 16 and 17, 2020 at Freie Universität Berlin. Click here for the conference program.

A third international conference is planned for January 2022.

“Exile Lounge” is an internal discussion forum for Academy in Exile members located at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen to workshop papers, articles, and work-in-progress. This interdisciplinary workshop series supports fellows in sharing their research with the scholarly community in Essen and beyond. A similar format exists for Academy in Exile fellows of the Critical Thinking Program at Freie Universität Berlin. Fellows meet weekly to discuss their scholarship, share ideas, network, and provide mutual support.


Academy in Exile started a series with transcript to publish monographs and edited volumes, edited by Vanessa Agnew (University of Duisburg-Essen / Australian National University), Kader Konuk (University of Duisburg-Essen), and Egemen Özbek (University of Duisburg-Essen / KWI). The first volume of the series entitled Refugee Routes is edited by Vanessa Agnew, Kader Konuk, and Jane O. Newman (University of California Irvine).