About the Academy

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 as of July 2020, a total of 39 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 co-authored by scholars banished from academic life in Turkey. Across borders and disciplines, scholars will collaborate to shape courses for higher education. The first four of these courses will be made accessible to students and the public over the course of 2020.

Conferences and workshops

Academy in Exile creates public forums for the dissemination of its intellectual work. A first international conference was organized on October 18-19, 2018 at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen (KWI) on the topic of “Exile and Academic Freedom Today”. A diverse audience not only shared theoretical and personal insights into exile and threats to academic freedom in a variety of countries. The conference also created a particular synergy to identify the gaps in the existing support mechanisms for exiled scholars and discuss new models of support such as the one provided by the Academy in Exile.

Click here for the conference programme.

Academy in Exile is in the process of organizing a second international conference on the theme of “Critical Thinking” on January 16 and 17, 2020 at Freie Universität Berlin. More information will follow soon.

“Exile Lounge” is an internal discussion forum for Academy in Exile members located at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen to workshop papers, articles, or proposals in process. This interdisciplinary workshop series supports fellows in sharing their research with the scholarly community in Essen and beyond. A similar format is currently developed with the Fellows of the “Critical Thinking”-Program at Freie Universität Berlin.


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).