Universities against xenophobia

Universities for openness, tolerance and against xenophobia

The member universities of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) are set to oppose xenophobia in Germany as part of a nationwide initiative. The HRK members are committing to their stance with the slogan “Universities for openness, tolerance and against xenophobia”. They are reacting to the incidents of racist verbal and physical attacks that have occurred over the past few weeks and months.

Universities are open-minded places. Diverse opinions and international exchange constitute the foundations of their research and teaching activities. In light of the increasing xenophobic tendencies that can be seen at the moment, universities are actively advocating this plurality of opinions and exchange.

On 10/11/2015, HRK President Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler appealed to the HRK General Meeting in Kiel to support the initiative. Despite the fact that university towns and cities are affected by the issue to varying degrees, the universities agreed to show their support for the initiative. They want to show solidarity against xenophobia and racism and use the initiative to highlight this attitude under a common logo.

The General Meeting emphasised its concern, yet also expressed its willingness to take action at universities. University leaders want to encourage members of universities to stand up to xenophobia and act accordingly in a regional context.

The German higher education system has close ties with other national higher education systems.

Universities as “future workshops” of the world are transnational in and of themselves. A university can only be sustainable if it acts and thinks at international level. The HRK clearly stated this in its international strategy. An open and international campus and the international mobility of teachers and students therefore provide the essential foundations for high-quality teaching, learning and research.

Data and Facts

There are currently 320,000 international students registered at German universities. This figure amounts to around 12 per cent of all enrolled students. This makes Germany the fourth most popular host country in the world for international students, ranking behind the USA, the UK and Australia. German students are equally mobile: in the 2012 academic year, just under 140,000 students decided to complete part of their studies at an international university.

When it comes to research staff, the proportion of international researchers working at German universities is around 11 per cent – almost 40,000 people. In addition, there are a number of guest researchers who often come to Germany on one of the numerous exchange programmes available.

Universities can illustrate many examples of good practice in collaborating with international partners on equal terms: The HRK Higher Education Compass lists collaborations with over 32,000 institutions worldwide. 280 German universities collaborate on research and teaching with around 4,100 universities in 141 different countries.

Extensive data on international students and researchers is available from “Wissenschaft weltoffen

Topic: refugees

Information on study for refugees: legal and financial framework conditions, support programmes organised by universities and the HRK’s stipulations.