Welcome Prize Awarded for Student Projects

Zeitz/DAAD

DAAD and BMBF recognise outstanding student projects funded through the Welcome Programme for the first time

On 5 July 2017 the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, and Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awarded the Welcome Prize to three projects, initiated and managed by students of German universities. The ceremony at the Federal Ministry in Berlin, attended by some 120 guests, presented brief film portraits highlighting the achievements of the winning projects. This was followed by the announcement of the first-, second- and third-place winners by the State Secretary. The prize went to projects at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the TU Dresden and the University of Siegen. In addition to the honour of receiving the award, the top-placed winners will also receive prizemoney totalling 10,000, 5,000 and 3,000 euros.

First place – Refugee Law Clinic Berlin

The first-place winner was the Refugee Law Clinic (RLC) of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In addition to providing refugees with free advice on matters related to asylum and residence laws, the RLC also offers courses to students and interested citizens who wish to gain qualification as volunteer legal advisors. The one-year training programme consists of lectures on asylum and residence laws, an internship and a practical seminar. The RLC also provides various services at locations abroad; in spring 2017, RLC advising staff travelled to the island of Chios in Greece for a second time to provide legal advice and expertise.

For more information about the project’s activities, view the film portrait on the Refugee Law Clinic at the HU Berlin.

Second place – German Courses for Asylum Seekers (IDA) 

The second-place prize went to the “German Courses for Asylum Seekers” (IDA) project at the TU Dresden. The project offers advice and orientation to refugee students at universities, helps them forge contacts with German students, and organises language courses. The project also encourages refugees to play an active role themselves, e.g. by teaching their native language Arabic to fellow German students, or introducing them to the culture of their home countries. In this way, refugees can become active instructors and contribute to bilateral cultural exchange.

Students and staff describe their tasks and activities in the film portrait on the “German Courses for Asylum Seekers” project.

Third place – Refugees Helping Refugees

The third-place prize was awarded to the “Refugees Helping Refugees” project at the University of Siegen. The participating student mentors come from a refugee background themselves. They have successfully integrated into German society and are now in the advanced stages of their studies. They advise fellow refugees on a wide range of topics, making them authentic contacts and role models. In addition, they provide academic orientation and assistance, advice on financial aid opportunities and support with integrating in Siegen.

The student mentors describe the support services they offer in the film portrait on the “Refugees Helping Refugees” project.

The Welcome Programme

"Welcome – Studierende engagieren sich für Flüchtlinge"
Hundreds of students throughout Germany have volunteered to help refugees integrate into society and get off to a good start at a German university. The programme “Welcome – Students Helping Refugees” has been actively supporting these volunteer projects since 2015. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is responsible for implementing and managing the programme, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Student-organised projects at numerous German universities offer a wide range of support measures to welcome refugees who wish earn a university degree. Currently 159 universities are participating in the Welcome Programme.

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Welcome projects as blueprints for the future

All three winning projects embody the fundamental concept of the Welcome Programme –empowering refugees so that they can manage in the academic world and everyday life on their own, as well as commence or continue a degree programme. The goal is to help student refugees become active participants in society and strengthen their sense of belonging.

The prizewinning projects demonstrate how integration can work. The intensive supervision and support services they offer can serve as models and blueprints for integrating international students in general. Such measures can reduce student drop-out rates and stabilise their academic success

The DAAD is looking forward to awarding the Welcome Prize again next year to the best student projects of the Welcome Programme. The DAAD strongly appreciates their outstanding work and is committed to further developing ongoing projects.

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Stand: 25.07.2017