Prof. Dr. Ummu Salma Bava
University teacher, Professor of european studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi
DAAD Scholarship 1994
In 2012, Ummu Salma Bava was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, Germany’s highest civil honour, in recognition of her services to binational relations. The professor of European studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and an expert in international foreign and security policy has cultivated close relations with Germany for two decades. To this day she promotes partnership between Germany and India and is committed to cultural, political and academic exchange.
I had always been fascinated by Europe, and my stays in Germany served only to increase my admiration.
As a political studies expert, her biography is inextricably bound up with German history. “In 1990, the year of German reunification, I began my doctoral degree at Jawaharlal Nehru University,” explains Salma Bava. “I followed the events unfolding in Europe with keen interest and decided to focus on German foreign policy in my dissertation.”
Bava travelled to Germany on a DAAD scholarship in 1994 to research her topic. There, at Freie Universität (FU) Berlin and the universities of Hamburg, Bonn and Heidelberg, she was able to benefit not only from the extensive literature available: “The six months in Germany proved extremely fruitful,” the DAAD alumna recalls. “I talked to experts about my topic, made many friends and had the chance to experience German culture at first hand.”
Now a professor, Bava still maintains close ties with German culture – and with the DAAD. She has already taught on a number of occasions at Würzburg University’s Institute of Political Science and Sociology within the framework of the DAAD’s funding initiative A New Passage to India. In 2005, she was invited by the DAAD to serve as an election observer during Germany’s general election. She has also remained loyal to Germany’s capital: Bava is a member of the Research Advisory Board of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and was also a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the research project Asian Perceptions of the EU at the FU Berlin until the end of 2014.
Furthermore, Bava – who was appointed director of the Europe Area Studies Programme in 2011 and director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Studies (JNIAS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2012 – is a highly committed ambassador of Germany and the DAAD at her home university. Her own positive experiences make it easy for her to inspire her students to spend a period studying abroad: “Most of all I value the professional and personal friendships that have evolved over the past twenty years thanks to the DAAD scholarship,” says Salma Bava.