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Executive Department for
Press, Communication and Marketing

Adolf-Reichwein-Straße 2a
Gebäude AVZ (Gebäudeteil AR-NA)
57068 Siegen

Phone:    +49 (0)271/740-4915
Fax.:    +49 (0)271/740-4911
E-Mail:  presse@uni-siegen.de

Refugee project of the University of Siegen honored in Berlin

The Initiative "Refugees Help Refugees" of the University of Siegen has been given an award by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The award was presented in Berlin.

Great success for the Initiative "Refugees Help Refugees" of the University of Siegen: The project for the integration of students with flight history has now been awarded in Berlin by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The award recognizes outstanding student initiatives in the "Welcome" program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). It aims to help refugees to study at a German university. For the prize almost 50 applications from initiatives from all over Germany were received. A DAAD expert review committee had selected three award winners. The project of the University of Siegen was honored with the third place.

This link will take you to the DAAD's report on awarding the prize.

"Thousands of young students have demonstrated in the past two years in a terrific way how passionate and modern volunteer work can be. I hope that these good examples will set a precedent for others to follow," explained Prof. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education, on the occasion of the award ceremony. "We are very pleased with the award. It is really nice that our work is also recognized nationally", said the project manager of the University of Siegen, Christian Gerhus, after the ceremony. Present with Gerhus in Berlin were also student assistants of the initiative, Philipp Schmidt (Head of the Doivision Student Services) and Dr. Cornelia Schrudde (Department Head of Student Admission, Registration and Training in German / STARTING). The initiative is located in the Department STARTING.

The project "Refugees Help Refugees" supports fugitives in taking up studies at the University of Siegen - and in completing them successfully. The special feature is that the employees themselves have a flight history and therefore know from firsthand experience the questions and problems a refugee faces. They help both in orientation at the university, as well as in the search for accommodation or when dealing with authorities. They also make aware of cultural differences. The program contributes to study preparation and to regional integration.

As part of a comprehensive package of measures for refugees, the DAAD has designed the "Welcome- Students for Refugees" program, funded by the BMBF. A large number of different initiatives were launched as part of this program, which in 2016 promoted around 450 student initiatives with over 900 students. This year, for the first time, the BMBF and the DAAD are honoring this commitment with a prize. In addition to the initiative "Refugees Help Refugees" at the University of Siegen, the projects of the Humboldt-Universität of Berlin (1st Prize) and the TU Dresden (2nd Prize) were awarded. The prizes are endowed with 10,000, 5,000 and 3,000 euros.

Christian Gerhus (Responsible for the project „Refugees Help Refugees“)
E-Mail: christian.gerhus@zv.uni-siegen.de
Tel.: +49 271 740 5090