Since November 2014, KIT supported the Baden-Württemberg initial reception center in Karlsruhe by making available spaces and rooms on two of its campuses. On July 1, 2016, the tents for accommodating refugees on Campus East were closed by the Karlsruhe regional council. The other accommodation, the “old canteen” on Campus North, was shut down as well, but will be kept as a reserve in order to be able to cope with a potential increase of the number of refugees in the future.
From 2014 to 2016, hundreds of employees and students of KIT joined the initiative “Flüchtlingshilfe am KIT” (KIT refugee aid organization) as volunteers. To improve the living conditions of the refugees at the emergency accommodations, they organized tearooms, handicraft groups, clothing stores, and many more activities. The KIT refugee aid organization plans to continue its commitment even after the closure of the accommodations. The focus of activities will be shifted from first/emergency help to integration offers.
Moreover, KIT supported the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts in organizing a scholarship program for 50 Syrian refugees to continue or start university studies. About ten scholarship holders wish to study at KIT and are presently attending preparatory courses of mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics. From October, the Studienkolleg will offer German language courses for them.
KIT has also launched a guest auditor program for refugees and, together with the General Students Committee, organizes courses and gives advice. The refugees are to start university studies at an early stage as guest auditors. They can join lectures and meet other students. In this way, KIT supports those, who wish to further qualify later on, to complete their studies, or to find orientation. The costs arising for guest auditors are borne by KIT.
A website of the Studying and Teaching Service Unit (SLE) provides information for refugees about advisory services offered, preparation options, and the process of applying for studies. Information on regular admission of foreign applicants to study at KIT is given by the International Students Office.
An initiative of employees, supported by the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) and the association Angewandte Informatik Karlsruhe e.V. (AIK), offers a cost-free course on the fundamentals of computer science and Java programming for refugees. “Programming for Refugees in Karlsruhe” is to not only impart to the participants specialized knowledge, but to also provide a platform to contact Germans, who may participate as “buddies”.
The Enactus students group of KIT carries out numerous projects for refugees. For example, the students offer language courses and organize soccer games. Their photo book “Flüchtlingszeit” (time of refugees) tells stories of refugees together with them.
On the website of the International Scholars and Welcome Office of KIT, a link “Threatened Researchers” is provided under “General Information”. Here, you will find information for threatened researchers.
The Helmholtz Association and the Federal Labor Agency have launched a joint initiative to facilitate the start of a scientific or close-to-science employment for refugees. In the medium term, ten to twenty people are planned to be integrated at each Helmholtz Center. For this task, the Helmholtz Association makes available funds in the total amount of EUR 1 million. In addition, the Helmholtz Centres provide total funding of a similar amount. The remaining costs will be borne by the Federal Labor Agency.
Tandem Program for Refugees Having an Academic Background:
The Institute for German Studies: Literature, Language, Media is presently establishing a tandem program for Karlsruhe scientists / students and refugees, who worked in the academic sector in their home country already. It is planned to form tandems of one student and one refugee each and to improve the language skills of the refugees by intercultural exchange and longer-term encounters with Germans. The contact partners for this program are Marie-Hélène Adam or Dr. Monika Hanauska. Both are involved in the working group “Engagement für Flüchtlinge” at KIT. The program is financed by the DAAD from funds of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The KIT Studies Ambassador Program is aimed at providing advice to refugees living in the region of Karlsruhe as regards their future studies or professions. Following an invitation, students of KIT will visit temporary accommodations of refugees / refugee initiatives in the region of Karlsruhe and provide information in Arabic, Amharic, English, French, Pashto, Panjabi, Urdu or Tigrinya. KIT studies ambassadors are students of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. They have different scientific backgrounds. The costs of the program are financed from funds of the DAAD. The institutions accommodating refugees have no costs or obligations whatsoever. Financed by the DAAD from funds of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
[Editor’s note: When starting new projects or initiatives, we would very much like you to send us a short information by electronic mail.]