The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has selected a total of 85 Afghans for the special quota of the Hilde Domin program and the so-called Bridging Scholarships for Refugee and Doctoral Students, the organization announced on Tuesday.
Afghans are limited in all areas of education, including higher education. “For us, their support and acceptance into the German higher education system is a clear continuation of two decades of commitment to the Afghan higher education sector,” explained DAAD Chairman Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee. Last August, the DAAD had to stop supporting the country’s universities due to the takeover of power by the Taliban. The special programs would now support students and doctoral students who are still in Afghanistan or who are already in Germany as refugees.
The special programs in detail
The DAAD announced that 26 young Afghans received a full scholarship for a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in Germany thanks to the special quota of the Hilde Domin program. The majority of these selected applicants are currently still in Afghanistan, but DAAD will assist them in applying to leave the country. In Germany, scholarship recipients first completed a language course before starting their studies at a German university in the winter semester 2022/23.
59 Afghans, most of whom were already in Germany, were selected for a bridge scholarship in Afghanistan. They would be financially supported for six months to accompany them in their scientific reorientation in Germany.
With the special programs, the DAAD has expanded its support for Afghan students and doctoral students. According to Mukherjee, however, the global need for scientific protection programs far exceeds the capabilities of the DAAD, as it has increased significantly in recent years. The number of at-risk students nominated for the Hilde Domin program has tripled in one year. From early January 2022 to mid-March alone, nearly 450 applications for the program have been received, including approximately 350 from Afghanistan. “Even if the federal government’s financial situation is difficult, we believe that the well-known protection programs of the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation should be further expanded,” Mukherjee demanded.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports researchers at risk through the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. In response to the situation in Afghanistan, the foundation announced last fall that it had relaxed the conditions for the appointment of Afghan researchers.