More Than Welcome: A Berlin Call for University Ethics
Affiliation: Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany
Keywords: Democracy, universities, Berlin, education, humans rights, ethics.
Categories: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
Democracy is under attack, as are human rights outside and inside the academy, and scholars are at risk. The keynote proposes ethics that calls on universities to truly welcome these scholars, with more than a benevolent gesture. Instead, the university must be the space for a truly cosmopolitan “education” via exchange among equals – which adds Alexander and Caroline to Wilhelm von Humboldt. This allows an “enlightened and active mind … to wander freely and widely”, as “one of the joys and rewards of human existence” – which is the version of the United Nations Committee on such human rights. This commitment to safeguard education and academic freedom justifies university autonomy; the way a university deals with scholars at risk is a litmus test of its practice, and its ability to contribute to democracy at all. Previously published in "Ordnung der Wissenschaft".