Bild einer Frau, die sich Notizen macht
Bild einer Frau, die sich Notizen macht

University News

A Place of Encounter: The Potential Role of Universities in Humanitarian Conflicts

Encounter and Discussion in the Campelle

A lofty space, a ceiling bathed in a bluish light, the sound of wind whistling. The Campelle on campus offers refuge. And that is exactly why Prof. Dr. Ulrich Glassmann, EUF Vice President for Europe and International Affairs, and Prof. Dr. Ralf K. Wüstenberg, the head of the "European Wasatia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution," extended an invitation to gather in the Campelle.

A Place of Safety and Protection

For Ulrich Glassmann, the Campelle embodies what universities can represent during times of humanitarian crises: a place where students and staff on campus feel welcome, a sanctuary of safety and protection, and a space of humanity, irrespective of political stances and solutions. The discussion aims to not only convey the apprehensions of Europa-Universität Flensburg community members, but also to provide a platform where students can voice their concerns.

Balance and Moderation

How can reconciliation be achieved? The European Wasatia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution is charting a possible path for this, explains Ralf Wüstenberg. "Wasatia" is an Arabic term signifying balance and moderation. Reconciliation involves engaging with the past at a deep intellectual or spiritual level in order to open the door to a harmonious future coexistence. The Wasatia Graduate School opens up a space for dialogue where doctoral students of various nationalities and religious backgrounds come together. Israelis and Palestinians encounter one another outside of their ongoing conflict, drawing lessons both from Germany's engagement with its past and from other global conflict zones. The three-year doctoral program includes participants from Albania, Northern Ireland, and Zimbabwe. Universities can indeed be places of encounter.

Critical, Yet Peaceful Engagement

The Graduate School's doctoral program also affords a temporal and spatial distance from the conflict. Ralf Wüstenberg is confident that universities have the capability to educate individuals who can discern and comprehend both sides of a conflict. One perspective that emerged during the discussion was that the graduate school's approach involves building bridges between civil societies. Peaceful yet critically-minded discussion and encounter - this central function is exactly what universities can most contribute. It was on this positive note that the event in the Campelle concluded. The Vice President for Europe and International Affairs summarized: "This issue will continue to engage us deeply. We will ensure that the conditions for open and peaceful dialogue remain intact at the university."