Transformative Salon: Academics in Exile

Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET) at the University of Vienna and the Research Platform "Transformations and Eastern Europe" invite to their regular "Transformative Salon". The salon takes place on the first Thursday of each month during the semester in the Cafe Florianihof.

Venue: Café Florianihof in Florianigasse 45, live + on Zoom.

Restrictions on academic freedom, persecution and armed conflict have forced many scholars into exile. So far, the professional trajectories of these scholars and their contributions to knowledge exchange have not been studied comprehensively. In their new book "Academics in exile: Networks, knowledge exchange and new forms of internationalization", our speakers Dr. Vera Axyonova and Dr. Florian Kohstall address the situations and networks of scholars in exile, the challenges they face in their host countries and the opportunities they use. These issues are highly relevant to discussions about the moral economies of higher education institutions and support programs. Although the contributions largely focus on Germany as a host country, they also offer telling examples of forced mobility in the Global South, including both contemporary and historical perspectives. The book is fully available online and can be downloaded here.

The book authors will be joined on the podium by Dr. habil. Halyna Ilina and Dr. Alina Nychyk (both Ukraine Fellows at RECET) who will share their personal views and experiences of being a refugee scholar.

Vera Axyonova is a Marie Curie REWIRE Fellow at the Political Communication Research Group of the University of Vienna. In her current project, Vera examines how and to what extent institutionalised expert groups such as think tanks shape policy agendas in non-democratic and hybrid political contexts. Before joining the University of Vienna, Vera worked in research, science management and policy consulting, including as the Managing Director of "Academics in Solidarity", a transnational mentoring program for at-risk scholars at Freie Universität Berlin, as a Postdoctoral Researcher/Assistant Professor for International Integration at Justus Liebig University Giessen, and as a Hurford Next Generation Fellow with the Carnegie Endowment's Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative. Vera Axyonova is co-founder of the ECPR Research Network on Statehood, Sovereignty and Conflict. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences.

Florian Kohstall is the Director of the "Global Responsibility" Program of Freie Universität Berlin. From 2010 to 2015 he built up the Liaison Office of Freie Universität in Cairo. In 2016 he founded “Academics in Solidarity”, a transnational Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program for Displaced Scholars. Kohstall taught political science in Aix-en-Provence, Cairo and Lyon. His research interest comprise university reform, knowledge production and discourses on academic freedom. He is a former research fellow of CEDEJ in Cairo and alumnus of AGYA – The Arab German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Halyna Ilina is Associate Professor of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Ukraine Fellow of the Research Center for the History of Transformations. She obtained her PhD degree in Philosophy in 2010 and he habilitation degree in 2019. From 2009 to 2011 she was Senior Researcher at the National Scientific Institute of Ukrainian Studies and World History of the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine. Since 2012 she teaches at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. In April-August 2022 she was a Visiting Fellow in the Center for Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz. Halyna Ilina is the author of the book Genesis of the Culture of Thinking: Logos, Ratio, Visio (2018).

Alina Nychyk is a a Ukraine Fellow at the Research Center for the History of Transformations and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. Alina Nychyk studied International Economics in Kyiv and Wroclaw before defending her PhD in Politics at the University of Manchester in April 2022. Apart from her scholarly work, Alina is a social activist dealing with women’s empowerment, democracy and EU-Ukraine integration and board member at Professional Government of Ukraine, an NGO uniting alumni of world's best universities who returned to Ukraine.

Discussion will be moderated by Irena Remestwenski, Managing Director at RECET and Country coordinator for Austria at Science for Ukraine. The lecture will be followed by a public discussion.

The Transformative Salon will take place on December, 1st, starting at 19:00 at the Café Florianihof in Florianigasse 45.

FREE ENTRY. No registration is needed to participate live. Event language will be English.

The event will be broadcast live via Zoom.

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