As we debate a statement in the Senate of the University of Leipzig calling for help for students who have lost the temporary jobs from which they earn their living, I was reminded of the following entry by Diana Valencia Duarte on the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter, which impressed me greatly.
The Colombian PhD student expresses in a touching way how our research topics in Global Studies are related to the reality of social inequality and what an emotional burden it can be to work professionally on a thesis and think about how to help those in poverty at the same time.
Anyone who follows the debate in Germany, in which those who really suffer and those who are building the most powerful lobbies possible for their interests fight over the enormous subsidies that a rich country has to distribute, realizes that you have to raise your voice to be heard. Not everyone who appeals for solidarity is in need of it, and not everyone who urgently needs solidarity is even considered. This comes also to mind when debating help for students as it happens in the Senate’s meeting on May, 5. While the motions on the table claim help for students, temporary lecturers and young researchers in particular we are calling for foreign students to be included on an equal footing in all support measures. Where measures are not appropriate to the particular circumstances of international students, specific solutions must be found. International students shall be asked where the shoe pinches them, instead of simply paternalistically taking decisions on their behalf.
* Matthias Middell is director of the Global and European Studies Institute of Leipzig University and head of the EMGS Consortium ().