Solidarity with Ukraine
The Ministry of Culture and Science today met with representatives of universities and other scientific institutions, students, university hospitals and student unions to discuss the current situation surrounding Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine and its impact on science and research.
All parties involved agreed on a joint declaration: The universities in the state as well as the non-university research institutions in the state are called upon to critically examine existing scientific cooperation and relations with Russia and Russian institutions and to let them rest until further notice. The decision is in line with statements by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Alliance of Science Organizations, among others.
"The Russian attack on Ukraine is a profound rupture in Europe. This blatant breach of international law cannot be justified by anything. Freedom and peace are indispensable prerequisites for scientific exchange and cooperation. Together with representatives of the higher education sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, we have therefore agreed today to suspend scientific activities and cooperation with Russian institutions. We all regret this step very much - but it is currently without any real alternative," said Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen.
The Ministry of Culture and Science, the chairpersons of the state rectors' conferences of the universities, universities of applied sciences (HAW) and colleges of art and music, representatives of the chancellors' conferences of the universities, HAWs and colleges of art and music, the spokespersons of the deans of the medical faculties, the representatives of the university hospitals, the board of the Johannes Rau Research Association, the spokespersons of the student unions and the coordination of the state ASten meeting jointly issued the following statement:
"The Russian attack on Ukraine in violation of international law shocks us and leaves us stunned, but not speechless. Our thoughts are with the affected people in Ukraine. They have our solidarity, our assistance and our support. We think of all those who fear for their family, friends and homeland. Among them are our fellow students, our colleagues. The scientific community in Ukraine has been severely affected, many students and scientists are in danger of their lives or are on the run. Together, we want to maintain the valuable exchange in art and science with Ukraine as best we can. Students and scientists should know that they are always welcome here in North Rhine-Westphalia.
North Rhine-Westphalia's scientific exchange with Russia has been valuable and enriching over many years. The war started by Russian President Putin cannot remain without consequences.
The universities in the state as well as the non-university research institutions of the state are called upon to critically examine existing scientific cooperations and relations with Russia and Russian institutions and to let them rest until further notice. New projects will not be started at the present time. This step is necessary and yet difficult. We know about those Russians - in Russia as well as here in Germany - who do not support the war against Ukraine started by the Russian president. Our sympathy and respect goes to them and especially to those students and scholars who have courageously spoken out against the war."