We are a group of about 50 persecuted and/or exiled scientists, enthusiastic learners and dreamers of a different education system. Some of us have come to Germany from Turkey as a result of the recent political developments; others have been working here for years. In Off-University, we aim to bring together people and institutions that share a commitment to global peace as a defining ideal and the vision of a less hierarchical, more democratic and free academia.
Off-University creates new strategies to uphold and sustain academic life and knowledge threatened by anti-democratic and authoritarian regimes. It was established for and by academics from Turkey yet addresses itself to academics all over the world: academics who have been purged from their institutions, forced to resign, who are legally and politically persecuted and even imprisoned because of their opinion and research.
Located in Germany, Off-University offers researchers and students with limited opportunity to move around freely an occasion to participate in online education. Off-University combines the good old ideal of academic freedom with state of the art digital communication and collaboration opportunities. Off-University’s mission is based on its commitment to peace in the world and to living together in diversity. It therefore seeks to develop emancipatory education-research activities that are less hierarchial and more democratic.
A first milestone of Off-University research collaboration was the ‘Tough Questions about Peace’ online conference in October 2017. More than 10,000 active participants were involved in the discussions during the conference. In the second phase, we will develop a distant learning program that includes people from all parts of the world who have been forced to give up their work, research or studies due to war or political persecution.
In the long run, we dream of creating a Peace University that combines in-class and digital educational settings.
Off-University is a registered non-profit association under German Law since May 2017.