International solidarity and friendship, an exchange of ideas and insights as well as critical discourse are necessary.
The Federal Association of International Students (BAS) declares its solidarity with the Easter marches in many German cities. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which is contrary to international law, has led to a new break in international cooperation in Europe. This war is just one example of countless international conflicts. For 21 years, BAS has stood for a peaceful and positive understanding of international and intercultural cooperation. In the coalition agreement, the government of the “Ampel” promised a turnaround in immigration policy, but so far it has mainly implemented projects such as rearmament (100 billion euros in special funds for the Bundeswehr) and global polarisation (through sanctions and arms deliveries). Neither of these is compatible with the turnaround in immigration policy promised by the current government, since a welcome policy includes not only a reform of the Residence Act and the introduction of new visa issuing regulations, but also an anti-militarist and cooperation-oriented foreign policy.
On the one hand, successful internationalisation is inextricably linked to the demand for peace. On the other hand, social actors have a responsibility to pave the way for cultural and scientific cooperation even in times of war and not to leave scorched earth in practice and rhetoric. In addition to the comprehensive support of refugees from Ukraine and the universities and students in Ukraine, contact must also be sought with progressive forces in Russia that are active against the war of aggression and Russian students and academics, who are partially persecuted and restricted in their academic freedom, as well as progressive organisations in Russia, in order to make a peaceful tomorrow possible on the one hand and to offer those threatened a way out on the other.
We would like to remind the federal government and all relevant socio-political actors that Germany in particular has a responsibility to oppose any escalation of international conflicts. The strongest guarantee against war and xenophobia is intercultural exchange and critical scientific cooperation. Therefore, it must be remembered that the most important reason for the internationalisation of universities and academic exchange is not to attract potential professionals, but rather international solidarity and friendship, an exchange of ideas and knowledge, and critical discourse.
This is what the Federal Association of International Students stands for as a democratic self-organisation of international students, because “It is easy to take to the streets for peace, but much harder to do it without enemy images”.