International Cooperation in Higher Education against Racism and Discrimination

Global partnerships against racism and for a university education and research environment that is diverse, inclusive and just

As an international university, the University of Konstanz maintains many long-standing relationships with partner institutions around the world – linked by bilateral contracts, state programmes or international university networks.

Our goal is to provide higher education and research that is diverse and inclusive while providing all students, researchers and staff equal opportunities.

This is exactly what our international collaborations focus on:
– Working to combat discrimination because of nationality, ethnicity or religion
– Strengthening international exchange through collaboration in the fields of teaching, research and administration
– Actively contributing to greater diversity and tolerance among students, researchers and staff at the University of Konstanz as well as our guests from around the world.

Both our mission statement and our Code of Practice on Diversity embrace the importance of having a diverse mix of members and promote an organizational and research culture that is free of discrimination, providing all our members the best possible options to pursue their goals. In the European Reform University Alliance (ERUA), a joint project with four partner universities that was successful in the European University Initiative, the University of Konstanz works to create shared structures in which diversity and tolerance play a key part.

International student mobility

A considerable number of students enrolled at the University of Konstanz take part in an international mobility programme: About 40% of students spend some part of their studies abroad (586 outgoing students in the 2018/2019 academic year). The University of Konstanz is also an attractive destination for many international students from neighbouring countries and around the world (387 incoming students in the 2018/2019 academic year).

We are convinced that the large number of mobile students and the corresponding contributions made by the departments and the International Office are now, more than ever, of key importance for international collaboration. The experiences of getting to know something new and being immersed in different cultures – part of each period spent abroad – give participants new perspectives and build the basis for a culture of mutual respect and appreciation.

In workshops promoting intercultural competencies, Konstanz-based students get to prepare for their exchanges and reflect on their experiences afterwards. The focus is on building awareness for cultural differences in the academic, research and everyday contexts and to promote critical examination of one's own cultural background as well as the resulting expectations and potential prejudices.

Another example is the student initiative IstKon that has made it possible for students from the University of Konstanz and Marmara University in Istanbul to get in touch during annual events promoting intercultural experiences as well as exchange at the academic and interpersonal levels.

More information about incoming and outgoing student mobility at the University of Konstanz

Inclusive internationality

The map of Konstanz partners worldwide has a visible geographic pattern: Collaboration with universities and research institutions in western Europe, North America and parts of Asia are particularly intensive, while there are almost no such connections in the Global South: Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

For a variety of reasons, internationalization at the University of Konstanz has been quite selective. Partner institutions were not chosen based on strategic decisions nor were they the result of purely random individual choices. Instead, this map of partners is the result of years of growing connections that have been shaped by individual interests, the existence of funding instruments, political will, as well as stereotypes and biases.

In light of this situation and in keeping with the strategy of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, the University of Konstanz has been working for years to establish and expand study and research contacts specifically in regions where there had previously been little or no contact. This especially includes the least-developed countries (LDCs) as well as the ACP countries (Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific regions). Initial results of this strategic re-orientation are evident in new partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The goal is to establish a worldwide network of scientific and cultural dialogue that takes place on an equal footing and that everybody benefits from in the areas of research, teaching, science and study.

More information about the debate on selective and inclusive internationalization

Social responsibility of internationally connected universities

We can only meet the global challenges of the future if we collaborate around the world in the areas of science and research. The University of Konstanz embraces its responsibility for society. Consequently, transfer as well as social responsibility activities are seen as the strategic goal of the university's internationalization measures.

Transfer projects and service learning already play a central role at the University of Konstanz and will be expanded further in order to give both international students in Konstanz and Konstanz-based students at partner institutions abroad more opportunities to connect practical teaching with social responsibility in community projects supported by the respective universities.

The University of Konstanz runs competency-building projects in Ecuador, the Ukraine and elsewhere that promote equal opportunities, leadership and empowerment.

The new collaboration with the University of Cuenca in Ecuador is supported through a three-year BWS Plus Project. It includes exchanges for students and interns and focuses on three areas to promote competency-building in university education:

– The transversality of gender approach in education curricula at the University of Cuenca
– Higher education and gender at the University of Cuenca: current situation and perspectives
– Structures of internationalization

The goal for both partner universities is to learn from each other and to develop the universities' organizational structures further.

At the local level, too, the university plays an active role. Together with the city of Konstanz, we are creating a concept in the context of the project "Konstanz Internationale Stadt" to promote:
- an inclusive and diverse community
- the integration and participation of persons with a migrant background depending on their milieu and life-stage (refugees, newer and well-established immigrants, international students and researchers, international professionals, etc.)
- social cohesion in the community.

The city of Konstanz's press release (in German) provides more detailed information about the project that is supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg's funding programme "Integration vor Ort – Stärkung kommunaler Strukturen".

For all questions relating to international university collaboration, please contact the Vice Rector for International Affairs, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Professor Dorothea Debus, the departmental coordinators and internationalization officers or the International Office.