For Dr. Housamedden Darwish of Syria, "refugee" is a complex label that points to the enormous practical challenges and feelings of hopelessness associated with being forced to start over. But the opportunity to pursue his academic work at the University of Cologne has restored his hope.
Dr. Darwish explains, "I am not ashamed of being a refugee, but it is not easy to start a new life in a new country in which I am labeled a refugee. I was devastated when I left my country and became a refugee and lost every hope to get back to work at universities. IIE-SRF helped me to do so. I started my new academic journey here because of the IIE-SRF fellowship."
His research focuses on the misconceptions surrounding transcultural concepts, such as Orientalism and liberalism from the West and Shari’a and jihad from the Arab and Islamic world. Hosted by the University of Cologne's Department of Oriental Studies, Dr. Darwish is teaching a Master’s level course on political Islam and a second course on reading and contextualizing the Arabic language. He will soon begin his second IIE-SRF fellowship year at the university. He plans to publish his third book on Sadiq Jalal al-Azm, a prominent Syrian philosopher and human rights advocate, and continue to absorb the German academic culture by collaborating with colleagues and students.