Berlin’s Humboldt University sued over Azerbaijan connection

FragDerStaat, a platform run by Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, has filed a lawsuit with the administrative against Berlin’s Humboldt University over its Azerbaijani connection.

For more than ten years, the Azerbaijani state financed a chair in “History of Azerbaijan” at the renowned Berlin Humboldt University (HU) through its German embassy. At the end of September, the controversial holder of the professorship at the Institute for Historical Studies, Eva-Maria Auch, ended her job.

Among other things, the HU Berlin gave in to the great criticism of the endowed chair, including from the university itself. The university’s Student Council called it a “lobby chair that aligns itself with the nationalist narratives of the authoritarian Aliyev regime.” 

“If the HU hopes that the dissolution of the chair will also end the debate about its connections to the authoritarian state, it was wrong. The university still does not want to publish the contract for the establishment of the chair, which has brought HU 100,000 to 150,000 euros annually since 2010. It can be viewed on the university premises, but the Azerbaijani embassy has objected to releasing the ‘diplomatic document’,” FragDerStaat said.

Therefore, with the support of the Society for Freedom Rights , it has filed a lawsuit against the HU with the administrative court, claiming that foundation contract is of course not a diplomatic document – and the HU is not a diplomatic representation – and transparency about teaching agreements should actually be in the interest of a democratic university.

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