IU celebrates 40-year partnership with Universität Hamburg

Indiana University and Universität Hamburg are celebrating their 40-year partnership with an exchange of experts and special lectures.

Representing Hamburg in Bloomington will be Jannis Androutsopoulos, professor of linguistics at the Institute for Linguistics and the Institute of Media and Communications at Universität Hamburg. Androutsopoulos is a noted linguist with a special interest in the challenges that YouTube, Facebook and other social and digital media create for traditional linguistics study.

He will speak on "Responding to Online Hate: How digital journalists interact with commenters in German social media" from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Indiana Memorial Union Faculty Room. The event will be co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lee J. Alston, Ostrom Chair, professor of economics and law, and director of the Ostrom Workshop at IU, provided IU's contribution to the anniversary celebration in Hamburg with a lecture in May addressing the question "Why isn't the whole world rich and democratic?" He described how changes in leadership, beliefs and other events influence the trajectories of countries around the globe.

"Indiana University has been very fortunate to have such a strong partnership with Universität Hamburg, one of the greatest research universities in Germany," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "Global partnerships like ours with Universität Hamburg support our long-term commitment to global engagement through first-rate scholarship and research, to expanding overseas study opportunities for our students and to the promotion of greater international understanding."

IU faculty have opportunities for research exchanges in a variety of fields including journalism, linguistics, gender studies, law, counseling, and social and behavioral sciences. The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs provides travel funds for research and creative activities in locations around the world. IU Gateway Offices in China, India, Mexico and Europe, with offices planned in Thailand and South Africa, can help with local contacts, meeting and office space, and other support services.

"It is exciting to celebrate our longstanding relationship with Universität Hamburg, which has given us many opportunities to support students and faculty through cultural, academic and research exchanges over the years," said Hannah Buxbaum, IU's vice president for international affairs. "I hope that our universities will mark many more anniversaries in the future."

In addition to giving a universitywide lecture when he visited Hamburg in May, Alston also sat down with experts in his field and used Hamburg's scholars as a sounding board for his future research.

He was also able to reconnect with longtime colleague Stefan Voigt, chair of economic analysis of law at Hamburg. They are currently exploring opportunities to expand connections and bring graduate students from Universität Hamburg to the Ostrom Workshop.

"I felt quite honored to be asked to do this," Alston said. "And they were very welcoming on their end as well."

Gabriel Popescu, associate professor of geography in the Department of Political Science at IU South Bend, also traveled to Hamburg last summer for his research focused on migration of refugees to Europe and the Hamburg region.

"I wanted to reach some of these refugees and establish contacts with other colleagues at Universität Hamburg and together find interview subjects among the refugees," Popescu said. "My one month stay at Universität Hamburg was extremely beneficial to my research because it provided me with an excellent venue to conduct the research. What is more, the exchange program offered me the flexibility and timeliness that this specific research required. Migration flows picked up in late 2015, and in summer 2016, I was able to be in Universität Hamburg to study them."

For researchers like Popescu and Alston, the IU-Universität Hamburg partnership continues to prove the value of international networks. It also brings IU closer to the rest of the world.

"As the world is kind of fracturing, it's a good thing to know that's not true of universities," Alston said.