University of Greifswald Awards Philipp Schwartz Fellowship to Dr. Maria Mayerchyk from Ukraine

Die Rektorin der Universität Greifswald (Prof. Riedel) überreicht der ukrainischen Wissenchaftlerin Dr. Mayerchyk eine Urkunde über ein Philipp-Schwartz-Stipendium
Award ceremony for Philipp Schwartz Fellowship (from left) Dr. Maria Mayerchyk, Rector Prof. Dr. Katharina Riedel © Jan Meßerschmidt, 2022

Dr Maria Mayerchyk is a Senior Research Scholar at the Ethnology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. In the past, she was a visiting scholar at Harvard University (USA), Lund University (Sweden), the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of South Florida (USA). Her research interests include decolonial option, queer and feminist epistemologies, East European studies, diaspora studies, History of ideas, and critical folklore studies. Dr Mayerchyk is the author and editor of ten books and special issues of scientific journals and has published numerous scientific papers. Her most recent book project caries the title ‘Genealogy of Erotic Folklore: Overcoming Modern Design of Sexuality’.

When presented with the Philipp Schwartz Fellowship, Dr Mayerchyk said: ‘It is an honour for me to become part of the academic community at the University of Greifswald. I am grateful to the Philipp Schwartz Initiative and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for this opportunity to continue my research and career in a dynamic academic environment.’ Dr. Mayerchyk hopes her research project will promote peace and justice. ‘Humanities might not look like an essential field of academic enquiry at a time of war. However, due to the underestimation of humanities during the last decades, the world has overlooked the emergence of new fascisms in Europe. Today, resistance to the new evil not only takes place on the battlefields but also in human minds. Humanities and critical thinking are crucially important for stopping the war. I hope my research project will contribute to peace and justice’

The university’s Rector, Prof. Riedel, considers the award of the fellowship certificate to be a particularly visible sign of the efforts being made by the University of Greifswald to support Ukrainian academics. However, she places this commitment in a broader context: ‘As a university, we stand up for academic freedom and democracy. For this reason, the University of Greifswald joined the international network ‘Scholars at Risk’ (SAR) in 2021, with the aim of making a substantial, local contribution in Greifswald and the surrounding region to support researchers at risk, regardless of their origin.’

‘Academic freedom and the privilege of being able to work in the academic sector under safe political and economic conditions are under threat all over the globe,’ adds Prof. Dr Cordelia Heß, the lead contact of the local SAR group. ‘The ‘Scholars at Risk’ network, which includes more than 500 academic institutions from all over the world, also helps not to forget those colleagues who have to live in conflict zones and are not currently in the media spotlight. In addition, the network provides a national and international framework for establishing better structural conditions to enable the intake of colleagues at risk. However, there is still a long way to go - from more funding programmes to more realistic selection criteria to support possibilities in the countries of origin.’

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was launched by the Alexander von Humboldt  Foundation together with the German Federal Foreign Office. It enables universities, universities of applied sciences, and independent research institutions to grant threatened researchers fellowships for research stays in Germany.

More than 350 scientists and scholars from almost 100 countries have been accepted as fellows at German research institutions through the Philipp Schwartz Initiative since 2015. The University of Greifswald already has a Philipp Schwartz Fellow from Belarus.