The Corridors Fellowship offers young and established scholars from conflict-affected societies in the post-Soviet space the opportunity for a research stay at German Universities and Research Institutes. The program aims to facilitate academic exchange and to enhance dialogue and knowledge transfer. It strives to deepen practical cooperation between scholars from the South Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Germany and to support research with practical relevance. The fellowships usually have a duration of one month and are fully funded from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
In 2019, we provided four fellows from Moscow, Odessa and Tbilisi with the opportunity for one-month research stay at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena. The fellows used this opportunity to conduct their policy-relevant research, to contribute to the Corridors-Summer School, and to exchange with each other and with German scholars and experts. Tetyana Malyarenko from Odesa focused in her research on the lack of protection for individual human rights Donbas. She outlined opportunities how human rights protection and conflict management processes could be connected in Eastern Ukraine. Elena Levina from Moscow conducted her research on the related topic of civil society dialogue facilitation in protracted conflicts, with a focus on human rights protection in Eastern Ukraine. Her work was based on rich empirical data and an innovative methodological approach. Natia Chankvetadze and Georgi Kanashvili from Tbilisi explored in their work new opportunities and approached for engagement and conflict management in the protracted conflict around Abkhazia. The former explored the potential and limitations of cross-boundary trade in light of the Georgian policy initiative “A Step to a Better Future”. The later focused on the problematic situation for the population of the Georgian populated Gal/i region in Abkhazia and identified possible “Islands of Cooperation” between Tbilisi and Sukhum/i to improve conditions on the ground.
In 2018, we provided three fellows from Moldova/Transnistria and Russia the opportunity for a one-month research stay to Germany. During their joint research stay in Regensburg, Mihai Mogildea from Chisinau and Anatolii Dirun from Tiraspol explored the interdependencies between the protracted conflict around Transnistria and the domestic political and economic development in the region. During the fellowship, they actively used the opportunity for an intensive exchange, further cooperation, and gave a joint lecture at IOS. During the public lecture the fellows shared and discussed their perspective on the interdependencies between the protracted conflict and the economic and political development in the region. Our third 2018 Corridors Fellow was Alexey Gunya from Nalchik. During his research stay he continued and presented his research on ‘Local communities in the Caucasus between conflict and development. Furthermore, the fellowship was dedicated to explore and develop concrete ideas for further academic cooperation between the North Caucasus and Germany.
In 2017, three Corridors Fellowships were awarded to scholars from the South Caucasus. The one-month research stays provided the opportunity for joint learning, knowledge transfer and the further development of collaborative projects. With special emphasis, we addressed the topic of multi-lingual language education in conflict-affected regions. Corridors Fellows Rustam Anshba from Gudauta and Shalva Tabatadze from Tbilisi conducted their research on this highly important topic within the framework of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. Both argued, that education in conflict-affected regions can become a tool not only of segregation but also for positive change, especially in ethnically and linguistically diverse societies like Abkhazia.
Rustam Anshba argued that Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE) is a very effective education model that can preserve linguistic diversity and promote social inclusion. Analysing the current challenges of the education system in Abkhazia and exploring opportunities for improvement, he argued that MTB MLE in Abkhazia can contribute to overcoming many existing educational challenges and linguistic and as ethnic tensions.
Shalva Tabatadze outlined the positive effects of mother tongue education and bilingualism in conflict-affected societies. He identified major shortcomings in the field of mother tongue education in Abkhazia and argued in favour of a developmental approach to education that supports non-discriminative MTB MLE for all ethnic groups. This approach should be supported in the international community to increase the quality of education and the linguistic tolerance in the region.