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  • War in Ukraine

    Information about the conflict and contact points for refugees

    Campus der Universität Bielefeld
    © Universität Bielefeld

Information for Refugees

Ukrainian students and researchers welcome!

The aim of Bielefeld University is to support all peoples on their further educational path - whether currently from Ukraine, Belarus, Afghanistan or any other country. Please get in touch with our contact points in the International Office:

The International Office additionally offers a Daily Service Desk:

Monday-Friday: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Location: Service Desk of the International Office in the Info Point.

Programme for Ukrainian Students and Researchers

More information about the programme.

Statement by the Rectorate on the war in Ukraine / Заява ректорату університету про війну в Україні / Заявление ректората университета о войне в Украине

We are deeply saddened by the news reaching us from Ukraine. It is depressing that another war is taking place on European soil. Our thoughts are with the people - among them many students and scientists. 

Link to full statement of the rectorate

Ми глибоко вражені новинами, які доходять до нас з України. Пригнічує те, що на європейській землі знову відбувається війна. Наші думки з людьми – серед яких також багато студентів і науковців.

на повну заяву ректорату

Мы глубоко потрясены новостями, которые доходят до нас из Украины. Удручает, что на европейской земле вновь происходит война. Наши мысли с людьми - среди них много студентов и научных сотрудников.

к полному заявлению ректоратa

Current Updates

Dear Students, dear Colleagues,

In March, we notified you that Bielefeld University had provided its Sports Hall to the City of Bielefeld to use as emergency accommodations for Ukrainian refugees. After the city requested to use this space, it was quickly retrofitted and set up for this purpose. However, the space has not yet been used. The City of Bielefeld has now informed us that it no longer needs our Sports Hall as potential emergency accommodations. They expressed their sincere gratitude for our university’s quick response and straightforward cooperation. We are happy to pass on these words of thanks to you as well, because many of you got in touch after our call for support and wanted to help – many of you donated to the cause. As a result of this decision, the Department of Sports Science relocated its courses to other classrooms. At this time, all university students and employees only have access to a reduced range of university sports offerings. We were very proud to see this display of commitment and willingness to deal with limitations!

At the beginning of March, the city government was reacting to a new and emerging development and set of needs. Things look different today, and we understand this.

Anyone who was able to take a look at the converted Sports Hall will understand why we are not angry that our offer was ultimately not used. Our city’s refugees are certainly better off in other accommodations that can provide more privacy. It is good that such emergency accommodations are only used in emergency situations.

The Uni Sports Hall will be converted back to an athletics space and will be available again to the university community.

Many of you donated – toys in particular. We will pass along these donations to a private volunteer initiative spearheaded by Jutta Küster, who is an alumna of Bielefeld University and an active member of board of the university’s graduate network. She is working with members of the Rotary Club in Bielefeld to collect and distribute donations, especially to Ukrainian families who transition from emergency accommodations to apartments. Ms. Küster is well connected in the Bielefeld volunteer network and is in touch with the city government. Thanks to Ms. Küster, the donations are getting into the hands of the people for whom they were intended: refugees from Ukraine in Bielefeld. We hope that you are in agreement with this.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Sports Science and colleagues from the Department of Facilities Management once again for their outstanding efforts.

Best regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

To the members of our university community,

Last week, we informed you that Bielefeld University was in the process of turning the Sports Hall in the Main University Building into emergency accommodations for refugees from Ukraine. The preparations and construction needed for this were able to be completed very quickly, and it will now be run by the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund aid agency (ASB, Workers’ Samaritan Foundation). Many thanks to the Department of Facility Management for its efforts here.

In response to our last email, we received an incredible number of donations of supplies and concrete offers to help. On behalf of all those involved, we would like to thank you for your tremendous willingness and commitment to help.  We would also like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the Studierendenwerk (Association for Student Affairs), which immediately took on the role of supplying food.

Operations at these emergency accommodations are expected to begin shortly, providing refuge for approximately 160 refugees from the war in Ukraine, some of whom before and during their escape experienced trauma and suffered greatly. During their stay here, they will be part of our campus community. We see it as our responsibility to make the circumstances of their stay and life here as peaceful, safe, and uncomplicated as possible, and to fully accommodate them, in every sense of the word, wherever possible. This includes the following points:

  • Companion animals will also be taken in with the refugees staying with us. In times of crisis, pets provide important emotional support and continuity, especially for children. As you know, pets are generally not allowed inside university premises. Refugees are exempted from this rule. We are sure that you will have understanding for this.
  • Before being admitted into the emergency accommodations, all refugees will be tested for COVID-19 to keep the risk of infection on campus as low as possible. In addition to testing, vaccinations will also be available.
  • Campus dining services from the Studierendenwerk will also be available to refugees.

The following continues to apply: if you want to help, please get in touch with – let them know how you want to help, what your availability is, and how they can reach you (telephone/email address). Staff from the Department of Facility Management will then collect and forward these offers to the ASB. Ukrainian, Russian, and English language skills are especially helpful.

It will become clearer in the coming weeks whether further specific needs will arise beyond those mentioned here. We will keep you updated and informed. You can also find additional helpful information on the university’s homepage for the Ukraine crisis, including background information on the war and the impact it is having. We thank you again for your support.


Kind regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor


To the members of our university community,

The humanitarian catastrophe of the war in Ukraine and the suffering it has caused are now also being felt here in Bielefeld. To date, almost 2,500 refugees have sought safety in our city, and more are arriving every day. Bielefeld residents’ willingness to help has been impressive, but the sheer number of people seeking refuge is also posing a significant organizational challenge for municipal and social institutions.

The municipal government of Bielefeld has now asked Bielefeld University to turn the Uni Sports Hall in the Main University Building into emergency accommodations for refugees. After consulting with the Department of Sports Science, we of course agreed to this. We see it as our responsibility to support these vital actions wherever possible. The Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund aid agency [ASB, Workers’ Samaritan Foundation] has taken responsibility for planning, construction, and operations. Work has already been started today, and at the beginning of the week, we expect that the first refugees ­– ­ mainly women and children – ­will be housed in the Uni Sports Hall. We do not yet know how many people will ultimately be accommodated here.

At the moment, we anticipate that the municipal government of Bielefeld will need the Sports Hall through the end of the summer semester.

We are very grateful to the Department of Sports Science for sharing in this decision. The Department will now will adjust its summer semester planning and course offerings. Be assured that students studying sports science will not be disadvantaged by this ­and will be able to continue progressing in their studies without delay. We thank students, faculty, and department leadership in advance for the flexibility that will surely be needed for this. We also ask for understanding that not everything might go smoothly at first. The Department of Sports Science will soon contact their students and instructors directly with more information.

Unfortunately, this decision will entail some cutbacks to the range of university sports offerings.

The Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund welcomes every helping hand it can get. Volunteers can already help this weekend to get these emergency accommodations set up, and next week, volunteers are also needed to help care for refugees. Ukrainian, Russian, and English language skills are especially helpful here. Those who want to get involved should get in touch with – let them know how you want to help, what your availability is, and how they can reach you (telephone/email address). Staff from the Department of Facility Management will then forward these contacts to the ASB.

Do you want to donate? Toys for children that are complete and in good condition are especially needed. Other donated supplies can be dropped off at the University Poststelle [Mail Room] in Room T7 217. The ASB is requesting that no clothing be donated at this time.

The exact nature of these challenges will become clearer in the coming days, and we will be in touch with further information. Current information and context for understanding Bielefeld University’s response towards the war in Ukraine is available here.

Thank you very much for your support.


Kind regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Colleagues,

The war in Ukraine is a humanitarian catastrophe that has resulted in the suffering of millions of people. Our thoughts are with those affected by this conflict. But the war is also having profound implications for us all, including the academic community. Here we will focus on our relationship with Russia, among other topics.

Bielefeld University has suspended its cooperation with Russian and Belarusian universities. Institutional and strategic associations with Russian institutes have been put on hold. Funding has been frozen and new projects will not be started.

Academic inquiry and scientific work thrive on diversity and personal contact with colleagues from around the world. This is one of the reasons why there has been long-standing exchange between researchers from Bielefeld University and Russia, and during this time of war, Bielefeld University still considers such individual exchange to be very important.

Many of our Russian colleagues are taking great personal risk by speaking out against the Russian government’s war of aggression. We stand in solidarity with researchers and students in Russia whose basic rights are being restricted. We will keep pathways open to Germany, especially for dissenting researchers and students. This can be done, for example, by taking in students and researchers as part of projects being conducted here at Bielefeld University.

Scholarships for Russian students, and fellowships for Russian instructors and researchers already at Bielefeld University will continue to be funded. You are still very welcome here. You are a vital part of our university community.

We must reiterate, however, that there will be no exchange with officials from Russian universities or joint events with Russian institutional partners until further notice.

In doing so, we aim to strike a balance between keeping connections open and sending a clear political message.

Kind regards,

The Rectorate of Bielefeld University

Уважаемые дамы и господа, дорогие коллеги -

Война в Украине – гуманитарная катастрофа, приносящая страдание миллионам людям.

Мы солидарны с теми, кого затронула война. Она коснулась, в числе прочего, и научного сотрудничества. Сегодня мы хотим в этой связи сказать о наших связях  с Россией.

Университет Билефельда приостановил сотрудничество с русскими и белорусскими высшими учебными заведениями. Институциональное и стратегическое партнерство с российскими научными и учебными организациями в настоящий момент прекращено – текущие проекты не финансируются, и новые не принимаются к рассмотрению.

Но наука живет только благодаря разнообразию личных контактов. Кооперация между учеными Университета Билефельда и их русскими коллегами имеет долгую и славную историю.  Наш университет считает важным продолжение этих индивидуальных контактов и в военное время. Мы помним о том, что многие наши русские коллеги принимают на себя большой риск, выступая против агрессии, предпринятой российским руководством.

Мы выражаем свою солидарность с русскими учеными и студентами, чьи конституционные права в настоящий момент  находятся под угрозой, и стремимся держать дверь открытой для тех, кто критически относится к данной ситуации. Сотрудничество, в частности, может происходить в рамках научных проектов, предпринимаемых в университете.

Стипендии для русских ученых и учащихся, которые уже работают и учатся в Университете Билефельда, будут, конечно, сохранены и продолжены. Их обладатели остаются законной, неотъемлемой частью нашего научного сообщества. Но контактов с официальными представителями российских университетов и совместных мероприятиями с  институциональными партнерами в ближайшее время не будет. Наша позиция – попытка сохранить равновесие между открытостью и четким политическим сигналом российскому руководству.

С наилучшими пожеланиями -

Ректорат Университета Билефельда.  

Dear Students and Staff Members,

We are all shocked and saddened by the war and recent events in Ukraine. Our sympathy and solidarity go out to the many people affected by this crisis. On Friday, February 25th, the Rectorate issued a statement on the situation.

Universities stand for diversity, freedom of opinion, peaceful discourse, academic freedom, and the fact-based dissemination of knowledge and information. In these challenging times, Bielefeld University can – and must – also take special responsibility for this.

For students and researchers fleeing from Ukraine, Bielefeld University would like to offer a place of refuge. We invite students to continue their studies and academics to continue their research here in Bielefeld. In making this offer, we draw upon our many years of experience in supporting refugees and helping them lay the foundation for a life here in Germany. We provide a comprehensive range of information and advisory services; for more information, please visit Do you know anyone who is fleeing the Ukraine – or who wants to? Let them know about what Bielefeld University has to offer.

Researchers, with their expertise and analyses, can also help us better understand this war and its consequences. In order to help make sense of the flood of news in recent weeks, Bielefeld University’s Rectorate and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) is organizing a panel discussion on March 7th at 7 pm. Panelists will consider a framework for understanding this as a war of aggression waged by the Russian military against the Ukraine, and discuss potential implications for global politics. Panelists will include Bielefeld researchers Prof. Dr. Frank Grüner (Eastern European history), Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache (political science) and Professor Dr. Andreas Zick (Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence), as well as Gabriele Woidelko (Körber Foundation) and Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse (Centre for Eastern European and International Studies). The discussion will be held in the assembly hall of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF). We ask that attendees sign up in advance because seating is limited. More information.

It is remarkable how much solidarity and support are being extended to the Ukrainian people. In addition to protests and demonstrations against the war, there are many private organizations that are working to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine. For those who want to help (by offering accommodations to refugees, making financial donations, etc.), the city of Bielefeld has put together information to help you get involved:

Mutual respect for one another is at the heart of our cooperation here at Bielefeld University. Students, researchers, and staff members from Russia continue to be welcome at Bielefeld University and are a valued part of our community.

Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.


With kind regards,

Prof. Dr. Angelika Epple,

Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Deputy for the Rector

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