Frederic Guillaume Gass Quintero, doctoral student at the University of Erfurt, will be awarded the DAAD Prize for Outstanding Foreign Students and Doctoral Students in 2021. The prize is awarded annually by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and enables DAAD member universities to honour foreign students or doctoral students for special commitment. Due to his outstanding academic achievements, the Max-Weber-Kollege nominated Gass Quintero for the award.
Since 2019, the native Colombian has been a doctoral student at the Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt. He is working on a project on "The experience of state violence and the making of a political opposition. An ethnographic case study from Colombia". He is using social science and ethnographic methods to investigate the peace process in Colombia. Specifically, he uses participant observation to study a group of civil society organisations in Bogota in order to understand the social mechanisms underlying civil engagement in anti-violence campaigns and the formation of civil society coalitions in the context of a highly polarised society.
However, the peace process in Colombia does not only drive Gass Quintero in theory, but also occupies him in his non-academic engagement. For example, in spring 2019 he participated in the call for a transnational report to the International Criminal Court (The Hague) regarding the systematic murder of human rights defenders in Colombia. He prepared a letter and petition document signed by Colombian parliamentarians, which he then delivered in person at a meeting at the Bureau du Procureur at the ICC in The Hague. He met with European parliamentarians in Brussels to denounce the human rights crisis in Colombia and participated in a meeting with the Free Lula da Silva Committee at the Assemblee Nationale, France, in the summer of 2019. During this meeting, he formulated a request for an official visit by French parliamentarians to Lula da Silva in prison. In the same year, he filed a complaint against the murder of indigenous activists in Colombia at the United Nations and was also able to arrange a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva between two Colombian human rights activists and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the United Nations. But even beyond that, Frederic Guillaume Gass Quintero has been involved in many activities aimed at organising the Colombian migrant community abroad.
Currently, the 29-year-old is working on the results of his field research in Colombia for his dissertation, which is being done in cooperation with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris under a Cotutelle agreement. He has now been honoured for his outstanding academic achievements and great commitment.
Also nominated for the DAAD award this year were Hubert Hager, competitive athlete and student at the Faculty of Education, and Kyaw Si Th, one of the winners at the Commitment Award 2020 and student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt.
"We are proud of our international students and doctoral candidates," says a delighted Prof. Dr. Beate Hampe, Vice President for International Affairs at the University of Erfurt. "In addition to their commitment and achievement, they bring wonderful diversity to our campus, from which we as a university can only benefit."