Migration & Studies

After having fled their country of origin, many people experience a de-qualification in the new place. In their country of origin, they were studying or have already completed a degree. Once they arrive in Switzerland, they hope to be able to contribute their potential here. But universities and the qualified labor market remain poorly accessible. At the talk, several people share their experiences and take a look at the past and present of university access in Switzerland.

Input & Panel Discussion

When: Thursday, March 24, 2022, 7pm–9:30pm, networking & drinks afterwards

Where: «Kuppelraum» at the main building of the University of Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4

Language of the event: German, whispered translation in English possible (please let us know if whispered translation is needed)

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«Migration & Studies», March 24, 7pm at the Kuppelraum (Main Building Uni Bern)
«Migration & Studies», March 24, 7pm at the Kuppelraum (Main Building Uni Bern)

Conversation Participants

A half-hour input by Perspektiven – Studium and Marino Ferri will be followed by an open discussion with Asadullah Adib, Fatemeh, and Irena Brežna.

Asadullah Adib, Fatemeh and Irena Brežna
Asadullah Adib, Fatemeh and Irena Brežna

Asadullah Adib

Asadullah Adib is from Afghanistan. He arrived in Switzerland in 2015 and has been living in Bern since 2018. In the meantime, Asadullah has been studying German intensively and is currently attending a C1 course in Bern. This is because he would like to tackle a master's degree in geosciences in the near future. In Afghanistan, he already completed his bachelor's degree in geosciences.

Asadullah Adib in the video: «My bachelor's degree is recognized here.» (in german)


Fatemeh is studying law in Switzerland. During the asylum process, she applied for a place at the university and, after proving that she met the necessary requirements, was granted admission. This allowed Fatemeh to be enrolled as a law student. Education, Fatemeh says, saved her life. She is grateful to the University of Zurich for not denying her the right to education. She wants to tell the Swiss people that we must not take away anyone's right to education under any circumstances. 

Irena Brežná

Irena Brežná was born in Bratislava in 1950. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia she emigrated to Switzerland in 1968. She studied Slavic studies, philosophy and psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Basel. Today Irena Brežná works as a writer, journalist, war reporter, psychologist, interpreter, and human rights activist.

Ten of Irena's books have been published and translated into numerous languages. She has been awarded twelve prizes for journalism and literature, including the Zürcher Journalistenpreis 2000, the EMMA-Journalistinnenpreis, and the Theodor Wolff Prize 2002. For her novel «Die undankbare Fremde» she received the Schweizer Literaturpreis 2012, the Basler Kulturpreis 2021, and the Hermann Kesten Prize 2021 of the PEN Zentrum Deutschland. Recently, the book «Wie ich auf die Welt kam, In der Sprache zu Hause» was published. Irena is the mother of two grown sons and lives in Basel. More information about her: www.brezna.ch

Related links and information

This event is organized in cooperation with Perspectives – Studies. The organization advocates for university access for refugees throughout Switzerland.

The University of Bern is also committed in other ways to facilitating access to higher education for people with a migration or refugee background. The Open Lecture Hall allows participants to attend up to five courses per semester and provides them with mentors that accompany them through the daily life of a student.

This event is part of the 12th Action Week against Racism of the City of Bern. It will take place between March 19 and 26, 2022. Click here for the full program.

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