Birthday wishes from all over the world from our former PhD students


Dr. Elena Refec
IFSH was the place in my life that has had the greatest impact on my academic development. During my Master's and subsequent doctoral studies, I learned the art and importance of scientific work. As one of the few research institutions in Germany with a research focus on Central Asia, CORE/IFSH was the best place for me to scientifically substantiate my empirical knowledge about this region. The almost six years at IFSH were challenging, but also motivating and supportive. I like to remember the open doors spirit and the many opportunities and spaces for discussing, questioning and reflecting. Much of what was self-evident for most fellow students was a discovery journey for me since I had a different academic background. Scientific work at IFSH required a complete rethinking of what I had learned before. I was able to achieve this thanks to the support and patience of my supervisors, colleagues and fellow students. Long standing friendships developed and evolved this way over the years. I wish IFSH to remain a supportive academic home for the future students and doctoral candidates, including those from the Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

Dr. Azam Isabaev
During my time at IFSH, I developed both intellectually and personally. Scientific supervision, colloquia, workshops and academic exchange were always organised in informative, friendly and trustworthy manner. Different research topics were always subject to critical and constructive discussions. It is precisely this diversity of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that was one of the special features of the IFSH as a place of knowledge that not only provides explanations, but also a deeper understanding of the genesis of conflicts and the ways to their peaceful and sustainable solution. Another outstanding feature of the IFSH, which in my opinion was fundamental, was its team. I was very fortunate to have colleagues by my side whose academic and friendly support was extremely important for my scientific advancement. The atmosphere at IFSH was particularly pleasant, which promoted both productive research and trusting collegiality. With sincere gratitude and many great memories, I congratulate IFSH on its 50th anniversary and wish all the best to its team. I hope it will continue to exist as an exemplary institution of excellent research and knowledge-transfer as well as a unique place for international, friendly and mutually enriching gatherings.

Dr. Azamat Temirkulov
IFSH - 50th anniversary! This is 50 years of research experience and practical benefits not only for Germany and Europe, but also for many other countries of the world, including my homeland Kyrgyzstan. These are thousands of students and alumni all over the world, including myself. Numerous research projects, recommendations, alumni and the OSCE Academy in my home city of Bishkek, this is all that was created by the IFSH team, here, 6 thousand kilometers away from Hamburg. For me personally, IFSH is the opening of the road to a larger professional activity. IFSH's Diploma of Doctor in Political Science, which occupies the most honorable place on my office wall, has changed my life, opening up many new opportunities for me. IFSH gave me knowledge and a document that became a reliable support for further personal and professional growth. But IFSH for me is not only a highly professional team of specialists, but also a friendly team of kind and responsive people with whom I am glad to maintain warm friendly relations to this day. IFSH just values people. IFSH’s staff knows that behind every their product, there are not just issues of peace and security, but also real people. Taking this opportunity, I thank IFSH and all its employees with whom I was lucky not only to work together, but also to become friends! I wish IFSH team further success!

Dr. Elena Kropatcheva
I spent over 20 years at the IFSH – as an MA student, as a PhD student and as a researcher. These years have shaped my professional development to a great extent. Not only I have become a Russian foreign policy expert, I have also acquired valuable interdisciplinary skills, which are useful in any other career I decide to pursue. The IFSH has also played an important role in my personal development, since throughout these years I have worked with so many great colleagues.  I especially like to look back at interesting debates on different theoretical issues and on urgent crises and hot political topics, which always took place in a very open atmosphere at the IFSH. I also liked the informal debates at the IFSH’s old kitchen in Falkenstein on various topics, which had a unique and very special atmosphere. The IFSH also means very thorough research and high quality standards in research and teaching. I wish IFSH next 50 successful years, with lots of interesting projects and lots of funding, but also the ability to influence policy makers with a wise and well-researched expertise and advice.

Prof. Dr. David Aprasidse

I first found myself here in 1999 as a Baudissin fellow, participating in an exchange program for Eastern European security sector representatives. The program involved researchers, military and civilian officials with an already distinguished carrier path. I was one of the youngest participants, making my very first insecure steps as a researcher. But the institute embraced me warmly, and after completing the program, I became a doctoral student at the University of Hamburg. So I continued my several-year journey with the IFSH. I successfully completed my studies because of the experience and knowledge that the institute gave to me. I am also grateful to many people that supported me in each step. Their names would make a long list, but I will always remember each of them. I am now a full professor at one of the leading universities in my native homeland Georgia and have held various high positions in the public sector and university management. I have been a Fulbright researcher in the US and a visiting lecturer in various European universities. But my first steps are bound to IFSH – my dissertation, first international publication, and most importantly, the feeling to consider myself as a part of the IFSH family. Congratulations, dear IFSH, to all your former and current fellows - do these great deeds for a long time.