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Scholarships for Kurdistan Region at European Forum Alpbach 2016

The deadline for applying for a European Forum Alpbach scholarship is over! Thank you very much for the numerous applications!

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Austria is very pleased to announce a special scholarship program, offered by the European Forum Alpbach (EFA), the leading platform for academic exchange of ideas in Austria, for students from the Kurdistan Region.

The scholarship program’s purpose is to allow motivated university students from the Kurdistan Region to participate at the European Forum Alpbach 2016. More specifically, EFA will offer up to 9 scholarships for 2016, which include participation, accommodation and daily allowances for the entire duration of the Forum taking place from August 17th – September 2nd 2016 on the topic “New Enlightenment”. The call for applications will open at the beginning of February and close on March 31st 2016, while the European Forum Alpbach itself will select scholarship holders in April 2016 and notify them about the results.

We are convinced that this offer is an excellent chance to enable talented, young people to participate in a unique environment of open and critical debate. Moreover, in difficult times like the present, young people in Kurdistan-Iraq could particularly profit from this opportunity.

Application process and documents


The complete application must be scanned and sent to by 30 March 2016.

    • About European Forum Alpbach

The European Forum Alpbach (EFA) is an interdisciplinary platform for science, politics, business and culture. Established in 1945, the annual European Forum Alpbach and its events throughout the year address the relevant socio-political questions of our time.

EFA connects international decision-makers from all sectors of society with an interested audience and committed young people. The goal of EFA is to create a dialogue across the generational, ideological and other lines of divide.

Every year, more than 5.000 people from over 60 countries come together in Alpbach to experience the unique atmosphere.

Brochure: Alpbach Moments 2015

Video: My Europe – A Village. 70 Years Forum Alpbach

    • European Forum Alpach 2016: “New Enlightenment”

      In summer 2016, the European Forum Alpbach will take on the topic “New Enlightenment”.

      Dates 2016

      August 17 to 23, 2016: Seminar Week and Summer Schools
      August 20 to 21, 2016: Tyrol Day and Opening of the new Congress Centre
      August 21 to 23, 2016: Health Symposium
      August 24 to 25, 2016: Higher Education Symposium
      August 25 to 27, 2016: Technology Symposium
      August 28 to 30, 2016: Political Symposium
      August 28 to 30, 2016: Legal Symposium
      August 30 to September 1, 2016: Economic Symposium
      September 1 to September 2, 2016: Built Environment Symposium & Financial Market Symposium

      New Enlightenment ahead

      The tools for thought of the Enlightenment, above all rationality, no longer suffice for mastering the challenges of the present. The course European societies are taking can be compared to the exploration journeys of bygone days. Maps, which ought to provide orientation and security, seem to have lost their value. We are journeying into the uncertain and have yet to discover new paths and routes in many areas.The situation two hundred and fifty years ago, at the time of Kant, Rousseau and Voltaire, was very different. The Enlightenment was the great intellectual project of a self-confident Europe in her prime. The Industrial Revolution, revolutionary discoveries in science and the development of human rights emerged from it. Generations later we could still witness the effects of the light and dark sides of the Enlightenment. A century of European intellectual and geopolitical dominance was the result.

      At present, the dream of the universality of Enlightenment values has been exhausted. Today, European ideals have to compete on the global market just as our products, goods and services do. Is it at all possible globally to preserve the gains made by the Enlightenment, such as human rights? What role does Europe play in a multipolar world? How can it credibly represent its values? Is there a European model of the Welfare State which will be able to bear up next to competing American and Asian concepts?

      New Tools for Thought

      Dealing with complexity has become the central question of the 21st century. While technocracy is falling at the hurdles of complex systems and insecurity, we adhere to these old ways of thinking. And that although recent discoveries in neuroscience, neurolinguistics and behavioural psychology have fundamentally questioned the Cartesian conception of man. Today, we have to accept that increased awareness and rational understanding do not automatically lead to changes in behaviour. However, we will still require these in order to prevent a global environmental catastrophe. A social model based purely on consumption and growth is driving our planet to ruin.

      The Radicalism of the Enlightenment

      We still continue to underestimate the radicalism of the Enlightenment as a phenomenon in contemporary history and in the history of ideas, as well as the bravery of its actors. Enlightened thinking contained enormous social explosive force and many representatives of the movement had to work underground. Which are the theses facing resistance today, like the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers such as Diderot and Holbach did at that time? Which social models are being formed outside the mainstream? And who are the pioneers today establishing radical new organisational structures and cultural techniques, and consciously excluding themselves from learned templates? Decentralised organisational structures are enthusing a young generation of entrepreneurs. Open innovation processes are successfully placing in doubt the use of patented and protected knowledge. New business models are stirring up the markets. Cooperative movements and a focus on the common good are booming. Are these structures the first manifestations of a new enlightenment?

      Digitalisation – The Motor of the Upheaval

      At first, digitalisation and the internet were interpreted as a departure into a new epoch of the Enlightenment. Many expressed exalted hopes that participation and connection in the digital arena would bring about the final breakthrough for democracy and rationality. Access to knowledge and information alone would protect humanity from radicalisation and ideology: so ran the assumption. Whoever casts a glance over the global flashpoints of today will realise that a hyper-connected, global communication platform does not automatically lead to more peace and cooperation. Additionally, algorithm-driven, self-learning structures are developing their own dynamic which for many people is cause for some concern. This automatisation is penetrating the world of work and fundamentally changing the economy. The most recent advances in new, easily accessible technologies such as nano- and biotechnology have their own risks. At the same time, enormous technical possibilities being developed can be implemented to the benefit of all. Which form of public enlightenment do we need for this?

      Just as on every voyage of discovery, we are experiencing in every field how truths that were considered valid up until now are being questioned, re-interpreted and rebutted. From one day to the next, firmly held models in politics, economics and society are turning out to be obsolete. How can Europe orientate itself in times of upheaval and insecurity? Where are the intellectual beacons who can capture the new in words and deeds? Where are the utopias which would be worthy of a new Enlightenment? We will hunt for the answers to these questions together with hundreds of people from all generations, disciplines and regions under the general topic of “Enlightenment” at the European Forum Alpbach 2016.

    • Scholarship Programme

      The European Forum Alpbach believes in the spirit and innovative ideas of young individuals which is why it enables talented young people to immerge in a unique environment of open and critical debate. As such, the EFA offers a generous scholarship program of over 700 spots to students from all over the world to participate in its forum.

      Aside from their critical spirit and contributions to the discussions, they also organize an entertaining and challenging social program and are involved in the bodies and advisory boards of the Forum via the FAN Forum Alpbach Network. It is of particular importance for the Forum to actively involve dedicated young people and to make them spread the “Spirit of Alpbach“ into the world.

      The most important facts on the scholarship programme for students from Kurdistan:

      Scholarship:            • Up to nine full scholarships for the forum 2016

       • Scholarships cover costs of participation, accommodation and daily allowances worth €1,300/person for the duration of the entire forum

      Application period:  1 February – 31 March 2016

      Selection of scholarship holders: The scholarship holders will be selected in April 2016 by EFA and contacted subsequently.

      FAQs on the EFA scholarship programme

    • Travel to Austria

      Travel expenses from Kurdistan to Austria are not covered by the scholarship programme.

      The easiest way to get to Austria from the Kurdistan Region is by plane with Austrian Airlines, which offers six flights a week between Erbil and Vienna. Another option is flying with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.

      Participants from Kurdistan will need a Shengen visa. The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Austria is glad to assist in this respect.

Please take notice that this page is being updated on a regular basis. If you are interested in the scholarship programme, we recommend to check this page once a week to receive the most current information.