RUB Research School

Research Thought in an Interdisciplinary Way

Learn More on the Activities within the Sylff Mikrokolleg

February 2024

On 7 February, we celebrated the kick-off of the 3rd cohort of the Sylff Mikrokolleg. We warmly welcome the three new scholarship holders Selin Altay, Abdirahman Mahamud and Jack Provan! They presented their research projects during the meeting and discussed their approaches with the professors and associates present. In addition to these three research projects, former Sylff scholarship holder Sissy Katsoni and PhD canddiate Ronja Huesmann also presented their research. Read soon more about the research projects of Selin Altay, Abdirahman Mahamud and Jack Provan here.


Februar 2024

Out of a high number of international applications the Steering Committee of the Sylff Mikrokolleg chosed the three new fellowship holders. Get to know Jack Provan, Selin Altay and Abdirahman Muhamad and learn more about their research at the kick-off on February 7! Find more information here.

September 2023

Since September 2023, Jan-Philipp Graf is editor for the Yale Journal of International Law, Yale Law School.




May 2023

Spyridoula Katsoni gave a presentation titled ‘The (In)Significance of Operational Plans for the Determination and Apportionment of Shared Responsibility’ at the Members of the European Parliament Meeting held at the Parliament with the participation of various EU organs’ representatives and other interested stakeholders.

November 2022

Openning of the call for applications: Apply for a research grant and become a member of Sylff Mikrokolleg. As a researcher within the Mikrokolleg, you will be part of a highly interdisciplinary research cohort.



November 2022

Jan-Philipp Graf was invited speaker at ‘Humanity at the Center: An Evening on International Humanitarian Law’ (original title: ‘Der Mensch im Mittelpunkt: Das Humanitäre Völkerrecht’), University of Münster, 30 November 2022.


November 2022

From November 2022 to February 2023, UK Mong Marma gathered data on a second field research trip to Bangladesh.




November 2022

On November 17 and 18 the Sylff fellows Rafael Bohlen, Jan-Phillip Graf and Spyridoula Katsoni celebrated their international conference Gang-Induced Migration: Challenges and Perspectives from Social Science and International Law. Find the report here.


Oktober 2022

During their annual retreat, the membersof the Sylff Mikrokolleg learned about science communication and public engagement with Dr. Annette Klinkert. Our picture shows Sissy Katsoni, Jan-Phillip Graf and Sören Schneider illustrating the stakeholders involved in their research process by using methods of Gamestorming.


September 2022

Call for Presentation Proposals and Conference Announcement: The SYLFF Mikrokolleg on Forced Migration of Ruhr-University Bochum is welcoming presentation proposals and participant registrations for the ‘Gang-Induced Migration: Challenges and Perspectives from Social Science and International Law’ conference, which will take place at the Ruhr-University (in Bochum and online) on November 17-18, 2022. The conference will bring together academics and practitioners from the perspective of Social Science and International Law for an interdisciplinary discussion on the connection between gangs and forced migration. To submit a presentation proposal of up to 500 words (by October 16, 2022), to apply for a travel grant as a speaker or member of the UNIC Network, or to register as a participant, please use this registration form. Further information can be found in the detailed Call for Presentations and the event’s flyer. For questions, please refer to

September 2022

Spyridoula Katsoni gave a talk on "Sharing responsibility between states and protection-seekers for the sake on non-refoulement" at the Pre-Conference Workshop at the ESIL 2022 annual conference in Utrecht. The presentation revisited the States’ positive obligation to admit protection-seekers into their territory and highlighted that, in recent jurisprudence, protection-seekers have been excluded from the scope of this obligation on the sole ground of their attempt to irregularly enter the State, even in cases where access to legal means of entry was actually impossible. Against this background, it highlighted the significant role that the principles of shared responsibility can play in sharing the responsibility between States and protection seekers in such cases, leading to a fairer alternative than the absolute exclusion of protection seekers from the scope of the obligation to admit.

August 2022

From August 2022 to December 2022, Rafael Bohlen conducted a Research Stay (Internship) at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria. Learn more about his stay here.


October 2021

From October 2021 to April 2022, Rafael Bohlen conducted extensive field research in the United States. Based at the City University of New York (CUNY), he worked on the development of gangs and gang violence in the area. Read more here.

October 2021

The research of the Associate Benedikt Behlert has been made visible to a broader audience in RUB’s magazine RUBIN. Please find the article "Protected from the state" here.


October 2021

On October first, the members of the Sylff Mikrokolleg met for their all-day retreat at the Event Center. The morning was dedicated to interdisciplinary work with a short workshop on knowledge integration given by Olga Skrebec (FH Dortmund). In the afternoon, the participants then presented their research and used the opportunity for discussion.

September 2021

During winter term 2021/2022, Jan-Phillip Graf will be Visiting Doctoral Researcher at New York University Law School.



September 2021

The Sylff fellow Spyridoula Katsoni gave a talk at the pre-conference ESIL Workshop ''The Evolution of the Principle of Non-Refoulement in International Law: What Role for New Types of International Law-Making?'', organised by ESIL's Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law and on International Criminal Justice  in the context of the 2021 ESIL Annual Conference. Her presentation titled ' The Evolution of Non-Refoulement’s Positive Obligations' highlighted the gradual endorsement of positive non-refoulement obligations and the evolution of their content and scope. 

August 2021

Congratulations! The Sylff fellow Rafael Bohlen has been awarded a scholarship of approximately 12,000 euros from the Fulbright Commission for a 6-month research stay in the USA from November 2021 to April 2022.



June 2021

The Sylff Associate Mais Masadeh and Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries published an article on the Yazidi survivors of ISIS, at the Journal of Refugee Studies: "Similar History and Different Strategies of ‘Arrival’: Female Yazidi Survivors of the Islamic State in Germany". You can find it here.

May 2021

The Sylff fellow Spyridoula Katsoni gave a talk on ‘The Compatibility of Compulsory COVID-19 Vaccinations with the ECHR’ at ‘Vaccines and International Law’ Webinar hosted by the University of Milan for the students of the LLM programmes of International human rights law and humanitarian law.

December 2020

The associate Mais Masadeh published an article at the Journal of Humanitäres Völkerrecht: "IS-affiliated Children: A Ticking Pendulum Between Criminalization and Victimhood". You can find it here.

November 2020

The Sylff fellow Rafael Bohlen has obtained an International Realization Budget from the RUB Research School. He can thus dispose of a budget of 7,500 euros for his international research activities.

October 2020

During the kick-off of the second cohort, also the members of the first funding cohort and associate doctoral researchers of the Sylff Mikrokolleg on Forced migration presented their research.

September 2020

Welcome our new Sylff scholarship holders 2020! On October 27th,  Spyridoula Katsoni (International Law), Jan-Phillip Graf (International Law) & Rafael Bohlen (Sociology) presented their doctoral research on Forced Migration. 

April 2020

Using a Sylff Research Abroad (SRA) grant, Benedikt Behlert spent four months from September 2019 to January 2020 as a junior visiting fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, which proved to be highly beneficial for his PhD project on the administrative procedures required to protect human rights. Read more about his research experience in Geneva.

February 2020

The associate Mais Masadeh took part in an art competition at  the University of Leiden on the topic of 'Posters for Protected Persons'  in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions 1949.
Mais was awarded first place in the international competition. Her work along with others are printed in a calendar of best contributions. The competition’s aim was to raise awareness of International Humanitarian Law and the protections of civilians and non-combatants in armed conflict. For more information on the art work, competition and calendar, click here.

January - March 2020

The SYLFF associate Mais Masadeh launched an art exhibition aims to raise awareness on the migratory routes of refugees at home, in transit and at arrival. The exhibition concept ‘Die Reise’ – The Journey – was opened in January and lasted until March 16 this year, is composed of five original paintings depicting different crossing terrains: the Desert, the River, the Island, the Mountain, and the Indefinite. The work has been inspired by Mais’s PhD research and her previous working experience with refugees and internally displaced persons.

November 2019

The conference "Forced Migration in Transition: Perspectives from Social Science and Law", organised by the Sylff Fellows, took place from 14 to 15 November. Information on the programme, the four panels and the conference experts can be found here.

A detailed report by Corinna Land, Benedikt Behlert and Robin Ramsahye on the conference can be read here. Tomoko Yamaha from the Tokyo Foundation took the opportunity to see for herself the exciting work of the Fellows and visited the conference. You can read a report from the Tokyo Foundation's Sylff Association here.

October 2019

On October 1st, Keita Sugai from the Tokyo Foundation visited the RUB Research School. He took the opportunity to exchange ideas with Prof. Dr. Löwenstein, Dr. Christiane Wüllner and Dr. Sarah Gemicioglu on the design of the Sylff Mikrokolleg. At a meeting with fellow students and associates of the Kolleg, he learned more about the activities and the upcoming conferences, organized by the members of the Sylff-Mikrokolleg.

August 2019

Congratulations! Benedikt Behlert and UK Mong Marma raised additional funding by the Tokyo Foundation for their projects.

July 2019

The associate Mais Masadeh presented her research on the resilience of victims of war currently living in Germany, at the workshop  “Politics, Identities and Relationships in the Transatlantic World” which took place  at City University New York (CUNY)  between July 8-13 in NY.

The program was organized and funded by the Graduate Center of CUNY, The Ralph Bunche Institute, the EU Studies Center, and the RUB Research School Bochum. Lead by the Dean of the Faculty of History, Prof. C. Goschler and his counterpart Prof. J. Torpey, the director of the R. Bunche Institute,  the program focuses on leading a platform of transatlantic research cooperation and equip participants with recent academic and professional skills such as sharpening research ideas and identifying gaps in research through group discussions, publishing inside and outside academia, grant seeking and cultural nuances. Key speakers included Steven Sokol, the president of the American Council on Germany, Yvonne Rothschild, the Executive Director of the European-American Chamber of Commerce, Micah Kleit, the Director of the Rutgers University Press, and Anne Glusker the Deputy Editor of To ensure the continuity of this transatlantic cooperation, the sixth program-meeting will convene in July in 2020 welcoming researchers from American institutions and will take place at RUB.

June 2019

On June 4th, the Sylff associate Mais Masadeh along with Dr. Gedahus moderated a panel entitled “Was kommt nach der Flucht aus der ISIS-Sklaverei?”. The panel hosted two keynote speakers: Ms Salwa Rasho, a Yazidi human rights activist who was abducted by ISIS in 2014 along with thousands of Yazidi women and girls. She was able to escape the terrorist organization in 2015 and was resettled through a humanitarian program in Germany. Mirza Dinnayi, the founder of Luftbrüke Irak, a non-profit organization aims to assist victims of war from Irak to be treated in German hospitals. The panelists shared experiences from their lives during ISIS siege of parts of Kurdistan, challenges of humanitarian aid in the region, how the surviving Yazidi population are adapting after the war and the current situation of rescued children who have been recruited into ISIS military camps and challenges to assist and reintegrate them back not the society. The panel was organized by the IFHV in cooperation with the faculty of social sciences.

June 2019

Please come in large numbers: RUB event for World Refugee Day 2019,  June 15 at Blue Square.

May 2019

RUB Research School Managing Director Dr. Christiane Wüllner and Dr. Jörn Benzinger gladly accepted the invitation to visit the headquarters of Tokyo Foundation and SYLFF during their visit to Japan. The informative exchange helped to foster the strong relationship between RUB Research School and Tokyo Foundation.
We are very much looking forward to continuing the extremely fruitful cooperation and would like to express our sincere gratitude for SYLFF’s support of doctoral researchers at our university. Thank you for having us!

May 2019

Benedikt Behlert published the article “Give me your money, you tired, poor and huddled masses!” on "Völkerrechtsblog"

March 2019

We are starting to build RUB's network on "Forced Migration". Share your approaches, ideas and results with fellows and associates of the Sylff Kolleg on "Forced Migration". Doctoral researchers and advanced master students of all disciplines are invited to discuss their research in this network. Read more.

December 2018

The Sylff Fellows participated in a one day workshop on providing and receiving feedback in an academic setting at RUB Research School.

November 2018

Read the new article on the  “Verfassungsblog/On matters constitutional”of Benedikt Behlert dealing with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

October 2018

Corinna Land raised additional funding by the Tokio Foundation for her project

February 2018: Sylff-Mikrokolleg Kick-off

The Kick-off Event of the Sylff-Mikrokolleg in Forced Migration started with a warm welcome by Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein, Dean of RUB Research School and speaker of  Research Academy Ruhr as well as of the Sylff-Mikrokolleg. Dr. Benjamin Etzold from the Bonn International Center for Conversion (Bicc) held the inauguration speech and provided a talk on „Violence – Mobility – Space. Key Perspectives in Forced Migration Studies“. Afterwards, the four Sylff fellows presented their PhD projects to the audience. All those present used the opportunity to discuss the different research projects within the get-together after the event.

January 2018

The first cohort of our Sylff Mikrokolleg is complete! We welcome the Sylff fellows Benedikt Behlert and UK Mong Marma!

June 2017

Meet the first two fellows of the Sylff Mikrokolleg, Corinna Land and Robin Ramsahye! We are looking forward to build the Mikrokolleg with you!