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Axel Michaels receives Award for Intercultural Competence

Jan 13, 2016

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels, Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe", receives the Höffmann Academic Award for Intercultural Competence 2015. Conferred by the University of Vechta, the award comes with a cash prize of € 10,000. The public award ceremony took place at the University of Vechta on February 4, 2016.

Indologist Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels is honored for his outstanding and groundbreaking works on different cultures with a focus on Asia. His international research projects as well as his contributions to transdisciplinary and transcultural studies are acknowledged by jury chairman Prof. Dr. Egon Spiegel. The jury also mentioned his effort for sharing his knowledge with the public and his personal commitment for his research areas, such as the fundraising campaign for Nepal.

Axel Michaels has been one of the founding directors of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" since 2007, and of the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) since 2013. He also heads the "Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Premodern Nepal" research unit of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. From 2002 to 2013, Michaels served as spokesperson for the "Ritual Dynamics" Collaborative Research Centre, which he was instrumental in founding. He joined the faculty at Heidelberg University in 1996 as professor of Classical Indology at the South Asia Institute, where he heads the Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia.

In his work on the cultural and religious history of South Asia, Axel Michaels combines text studies and ethnographic research in a unique way, and thus established a new area of research known as “Ethno-Indology”. His research is focused on the practice and history of Hinduism in India and the religions of Nepal, in particular rituals and festivals. His work also includes the study of sacred maps and religious geography of Benares as well as Hindu asceticism. The laws of ancient India and legal literature of pre-modern Nepal are other areas of interest.

The public award ceremony took place on February 4, 2016, at the University of Vechta. Prof. Dr. Christoph Wulf (FU Berlin) gave the laudatory speech.

The Höffmann Academic Award is part of a long-term programme aimed at promoting intercultural skills. It is conferred by the University of Vechta since 2010 and sponsored by entrepreneur Hans Höffmann. Candidates are nominated by a university or research institution. The decision is made by a jury headed by the academic director of the programme, Prof. Dr. Egon Spiegel.

Further links:

Press Release University of Vechta
Press Release University of Heidelberg


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