Universiteit Leiden

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Refugee student wins Peter Baehr Prize 2016

With the support of the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF, Russia expert Oshank Hashemi, a cum laude graduate of Leiden University, has won the Peter Baehr Prize 2016.

His proposal for a PhD study into the living conditions of migrant workers in Putin’s Russia garnered high praise from the jury. The prize, which consists of a monetary award of ten thousand euros, allows the winner to conduct his PhD research.

About the Peter Baehr Prize

UAF’s aim with the Peter Baehr Prize is to encourage research in the field of human rights, refugee issues and international policy. The prize money is intended to prepare a PhD study or obtain a PhD position at a recognised academic institution. All first- and second-generation refugees living in the Netherlands are eligible to submit a proposal.


Prize winner Hashemi fled his native Afghanistan in the late nineties at the age of eleven. With the support of the UAF, he began his studies at Leiden University. In 2016, he obtained his Master of Arts in Russian and Eurasian Studies cum laude.

Putin era

Using his PhD research, Hashemi wants to contribute to raising awareness for migrant workers in Russia. He focuses primarily on the way migrant workers are portrayed in documentaries produced in the Putin era. ‘The jury praised the chosen approach and commended the solid structure of the proposal,’ said jury chair Prof. Meindert Fennema.

Tsebaldzjid Otjir, who has lived in the Netherlands since 2001 and originally comes from China, also received an honourable mention. His research proposal addresses the issue of family reunification.

Peter Baehr

The Peter Baehr Prize was established by Professor Meindert Fennema. Professor Peter Baehr (1935 – 2010) was a major proponent of human rights, the former chair of the UAF and Professor of Human Rights at Utrecht University, among other institutions.

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