“Serving as a bridge-builder between French and German academia”: Aspirations of a new ambassador

The Tübingen Center of Islamic Theology successfully nominated its distinguished research alumnus Professor Francesco Chiabotti in France as University of Tübingen Ambassador

Professor Francesco Chiabotti, new University of Tübingen Ambassador to France, and Professor Monique Scheer, Vice-President for International Affairs.

Since its establishment in 2011 the Center of Islamic Theology (ZITh) opened its doors to “networking with the world”. “Now we are taking a step further to ‘transfer of knowledge and expertise’ beyond the boundaries of Germany, as more and more of our alumni are getting professorships and research fellowships at prestigious universities in France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Lebanon, Qatar and so forth,” says Professor Lejla Demiri, Chair of Islamic Doctrine and Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Theology. She explains the opportunities for further international collaboration and contribution to the discourse on Islam that will arise through the ambassador appointment of her former research assistant Professor Chiabotti, who currently teaches at INALCO Paris, the Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations: “Thanks to his involvement in numerous international projects and networks, we are convinced that Prof. Chiabotti will provide valuable contributions towards increasing the visibility of our University and our Center in French academia in particular and Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean basin in general.”

For Francesco Chiabotti, the University of Tübingen ambassador nomination came as a big surprise. The professor and researcher of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Medieval History, who is originally from Italy but has lived and worked in France for more than 15 years, says that Tübingen has not left his life since 2015 when he worked here as a research assistant at the ZITh. His relationship with and affection for Germany started even earlier as a student in German language and literature in Italy. Being a University of Tübingen Ambassador now opens a new chapter for him and confirms his academic bridge-building activities between Germany and other countries. “In particular, I hope that this appointment will allow me to be an advocate for the excellence of the University of Tübingen”, and refers to the academic environment at the University of Tübingen and the synergies between the new Islamic Theology and the ancient Faculties of Catholic and Protestant Theology. “This unique collaboration must be carried on in an age of separation, and frightening self-withdrawal.” Bridge-building between religions and cultures is an important opportunity and contribution to humanity and peace.

The University Ambassador title is awarded to research alumni and alumnae of the University of Tübingen whose connections to their alma mater are of outstanding quality and distinction. The ambassador network is part of Tübingen’s international research alumni relations within the framework of the University’s internationalization strategy. 

Christin Wannagat

Francesco Chiabotti

Center for Islamic Theology

Research Alumni Network TRACe