Mersedeh Ghazaei wins Mulert Award 2023 with her exhibition “WIR SIND HANAU“ in Stuttgart

We are excited and honored to award this year’s Mulert Award to Mersedeh Ghazaei, 2022 Fulbright Diversity Program Alumna from Stuttgart, for her exceptional “WIR SIND HANAU” exhibition and for her tireless work as a voluntary human rights activist. In the following, Mersedeh describes the shocking right-wing attack in Hanau in 2020 and her efforts in arranging the “WIR SIND HANAU” exhibition and panel discussions to remember the third anniversary of the attack.

Mersedeh Ghazaei receiving the 2023 Mulert Award at the German Fulbright Alumni Association’s Spring Ball on March 25, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany
Mersedeh Ghazaei receiving the 2023 Mulert Award at the German Fulbright Alumni Association’s Spring Ball on March 25, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany

February 19th 2020 – a truly horrible, deeply saddening and life-changing day for many people in Germany. A right-wing, racist extremist shoots 9 immigrants in the city of Hanau, proceeds to kill his own mother and then shoots himself. The country was in shock, it was hard to believe what had taken place that cold Wednesday night. But not only did this heartbreaking event cause a wave of empathy, solidarity and new power in activist work, it also brought a deep divide and much controversy. While most political promises of more preventive work and efforts to effectively fight racism and fascism in Germany proved to be empty words years later, we activists still stand and demand justice for what happened.

Did you know the offender’s father is still harassing the loved ones and families of the ones killed, as well as the survivors? There are so many more things that make the Hanau shooting almost a storybook example for the many things that are not right in Germany. Before the events took place, during the night of the attack as well as after – many things that should never have happened, happened. The emergency exit was ordered to be locked months earlier, without any logical explanation. The perp had mailed the Hanau Police Department multiple times, speaking of his hateful plans to rid Germany of immigrants, he even had a YouTube channel where he published his manifesto – how was this not taken seriously? In the night of the attack, almost all of the distress calls to the police station were not answered, an issue that to this day has not been taken care of. Officers were overwhelmed, they even accused help-seeking survivors of being part of the crime and took their sweet time helping the wounded that died later on.

A couple of months later it was revealed that 13 of the officers on duty that night were part of an extreme right-wing network in Germany, in which talking about white supremacy and annihilating “the others” was part of the daily order. In this cold, devastating night of the attack, families and loved ones of the murdered did not know for hours that their children were dead and where their children’s dead bodies were. Autopsies were performed on many of them without the permission or knowledge of their families, which begs the question: why do you need to perform an autopsy after a shooting, isn’t the cause of death clear? Even after this gruesome night, it does not stop: the Initiative 19. Februar Hanau has put together these facts and much more relevant information on their website. I can urge anyone to take their time and to really read through these findings.

Mersedeh Ghazaei and Kaan Genc of Migrantifa Stuttgart opening the exhibition on February 19th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)
Mersedeh Ghazaei and Kaan Genc of Migrantifa Stuttgart opening the exhibition on February 19th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)

After this gruesome attack, many immigrants have had it – we need to act, we need to demand change and to work towards a future in which something like this could never happen again. I myself remember it being a big turning point in my life, I have not felt safe anymore since then and I do not think I will ever again. A nationwide movement named “Migrantifa” was born, a wordplay composed of the German word “Migranten” meaning immigrants and “antifa”, an abbreviation for anti-fascism. This movement, consisting of immigrants that fight actively against fascism, racism and generally against any form of discrimination, has risen from the ashes of the damage done by the Hanau shooting. Back in June 2020, the Migrantifa Stuttgart was founded and I have been a part of it since the very beginning. By reminding ourselves and others of the gruesome events in Germany’s history, which did not just disappear after the Shoah, we aim to show people that fighting against racism is a constant process and an absolute necessity. Even if Germany does seem like a safe country for immigrants with mild issues of societal racism, the factual truth is that racism is deeply rooted in Germany’s past, present – and future if we continue like this. It is especially severe in institutions and establishments but also in the educational as well as healthcare systems and also very prevalent in rural communities. Current voting trends show the racist, right-wing AfD (Alternative for Germany party) in second place, which is a scary remnant reviving our fascist background. The number of attacks against Muslim and Jewish communities, ethnic communities and minorities as well as violence against queer* individuals is breathtakingly sad.

For the third anniversary of the Hanau shooting in Stuttgart, many individuals wanted a light-projection with the faces of the 9 murdered individuals in public. Stuttgart’s mayor declined, saying something along the lines of Hanau has nothing to do with Stuttgart, it’s in another federal state. We as activists in Stuttgart were enraged to say the least because Hanau is everywhere – a slogan that has been spreading in Germany since the attacks, to show solidarity. To our mayor, this might not be the case, but to us immigrants, children of immigrants, refugees, to those of us who feel racism on a regular basis, to those of us who are afraid to walk around freely, it doesn’t matter if it happened in Stuttgart, Hanau, Berlin or anywhere else. The fact is: this could have happened anywhere. So what we did was to arrange an exhibition called WIR SIND HANAU / WE ARE HANAU to show once and for all that what happened in Hanau matters, everywhere in Germany. On the third anniversary of the attack we opened our exhibition, followed by a couple of events and panel discussions in February and March. The exhibition was housed in the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart – one of the oldest and most renowned art associations in the world – from February 19th until April 9th. Amongst the many panels, our highlight was definitely our panel on April 2nd in cooperation with the Bildungsinitiative Ferhat Unvar, founded by Serpil Temiz Unvar, mother of the murdered Ferhat Unvar. We came together to discuss ways to stand and fight together instead of letting division stand in the way of our goals.

All in all, we feel that the message really arrived in Stuttgart and we plan to continue our work. We are also very glad that the light projection was financed and conducted by other organizations in Stuttgart after all, although we are still very enraged by our mayor turning it down. The fact that all of this gets space in this very magazine, that you, dear reader, are reading this right now, shows that our work is not for nothing – we can only hope that we reach as many people as possible. It does not matter if you experience racism yourself or if you don’t. What really matters is fighting against discrimination, racism, fascism and oppression. Let’s fight for a better world, together!

In loving memory of Gökhan Gültekin, Sedat Gürbüz, Said Nesar Hashemi, Mercedes Kierpacz, Hamza Kurtović, Vili Viorel Păun, Fatih Saraçoğlu, Ferhat Unvar and Kaloyan Velkov ( † February 19th 2020, Hanau, Germany)

Visitors on the day of the opening of the exhibition on February 19th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)
Visitors on the day of the opening of the exhibition on February 19th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)
Visitors looking at the exhibition during an interactive tour on February 26th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)
Visitors looking at the exhibition during an interactive tour on February 26th 2023 (picture by Migrantifa Stuttgart)

Mersedeh Ghazaei was born in Southern Germany in 1997 as a child of Iranian immigrants and is a 2022 Fulbright Diversity Program Alumna. Mersedeh is currently finishing her Bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy to become a teacher and will continue with English and American Studies for her Master’s degree. Mersedeh is a voluntary human rights activist with a strong focus on anti-racist and intersectional feminism, a member of the Migrantifa Stuttgart, co-founder of the Initiative Iranian Women* of Stuttgart and social media manager for the Local Diversity Stuttgart association. This year, Mersedeh has published her first book “verwurzelter körper, entwurzelter kopf”, which deals with the experience of growing up between two different cultures as a child of immigrants in Germany. In the future, Mersedeh aims to further pursue her fight for human rights, gender equality as well as educational equality and to also focus on countries outside the western, Eurocentric world.

FRANKly 2023: Call for Articles

The FRANKly is the annual journal of the German Fulbright Alumni Association. In addition to reporting on the regional, national, and international activities of our association, the publication serves as a platform for current Fulbrighters and alumni to share their fascinating experiences, witty opinions, unique perspectives, and thoughtful insights.

The 2023 Call for Articles is here and we are thrilled to announce this year’s theme:

Building a Brighter Future

We don’t know what exactly the future holds. But it is obvious that the path we are on is not headed to the promising future most of us would like to envision. The good news is that while “future” itself is inevitable, what version of the future will emerge is not: we all have a part to play in shaping the world of tomorrow and to ensure it is the best possible future for everyone.

The FRANKly 2023 welcomes contributions that explore visions of the future we can see ourselves living in and the building blocks needed to make it happen. What new approaches are necessary in order to tackle challenges such as climate change and sustainability, geopolitical imbalances, poverty, education, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility as well as the potential of the digital world while not forgetting about the place of culture and the arts in our societies. At the same time, our future isn’t just the big picture, but also our personal, more immediate future. Questions regarding financial security, healthcare, career possibilities as well the role of family, friends, and communities are at the forefront for a lot of us.

So. What can we do? How can we build a more resilient world in which everyone can feel a sense of belonging? What is the role of the transatlantic world and how can Fulbrighters, as one example, use their potential to have an impact? What can we do to build a brighter future?

Articles that exhibit a connection with the Fulbright Program, the German Fulbright Alumni Association (F.A.e.V.), or the network of Fulbright Alumni Associations across the globe are always encouraged, as are articles with creative approaches of how our main theme resonates with you personally. When submitting your article, please provide 2-3 sentences about yourself in third person and a headshot. Authors are encouraged to submit images (3-6 images total) that support their article. Every photograph must include the photographer’s name and a caption. Articles may range in length from 3,000 – 12,000 characters (including spaces) and should be written in American English.

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2023. Please send all questions, ideas, and contributions to Jana Frey via email at

Jana Frey

Registration now open for Winterball 2023

Liebe Fullies,

We are excited to formally invite you to the German Fulbright Alumni Association’s Spring Ball, this year to be held in conjunction with our annual General Assembly in Hamburg on the weekend of March 24th – 26th and are thrilled to announce that registration is now live via the following registration form:

Register here

The festivities will begin with an informal get-together on Friday night. Saturday will feature the annual General Assembly at the Bucerius Law School and, of course, be highlighted by the evening’s Spring Ball. MARKK am Rothenbaum will serve as our host for this festive Fulbright occasion, one of good food, even better company, and necessarily, lots of dancing! We are also eager to have special guests headline the evening, among them being this year’s recipient of the annually presented Mulert Award.

The weekend will close on Sunday with a casual farewell brunch after which there will be the option to visit special exhibits at the Hamburger Kunsthalle or Mahnmal St. Nikolai, to discover the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Hamburg’s Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel, or to explore Hamburg’s Altstadt with a tour from City Hall to the renowned Elbphilharmonie.Space is limited and registration officially closes on March 5th, so RSVP as soon as possible to ensure your spot. All details concerning price and locations can be found in the registration form, with a travel guide to be provided via email to all participants after registration.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your events team. Contact information can be found in the signature below. We’re looking forward to the weekend and hope to see you there!


Mit lieben Grüßen aus Hamburg,

Your German Fulbright Alumni Association


Apply now for the Mulert Award 2023!

Applications for the 2023 Mulert Award are now open. Please apply here via a quick and short online form. Application deadline is February 28, 2023. The winner of the award will be announced in a festive award ceremony in May 2023 in Germany.

Mulert Award

Click here to find more information about the Mulert Award.

Call for Nominations: Amerigo Media Award 2022

Liebe Fullies,

der Fulbright Alumni e.V. hat als Teil von ENAM (European Network of American Alumni Associations) dieses Jahr die Ehre, den/die Gewinner:in des europäischen Amerigo Media Awards zu bestimmen. Der Award wird jedes Jahr durch die italienisch-amerikanischen Alumni an eine:n Journalist:in in Europa vergeben, der/die durch herausragende journalistische und/oder mediale Arbeit zu positiven Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland, Europa und den USA beiträgt.

Für die Nominierung geeigneter Kandidat:innen benötigen wir eure Unterstützung!

Sind euch Fulbright Alumni bekannt, die aktuell in Deutschland leben und durch besondere journalistische/mediale Arbeit die transatlantischen Beziehungen fördern? Oder seid ihr vielleicht sogar selbst aktiv?

Wir freuen uns über eure Vorschläge per E-Mail an bis spätestens 15. September 2022. Bitte nennt uns Vorname, Nachname, Kontaktinfos (falls vorhanden) und eine kurze Begründung, warum diese Person (oder ihr selbst) aus eurer Sicht den Award gewinnen sollte.

Der/die ausgewählte Gewinner:in darf sich auf eine exklusive Vergabe des Awards im Dezember vor Ort in Florenz freuen – die Reisekosten werden übernommen.

Als kleinen Teaser findet ihr hier einen Bericht zur Award-Vergabe aus einem der vorherigen Jahre. Meldet euch ansonsten bei Fragen gerne direkt unter oben genannter E-Mail.

Vielen Dank für eure Unterstützung!

FRANKly: Call for Articles

Calling all writers!

Our FRANKly magazine is calling for articles for our 2022  edition, with the theme of, “Pursuing Our Social Conscience“. Everyone is  encouraged to submit under the guidelines in the call to action attached here as a PDF.

Please share our call far & wide.

To look at our 2021 magazine, just click here:

The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2022. Please send all questions,  ideas, and contributions to Jana Frey via email at

Pursuing Our Social Conscience

Injustices and inequalities have always existed in the societies we have created. The truth of this has again become apparent this year and forces us to listen closely to our social conscience, our sense of responsibility to engage with not only our own issues, but also those beyond us.

The war in Ukraine has brought this necessity particularly close for a lot of people. But of course, continuous threats to an equal, just and safe society for everyone should not be forgotten and remind us of the importance to take a stand, to raise our voices, to act with compassion and to contribute to making a change. Instead of focusing on the differences that separate us, we need to find the commonalities that connect us.

The FRANKly 2022 wishes to explore the different ways and arenas in which our social conscience can or should manifest. This issue welcomes contributions that rise to the occasion and accept civic responsibility. In which ways can we as people in general and as Fulbrighters in particular give back – and to whom? What injustices need to be tackled and what forms of protest can we chose to fight them? Can we take inspiration from the way people have followed their social conscience in the past, and how can we make use of this in the future? How can we empower others and support each other in order to have an impact beyond ourselves?

Download Call for Articles 2022