In memoriam Professor Dr Uli Albrecht, former director of the Research Institute of the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies in Berlin
It is with sadness that we share the news that Hans-Ulrich “Uli“ Albrecht has passed away on 26 December 2016 in Berlin, just a month before his 76th birthday and after years of grave illness.
Uli Albrecht has significantly shaped the research profile of the early decades of the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies in the 1970s and 1980s. For 20 years, he was one of the most innovative and engaged members of the Foundation’s board of trustees. For countless students of the Free University of Berlin’s Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, where Uli Albrecht was Professor for Peace Studies since the early 1970s, he was a critical yet hugely accessible and humorous member of faculty. Professor Hajo Funke, one of his colleagues, remembers him as an “exceptionally gifted instigator of deep thinking about peace and radical democracy”.
Uli Albrecht was born on 30 January 1941 and looked back on a childhood marked by loss, displacement and new beginnings both in the new East and the new West of Germany. He devoted his studies in Aachen and Stuttgart to engineering and political science as well as economics. His dissertation focused on issues of the arms trade.
In 1971, the founder of the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies, Professor Georg Zundel, made Uli Albrecht one of the members of the first board of trustees, following a recommendation by Professor Dieter Senghaas. Just one year later, at the age of 31, he was appointed Professor for Peace and Conflict Studies in the Political Science Department of the Free University of Berlin. During the years that followed, he became an internationally renowned expert for research into dynamics of armament and disarmament, also due to his dual credentials as engineer and political scientist. Given his connections within the international research community, he was successful in helping numerous research projects come to fruition, among others under the umbrella of the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies.
The Berghof Foundation, at that time, engaged not only in supporting independent research, but also had financed, from 1979 onwards, a so called “project collaborative” headed by the Professors Uli Albrecht, Theodor Ebert und Wolf-Dieter Narr. Subsequently, this was turned in 1990 into a first research institution dedicated to “converting the arms race”. This institution was located at a walking distance from the Free University in Berlin Dahlem’s Altensteinstraße.
In 1992, after more than 20 years, Uli Albrecht left Berghof’s board of trustees. Following in his influential footsteps, the “Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management” was founded in 1993.
Uli Albrecht remained closely connected to Berghof’s founders, the Zundel family, as he was the godfather of their son, Maxim Zundel. At the Free University, he remained a prolific teacher and researcher and published many articles and books on a variety of topics related to creating more peaceful states and societies, attesting to curiosity and creativity. He continued to engage with the most critical topics of the field throughout his career, and was recognized for his keen support for the advancement of women in academia.
Although his illness had forced him into a much more quiet and secluded life, and although his voice has not been heard in the debates of the current years, we will remember Uli Albrecht as a pathfinding, critical, principled and enthusiastic peace and conflict researcher, whose inspiration and advice will be sorely missed by the peace research community.
Hans Joachim Giessmann, Executive Director Johannes Zundel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Sandra Pfahler, Executive Director
On 30 January 2017 – the day Ulrich Albrecht would have turned 76 – a memorial event will take place at Hörsaal A of the Otto-Suhr-Institut (Ihnestraße 21, Berlin), at 18:00 s.t.
Ruth Stanley (Hg.): Gewalt und Konflikt in einer Globalisierten Welt. Festschrift für Ulrich Albrecht zum 60. Geburtstag. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2001.