The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften is saddened to record the passing of its founding director Prof. Dr. Spiros Simitis, who died aged 88 on March 18, 2023. As chair of its scientific directorate from 2008 to 2012, Professor Simitis was a key figure in establishing the Forschungskolleg as an Institute for Advanced Studies within Goethe University.
From 1969 to 2003 Spiros Simitis was professor of labor law, civil law, and information law (particularly data protection law) at Goethe University. He became known to a wider public especially through his commitment to establishing data protection law in the Federal Republic of Germany. He founded the data protection research center at Goethe University and from 1975 to 1991 was data protection officer of the state of Hesse.
In 2008 he became scientific director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, which had been set up as an interdisciplinary Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities by Goethe University in cooperation with the Werner Reimers Foundation. In these founding years, Simitis succeeded in making the Forschungskolleg a place of reflection and debate on processes of social change in an age of globalization and digitalization. For instance, he initiated pathbreaking lecture series on international development cooperation and its critique, on the reordering of American politics, and on the meaning of the »digital self.«
In his years as chairman of the directorate, Spiros Simitis, whose gaze always extended far beyond his own discipline, made the Forschungskolleg into an internationally highly esteemed institution. We remember his work with immense gratitude.
Iris Helene Koban, Managing Director
(FKH - 23.03.2023)
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