Opportunity for Interdisciplinary International Summer School in Malaysia: Social Inequality through the Lens of Area Studies

We are thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for students interested in exploring the intricate dynamics of social inequality and its intersection with social business. The upcoming summer school, titled “Malaysia: Social Inequality through the Lens of Area Studies,” is a collaborative effort between SDAC / FAU – Ferdi, Oleg, Viola & Prof. Giovanni Maltese from the Theology Department, and Albukhary International University (AIU), Malaysia, represented by Assoc Prof Frederik Holst.

Location: Alor Setar, Malaysia
Duration: 5th to 16th of August (10 working days), followed by an additional excursion from the 16th to the 19th of August

Program Overview:

This compact yet fundamentally interdisciplinary course aims to delve into the concepts of Social Business as a powerful means to combat social inequality, focusing primarily on global poverty, unemployment, and climate change. Social business, defined as a business created to solve social issues in a financially sustainable way, will be examined through various lenses to understand its impact across different regions and communities. The program aims to investigate how political, economic, historical, cultural, and societal structures, along with identity factors such as gender, religion, and ethnicity, influence the effectiveness of social business initiatives in addressing social inequality.


The summer school is divided into two distinct parts:

  1. Theoretical Frameworks and Global Implementations: The first week will be dedicated to exploring theoretical frameworks related to social inequality, including gender, sexuality, citizenship, and religion. Facilitated by a team of esteemed lecturers from both AIU and FAU, participants will engage in transregional and transdisciplinary discussions enriched by practical experiences in the field.
  2. Field Trips to Social Business Sites: During the second week, participants will embark on field trips to Social Business sites in rural Northern Malaysia. These excursions, prepared by student groups from AIU and FAU, offer firsthand insights into the operations and challenges faced by social businesses within their economic, political, and societal contexts. Collaborative learning and diverse perspectives will be encouraged, fostering mutual understanding and knowledge exchange among participants.

Schedule and Credits:

Participants will earn 5 ECTS upon successful completion of the program. For 7th cohort students, these credits can be accredited towards the “Advanced Thematic and Regional Courses” module, while 6th cohort students may replace a previous course grade. Further details regarding credit allocation will be provided to selected students at a later date.


Accommodation and food expenses for all participants will be fully covered by AIU from the 5th to the 16th of August. Efforts are underway to secure additional funding to partially support flight costs, subject to approval. Moreover, selected students will have the opportunity to apply for the DAAD-Promos scholarship and the FAU-Reisestipendium to further alleviate financial burdens.

Application Process:

We have 5 open slots available for SDAC students. Interested candidates are required to submit a letter of motivation (maximum 2 pages) highlighting their interest in the topic, reasons for participation, and how the summer school could benefit their studies or career aspirations.

Applications should be sent via email to oleg.vasilchenko@fau.de by the 7th of April 2024.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to gain invaluable insights into social inequality and contribute to meaningful change through the lens of area studies. Apply now and embark on a transformative journey with us in Malaysia.