May 11, 2016
The Mercator Award 2015/16 goes to the Jacobs students Francisco Diaz Heinzen and Aleksandar Nikolic. Each year since 2008, the Stiftung Mercator has honored students who distinguish themselves through outstanding social and intercultural engagement as well as excellent scholastic achievement, and who live in Mercator College on the campus of Jacobs University. A representative of Stiftung Mercator recently presented the award to the two honorees.
“We are impressed by the outstanding personal commitment shown by Francisco Diaz Heinzen and Aleksandar Nikolic, in addition to their very good academic achievement,” says Dr. Felix Streiter, Head of Stiftung Mercator’s science area. “The Mercator Award is also designed to motivate other students, in addition to their studies, to contribute actively to the intercultural community life at Jacobs University and to assume social responsibility,” Streiter adds.
“It is wonderful that Stiftung Mercator has been presenting this prize over the years to honor the academic and personal commitment of our students,” says Professor Katja Windt, President of Jacobs University. “We share in the joy of both winners. Their commitment makes it clear that their own success in their studies is not at all so time consuming as to prevent them from getting involved in their community. On the contrary: Working together to do something for others enables us to experience success and gives us renewed energy. And that can only be a great boon to our studies.”
Francisco Diaz Heinzen comes from Uruguay. After graduating, he worked for a year as a volunteer in a publicly financed house construction project, helping homeless families in Uruguay get a roof over their heads. Since 2013, he has been studying integrated social sciences at Jacobs University and will complete his degree program this summer. As a student assistant, he participated for two years in a research project financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) on the topic of international tax policy. In addition to his course of study, he also participates in plays on campus as an actor and director. In the student organization Feminist and Queer Equality Alliance, the 22-year-old works for equality of people regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Recently he co-organized the Women’s International Leadership Conference on the Jacobs University campus.
Aleksandar Nikolic comes from Serbia. As a 15-year-old, he received a stipend from the US State Department for a year-long exchange program in the United States. Since 2014, he has been studying global economics and management at Jacobs University. Whether in his job as student assistant in the Mercator College or as a volunteer, planning events on campus is the great passion of the 20-year-old: During his school days in Belgrade, he set up a fund-raising concert. At Jacobs University, he joined fellow students, among other things, to organize a startup competition and a big programming competition with corporate partners like Google and Microsoft. Since 2013, he has also been serving as a delegate to the European Youth Parliament in Serbia.
About Stiftung Mercator:
Stiftung Mercator is a private foundation that promotes science, education, and international understanding. It initiates, develops, and finances specific projects and partner companies in its sphere of activities: It wants to strengthen Europe, improve integration through equal educational opportunity for all, advance the energy turnaround as a motor for global climate protection, and anchor cultural education in schools. The foundation feels a special obligation to the Ruhr area, the home of the family that started it and also the foundation’s home.
About the Mercator Award:
The Mercator Award was first awarded by Stiftung Mercator in 2008. Since then, the prize has been awarded annually. The award, which comes with a prize of 5,000 euros, honors the special social and intercultural engagement of one student each in the second and third year of study who lives in the Mercator College at Jacobs University and also distinguishes themselves through outstanding scholastic achievement. The college is one of four on the campus of the international university and is home to about 200 students.