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News Release - Queen’s to host John G. Diefenbaker Award recipient Werner Nell

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

KINGSTON - A leading researcher in the field of German literature and culture, Werner Nell has received the prestigious John G. Diefenbaker Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. Nominated for the award by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Queen’s University, Dr. Nell will spend the 2017-2018 academic year in Kingston – collaborating with Queen’s faculty and conducting research on the concepts of rurality, urbanity, and migration.

“It is a tremendous honour to receive the Diefenbaker Award and have the opportunity to return to Queen’s,” says Dr. Nell. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my previous visits to the university, and look forward to continuing my research and reconnecting with my Queen’s colleagues.

Dr. Nell has a long-standing relationship with Queen’s, dating back to 2007 when he spent a semester as a visiting professor in the former German department. He was instrumental in establishing an exchange program between Queen’s and the Germanistisches Institut, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, which has provided students from both institutions with a unique cross-cultural learning experience.

“Introducing new perspectives and avenues for collaboration, which are accompanied by internationalization, provides new opportunities for faculty and students alike,” says John Fisher, Queen’s Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Dr. Nell has worked tirelessly to build and strengthen the ties between our two institutions – creating opportunities for research collaborations and international student exchange. We are proud to welcome him back to Queen’s and offer our most sincere congratulations on receiving this prestigious and competitive Canadian honour.”

While in Canada, Dr. Nell will conduct research on the changing concepts of rurality and urbanity and their cultural reflections in both Canada and Germany. His research will focus on furthering the understanding of how social communities influence, change and challenge the way people live, as well as how they conceptualize themselves, their relationships with political bodies, and navigate and utilize institutions. Attention will also be paid to what he refers to as the “contradictions of modernity,” or the need to reconnect with themes and values from our rural past to solve the issues of the modern age.

“We are extremely pleased that our nominee, Dr. Nell, was granted the prestigious Diefenbaker Award,” says Donato Santeramo, Head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. “Dr. Nell embodies, in many ways, our department’s unique transcultural and intercultural curricula. His research project “Urban Villages in the Arrival City” aims at examining the impact of the “migrants” transition from a rural setting to a metropolitan one, with the goal of reinforcing the values of tolerance and democracy, which permeate both German and Canadian identity.  It will be an honour to host Dr. Nell and we look forward to having the opportunity of working with him during his tenure at Queen’s.”  

Established in 1991 in memory of former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, the award allows a distinguished German scholar in the humanities to conduct research in Canada and spend brief periods gaining further experience at American institutions. It is the counterpart to the Konrad Adenauer Award, established in Germany in 1988. Both awards aim to encourage exchange between the university communities of Canada and Germany.

For more information on the John G. Diefenbaker Award, please visit the website.


Queen’s researchers and students are collaborating with colleagues around the world to develop innovations and advance research that has the potential to bring myriad benefits to society. The university is committed to increasing global engagement by developing new international research collaborations and building sustained multinational partnerships. These activities foster an environment where resources and expertise can be shared and knowledge can be mobilized and translated.

Chris Armes
Communications Officer, Media Relations
613-533-6000 x77513