North America


The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) works together closely with a large number of partner organizations in both the United States and Canada.

Furthering exchange on current issues in higher education, the HRK meets with representatives of the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of American Universities (AUU). Reflecting its dedication to the transatlantic partnership, the HRK also has a seat on the board of the German-American Fulbright Commission.

As an associated member, the HRK also participates in the annual convention of the GAIN-network. GAIN is the German Academic International Network. The convention takes place each September and is held in either Boston or San Francisco.

In Canada, Universities Canada is the most important partner for the HRK.

Shifting political culture threatens academic freedom

Thomas Mann House; © VATMH e.V./ Foto: Mike Kelley
Thomas Mann House
© VATMH e.V./ Foto: Mike Kelley

28 August 2019 In recent years, populism, nationalism and new forms of aggressive escalation have been exerting a growing influence on political culture in the West. Fundamental values of liberal democracy such as freedom of expression and tolerance are coming under attack. The consequences of this radicalisation on science in Germany and the USA was the focus of a two-day event held at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. More

Event on equal opportunities in access to university and gaining a university degree

7 April 2019 At the invitation of the American Council on Education and the Lumina Foundation, experts from a total of eight countries discussed ways to assist traditionally disadvantaged student groups in transitioning from school to university and gaining a university degree. In the lead-up to the conference, two commissioned studies demonstrated that an increasingly heterogeneous student body is presenting universities across the world with great challenges. According to the authors of the study, the likelihood of successfully completing a university degree all too often depends on factors such as gender, race and background. The Global Attainment & Inclusion Network brings together representatives of industry with university heads and rectors’ conferences from Australia, Germany, Europe (EUA), Canada, Columbia, Mexico, the USA and the United Kingdom. The conference in Ensenada, Mexico, is part of a long-term project and tied in with a conference in Washington, D.C. in spring 2018.

Freedom of speech at universities

5 September 2018 „Democracy is essential to academic freedom. Academic freedom is essential to democracy,” said HRK President Peter-André Alt, outlining the reciprocal relationship between academic freedom and democracy during an introductory speech at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York. The podium discussion that followed focussed on the current debate surrounding the limits and conditions of freedom of speech at universities, which is particularly prevalent in the USA at the moment. The HRK President signified a clear commitment to freedom of speech as a key element of German universities' ethos. Read more

Science is international

3 February 2017 Together with eight other German science organisations, the HRK has commented on the immigration ban into the United States, which applies to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. Especially in times of international crises, science is a valuable link between nations, which must be protected with great urgency. The German Scientific Organizations call upon the U.S. government to immediately repeal the immigration ban. More