20 Years of DIES - working together on global university development

8. November 2021

Joint DAAD and HRK press release

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) have been promoting the development of the higher education sector in the Global South in the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) programme for 20 years. Financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), over €40 million have been allocated to participating universities so far.

"Fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, universities around the world are currently having to cope with shifts in digitalisation, university management and the further development of research and teaching at an unprecedented speed. Reliable partners are needed to successfully manage such upheavals. It is therefore very gratifying that for twenty years now we have been working together with the HRK and in cooperation with German universities to promote the professionalisation of university management and processes in countries in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. After two decades, DIES is still successfully developing the higher education sector in countries in the Global South with its partnership-based approach," said DAAD President Prof Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.

"The DIES programme enables us to strengthen university management in important partner regions. Just as the HRK continuously supports the professionalisation of university management in the German higher education system, we use DIES to promote the performance and autonomy of teaching and research. These are important foundations for regional development. It is hugely important that we run programmes like these in the long term. We are very grateful that our member universities strongly support this approach with their concrete participation. DIES thrives on the multitude of individual offerings, each making a valuable contribution to the successful global development of the higher education sector. It should not be disregarded that participating German university members also put their learning experiences from the DIES programme into practice and thus provide innovative impetus to the domestic higher education system," said HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt.

The DIES Programme supports universities in the Global South by offering further education and training in cooperation with German universities. The goals are to professionalise university management, align study programmes with international standards and increase research capacities. Since DIES was founded, around 7,000 university employees from 51 partner countries have received further training on different areas of university management. The programme consists of three parts: training courses for managers at universities, dialogue measures to foster regional and international exchange on university development and DIES projects aimed at promoting regional initiatives. University employees who have participated in DIES measures are also supported in passing on the knowledge they have acquired at their home universities.

The DIES programme was also successfully continued during the COVID-19 pandemic. Training courses and dialogue measures were digitised in a timely manner, and participants exchanged information about their transfer projects virtually.
Currently, German universities from Cologne, Hanover, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Potsdam and Saarland are participating in the DIES programme.


If you have any questions, please contact:
Marijke Wahlers
German Rectors' Conference
Head of the International Affairs Division
+49 (228) 887-170

Tobias Wolf
Head of Partnership Programmes, Alumni Projects and University Management in Development Cooperation
+49 (228) 882-144

Press contacts:
Susanne Schilden                
HRK Press Officer                 
+49 228 887-152               

Michael Flacke
DAAD Press Officer
+49 228 882-454