DAAD and HRK hold conference with university managers from developing countries - Study by Boston College provides exclusive insight into training programmes worldwide

27. November 2017

Around 130 experts from industrialised and developing countries are addressing the management of universities today and tomorrow in Berlin. They will discuss common and specific challenges surrounding adequate strategies and the training of the responsible staff.

The DIES programme (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), which is organising the conference with the title "Strengthening the Role of Universities in Developing Countries – The Contribution of Leadership Capacity Building Initiatives", offers training services for the professionalisation of university management in developing and emerging countries. To help drive positive change in the Global South, DIES has been running a training programme for deans from Africa and Southeast Asia for ten years now. The HRK and the DAAD organise the DIES International Deans' Course together with the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, the Centre for Higher Education and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as other partner universities in Germany and the target regions.

A DIES study by the Boston College Center for International Higher Education will be presented in the course of the conference. It examined around fifty training programmes worldwide for university managers from developing countries and revealed that virtually all regions of the world are either providers or target countries of training courses for university management. Exceptions to this are Central Asia and the Middle East. Many of the programmes were first created after the year 2000. However, participant numbers are still relatively low and the programmes differ greatly in their content and target groups.

"The DIES programme has been organising the dialogue between universities from different regions of the world for many years and, in doing so, involves people at different function levels in university management," says Professor Dr Margret Wintermantel, President of the DAAD. "Even though the challenges in a university landscape generally marked by growth, competition and dynamic change are similar, management must develop and implement specifically adapted strategies. DIES encourages this by funding mutual learning across regional borders."

Professor Dr Horst Hippler, President of the HRK, notes: "Universities carry great social responsibility everywhere in the world. They educate future generations and are the backbone of national research and innovation systems. Pushing ahead with the professionalisation of university management is therefore anything but a marginal issue. On the contrary, it is an important contribution towards the political and economic stability of the Global South. To this end, we can exchange ideas with partners from across the world within the DIES programme."
Professor Dr Peter Mayer, long-time coordinator of the training course at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, says: "The challenges facing universities in Africa, Asia and Latin America are great, but so is the creativity and dynamism of those involved. The exchange of ideas and concepts is falling on fertile ground. The International Deans' Course enables us to empower people who are so important for the future shaping of universities."

The DAAD and the HRK have implemented the DIES programme together since 2001. DIES is financed by funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and assists universities in developing countries with the development of reform strategies which improve institutional management as well as the quality and relevance of study programmes.

Further information on the DIES programme and the study by Boston College can be found at:



German Rectors’ Conference          
Susanne Schilden                   
Head of Press and Communications Office        
0049 228/887-152                   
German Academic Exchange Service
Björn Wilck
Head of press relations
0049 228/882-454