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Alumni Seminar of the German Academic Exchange Service

DAAD Alumni Seminar 2018

from the left: Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of DAAD; Prof. Dr. Zaid Baqain, Vice President for Scientific Schools, University of Jordan; Ambassador Birgitta Siefker-Eberle, © DAAD

13.05.2018 - Pressemitteilung

Former Jordanian students in Germany are the best Ambassadors of Intercultural Understanding

Amman, 12 Mai 2018. More than 100 Jordanian and Palestinian former scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) met at Jordan University on May 11 and 12. In addition, experts from Germany, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories also came to the two-day seminar which was organized by the DAAD and the German Embassy in Jordan

Botschafterin Birgitta Siefker-Eberle
Ambassador Birgitta Siefker-Eberle at the Alumni Seminar of German Academic Exchange Service in Amman, May 11, 2018© ´DAAD


The last major alumni seminar in Jordan took place in 2006. The cooperation between the DAAD and Jordan began in the 1960s.Right now 200 Jordanians and Palestinians receive long-term funding by DAAD, either in Germany, mainly for their PhD studies, or in Jordan doing their Master’s.  

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has supported 30 Jordanian scientists since the 1980s.The AvH stands for scientific excellence and innovation.

In order to keep the connection with the former students, DAAD offers various possibilities to stay in touch. The two-day seminar is one of those opportunities.

For the opening Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of the DAAD, the German Ambassador to Jordan, Birgitta Siefker-Eberle, and German Member of Parliament Stefan Kaufmann delivered welcoming speeches.

DAAD offers many chances and opportunities for their alumni to keep in touch and expand the network. This Seminar is an occasion to intensify the contact within in the region and to Germany.
There are around 30 institutional partnerships between Jordanian and German universities or collaboration projects – also beyond the German Jordanian University (GJU) - and the DAAD is very interested in extending these activities. GJU is a major partner and we feel the impact it has on young people's interest in coming to Germany for their studies.
But we would like to also encourage the alumni to look into the possibilities these partnership programmes offer for the German-Jordanian academic exchange. Partnerships are what our German universities are interested in, partnerships for curriculum development or partnerships in management issues”, said Dr. Dorothea Rüland.

“A considerable portion of the German Federal Government’s culture and education budget is being spent on international academic cooperation and research. The Federal Foreign Office’s share alone amounts to 250 million euros per year. Scholarship programs account for the bulk of this budget.  35,000 scholarships are awarded annually to foreign students and scientists through funding from the Federal Foreign Office for postgraduate studies and research in Germany. Most of them via DAAD.

This is perfectly justified as scholarship programs are true investments in the future, the future of each single recipient of the scholarship, but also the future of the whole society. With scholarships we do not only train and promote the talents so desperately needed in the 21st century. We also promote cultural tolerance and intellectual curiosity through the academic exchange and joint learning and research of gifted young people”, stressed the German Ambassador to Jordan, Birgitta Siefker-Eberle.

The seminar included two Keynotes Speeches and various lectures, panel discussions and workshops about issues which are relevant for Jordan and the whole region.

Keynote Speakers were Professor Grudrun Krämer from the Free University of Berlin and Professor Musa Shteiwi from the Jordan University. Professor Krämer, who is one of the best known German Islam Scientists, gave a lecture about Regional Challenges seen from a European Perspective.

While Prof. Shteiwi, Director of the Jordanian Think Tank Center for Strategic Studies at the Jordan University, focused on political challenges seen from a regional perspective.

Amman, March 7-8th 2018. Jordanian and German experts on higher education came together in Amman to talk about a better integration of refugees into the university system of Jordan and to find solutions for the high demand of an academic career of refugees. Important recommendations were such as the provision of study counseling specifically for the needs of refugees as well as better coordination between universities. It was also recommended to better coordinate within the Jordanian government and with the donors. According to the participants, for this purpose, an institutional platform is needed. The two days conference was organized by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The aim of the gathering was to bring together key actors of Higher Education, from Germany and Jordan, to review the current situation of Syrian refugee students in the Hashemite Kingdom, and to strengthen the Jordanian universities in their role as humanitarian actors.

GIZ and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are currently running the program “Higher Education creates Prospects for young Syrians and Jordanians” (JOSY) which is financed by the German Ministry for Cooperation (BMZ). JOSY started in 2015 and has now more than 80 scholarship holders, half Jordanians and half Syrians.

The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof. Adel Tweissi, remarked in his opening speech that Jordan stands on high moral grounds for Syrian students to pursue their Higher Education. In past years Jordan paved the way for Syrian students to transfer smoothly into the Jordanian university system. Already now, Syrian students represent 15% of the International student body in Jordanian Higher Education institutions.

The Ambassador of Germany to Jordan, Ms. Birgitta Maria Siefker-Eberle, appreciated the long-standing cooperation between Jordan and Germany in her welcome remarks. She pointed out that

although tremendous efforts were made by institutions of Higher Education in Jordan, the access to higher education for refugee students in Jordan is still insufficient. She added: “We cannot afford a dangerous gap in the learning and qualification of Syria's young generation, the generation that one day will have to rebuild Syria. We should therefore unite all our efforts to prevent a 'lost generation'”. The Ambassador also stressed the importance of quality education for a sustainable development and mentioned the efforts of the German government in this area. With the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), Germany is currently supporting 703 Syrian scholarship students in pursuing their Higher Education in Jordan.

The Country Director of GIZ, Dr. Michaela Baur, stated that also the German universities were quite overwhelmed with the new “target group” of refugee students and it was a