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DAAD, German embassy hold alumni seminar for former Jordanian students in Germany

By JT - May 12,2018 - Last updated at May 12,2018

German Ambassador Birgitta Siefker-Eberle (third right) attending a seminar bringing more than 100 Jordanian and Palestinian former scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Jordan. (Photo courtesy of German Embassy in Amman)

AMMAN — More than 100 Jordanian and Palestinian former scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation met this weekend at a two-day seminar at the University of Jordan (UJ), which also saw the participation of experts from Germany, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

Organised by the DAAD and the German embassy, the seminar is one of various opportunities the DAAD offers to stay in touch with former students.  

“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 the region and to Germany,” Dorothea Rüland, secretary general of the DAAD, said at the opening ceremony.

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, Rüland added.

“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,” the secretary general said.

German Ambassador Birgitta Siefker-Eberle said that 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 programmes account for the bulk of this budget. thirty-five thousand 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,” the ambassador said.

This is perfectly justified as scholarship programmes are true investments in the future; the future of each single recipient of the scholarship, but also the future of the whole society, Siefker-Eberle stressed, noting that “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”.

The seminar included two keynote 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 UJ. 

Professor Krämer, who is one of the best known German Islam Scientists, gave a lecture about Regional Challenges seen from a European Perspective, the statement said. 

While Shteiwi, the director of UJ’s Centre for Strategic Studies, focused on political challenges seen from a regional perspective. 

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

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an institution dedicated to supporting scientific excellence and innovation, has supported 30 Jordanian scientists since the 1980s.

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