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German MPs Visit UWC’s Centre for Development Research

Pictured: Ulla Schmidt (middle) from the Social Democratic Party of Germany is pictured with UWC staff and students. Schmidt was one of a group of prominent German delegates who visited the DAAD-funded South African German Centre for Development Research (CDR) at UWC. They were impressed by the centre’s contribution to and achievement around the African continent.

Credit: Harriet Box

(Published - 14 February 2019)

Members of the German Parliament visited the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)-funded South African German Centre for Development Research (CDR) at UWC and were impressed by the Centre’s contribution to and achievement in Africa.

Dagmar Freitag and Ulla Schmidt - both from the Social Democratic Party of Germany that currently forms part of Government - together with the Christian Democratic Union, were accompanied by the German Consul General, Dr Matthias Hansen. They received a detailed presentation on the activities at CDR, followed by individual conversations with representatives of UWC and current scholarship holders.

The Centre was established in 2008 through support from DAAD, in partnership with the School of Government at UWC and the Institute for Development Policy and Development Research at the Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany. CDR aims to prepare the next generation of leaders to meet the typical economic, social and political challenges arising from the development process.

After introducing his colleagues and welcoming the visitors, Professor Julian May, CDR Director, shared that when he arrived on campus seven years ago the programme was a most significant educational resource, which somehow shaped his feelings towards the centre.

He said the Centre has produced a number of postgraduate graduates who have gone on to do well. “I think that it is the nature and the core of this centre that is amazing: It is highly competitive, covers the whole of the African continent and has some of the best students,” Prof May said.

What is remarkable about the programme, Prof May continued, is that alumni of different cohorts have organised themselves and established networks to help one another and give back to the Centre. “The DAAD grant has been able to push people over barriers and to form networks that have come to represent valuable resources throughout Africa.”

The Centre is keeping up with evolving technology - such as Zoom video and audio conferencing - to host seminars with students in different parts of the world, Prof May added.