Alumni programme for the German Higher Education Institutions

Zwei Infobroschüren des DAAD über das Alumni Treffen

The DAAD supports higher education institutions in Germany by offering suitable programmes and initiatives to strengthen the ties of international alumni to German universities and to Germany as a whole. In the following you can find an overview of the most important measures.


As a result of their study and research visits at German universities, our highly qualified international alumni largely share a positive view of Germany. They frequently hold key positions in science, politics, business, and culture. Networking and lifelong learning are fundamental for alumni, as experts, decision-makers, and partners abroad, to keep in touch with Germany and keep abreast of the latest developments.

For German development cooperation organisations in various countries, alumni are potential highly qualified employees and contacts in local authorities and a myriad of institutions. Around 150,000 students from developing and newly industrialised countries study at German universities, which is an important contribution to German development cooperation and cultural exchange.

For German businesses, on the other hand, these Germany alumni are highly competent and attractive business partners.

The alumni programme is supported by the

(BMZ), for alumni from developing and newly industrialised countries in accordance with the
(AA), for alumni from industrialised countries

Programme objectives

The programme aims to extend the skills of alumni, enabling them to resolve development-related issues (BMZ) and challenges in foreign cultural and educational policy (AA). It helps alumni engage with each other in academic networks both in their own country and internationally. At the same time, alumni are expected to play an active role as disseminators for knowledge transfer. Ideally, they maintain long-term ties to Germany and cooperate with universities and companies in Germany.

In addition, the programme aims to further strengthen the expertise of the host universities in Germany in matters of development cooperation (BMZ) and international cooperation (AA).

Funded projects/measures and partners involved

The AA has supported German universities in their work with international alumni since 2006. Initially, from 1999, this was separate from the programme of the BMZ, however, since 2009, funding is provided in a joint call. Within the two parts of the programme 800 to 1,200 alumni are sponsored every year. Alumni are mainly interested in further education in terms of lifelong learning, and initiating and strengthening academic and professional contacts. This is why there are two programme components to support alumni, which may be combined in one application.

1. Continuing education events for alumni (seminars in Germany and abroad)
Support is provided for seminars aimed at alumni from developing and newly industrialised countries (BMZ) and from industrialised countries (AA) that offer academic and professional development for the target groups.

These events focus on current topics from the respective disciplines that are relevant for achieving goals of development policy (BMZ), and meeting the challenges of foreign cultural and educational policy (AA). In addition to continuing education in participants’ respective fields, the seminars may also include skills that will help the partners manage research, teaching, guidance, and cooperation activities efficiently. Furthermore, alumni can acquire useful skills relevant for university management.

The seminars provide German universities with the opportunity to renew contacts with international alumni and facilitate the networking of already existing alumni activities. At the same time, the continuing education events offer an opportunity for further cooperation projects. They also provide a platform for establishing new contacts with German cultural and political institutions at a local level as well as with businesses and associations.

The events for further education address important development-related topics such as:

  • Water and environmental management in flood-prone areas in Asia
  • Entrepreneurs, Firms and Business Membership Organizations (BMOs): Their Role in Politics
  • Health promotion for population in the periphery
  • Energy-efficient buildings and the use of renewable energies in Turkey
  • Geo sciences and society: bridging the gaps with geoparks and the like in Latin America
  • Massive open online courses (MOOCs) – strategies and design of online training for specific target groups

Further training on foreign cultural and educational policy challenges include, for example, the following topics:

  • Academic work with oral history archives
  • Career symposium: “Impact of transdisciplinarity” on current challenges in the global labour market
  • Current research and developments in marketing and communication in the light of global economic and social trends and developments
  • Handling of German-Russian business relationships in an uncertain political and economic environment
  • The European Union as a global actor: neighbourhood policy, migration policy, protection of human rights, environmental and climate protection, trade policy
  • Doing good with business? - Corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and fair trade

2. Central alumni activities to improve cooperation with international alumni
We also complement alumni support at German higher education institutions by offering additional measures to support general work with alumni.

German higher education institutions can use DAAD support to

  • research alumni data
  • create and maintain databases
  • work on websites and social networks – priority should primarily be given to the
  • in the course of the digital transformation of universities, cooperation with social networks should be sought
  • create and distribute information materials for alumni (also online)
  • initiate the foundation of alumni associations abroad; invite small groups of international alumni, for example for disseminator training
  • invite individual alumni from abroad to special events intended for German alumni
  • advance strategy development with alumni and/or other higher education institutions by organising small workshops


In 2017, 939 alumni from industrialised countries and 852 alumni from developing and newly industrialised countries participated in programme events.

The analysis of evaluation forms showed that the events have the potential to further develop the skills of alumni in line with the objectives of the programme. A total of 85 per cent of respondents surveyed in 2017, strongly agreed that due to the continuing education and training they are better trained in their fields of work to deal with issues relating to development (BMZ) as well as to deal with challenges arising from international cultural and educational policy (AA).  95 per cent confirmed that the topics of the training and networking activities were relevant for their respective region. The academic quality of the events was also assessed positively by the respondents: 51 per cent fully agreed, 39 per cent agreed, and 10 per cent partially agreed that academic quality was high.

In addition, networking between participating alumni was promoted. In 2017, 66 per cent of the respondents reported that they were in touch with their former German higher education institution at least once a year.

In order to achieve the intended programme objectives even more efficiently, the DAAD targets the needs of developing and newly industrialised countries with its funding instruments and evaluates the impact of its funding programmes. In 2014, the DAAD introduced a comprehensive in order to further improve the quality and transparency of its work.

Supported by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentLogo of the ministry of foreign affairs