More than 140,000 individuals were funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for mobility programs in 2022, bringing it close to its pre-pandemic level, the organisation has said at its general assembly in Bonn.
With budget for the year increasing to about €775 million as a result in part to Ukraine aid programs, DAAD said it worked to respond to multiple crises during “challenging times”. In 2021, DAAD had €634.7 million at its disposal.
The budget increase has allowed the organisation to fund more individuals overseas for mobility programs than ever before in its history.
The DAAD Annual Report 2022 details how the organisation’s 2022 was “shaped by Russia’s attack on Ukraine”.
“In the past year, we witnessed the return of imperialism and aggressive war to Europe,” DAAD president Joybrato Mukherjee said.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine has brought a delusional pursuit to forcefully adjust history back to our continent. These significant changes have an impact on higher education institutions and the DAAD, too.”
DAAD put contact to Russia on hold and initiated “large-scale” support programs for Ukraine, including expanding the Hilde Domin program and developing guidance services for members concerning cooperation under difficult circumstances, he added.
The Hilde Domin program offers at-risk students and PhD candidates opportunities to study at German universities, with three rounds selecting 132 individuals for stipends. Afghanistan was the most represented among those offered scholarships with 59 Afghans selected as part of the Brückenstipendien Afghanistan program.
In 2023, DAAD will, together with the German federal ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, begin supporting refugees in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries. The focus will be on female displaced people, with the aim of at least 80% of recipients being women. Target countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan, the document noted.
“The past year was a good year for global academic exchange, despite all crises: the end of the pandemic gave rise to an increase of personal on-site academic cooperation once again,” DAAD secretary general Kai Sicks said, adding that the 140,000 funded individuals is “almost back” to the pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019, DAAD supported 145,659 individuals, with 85,078 recipients within Germany. The total number of overseas recipients has risen to almost 70,000, an increase of close to 10,000 before the pandemic.
“The end of the pandemic gave rise to an increase of personal on-site academic cooperation once again”
Not all relations with Russia have ended, with DWIH Moscow director Andreas Hoeschen maintaining relationships on an individual level at the German research centre in Russia’s capital city.
“The halting of cooperation at an institutional level does not mean that we are letting down individuals,” Hoeschen said in the report. However, the centre is operating as an exchange platform for German organisations with science experts in Russia only on an individual basis, he noted.
There were also “intense negotiations” concerning future DAAD budgets, with “great national and international support in this”, Kai continued. The German Bundestag confirmed a “robust budget increase” in November.
The #IgotfundedbyDAAD hashtag saw some 2,000 past and present scholarship holders talk about the impact of DAAD scholarships on their careers and lives.
“These were touching reports and statements that reached people’s hearts and that encouraged us in what we do,” he added.
Of the total 140,873 staff, students and doctoral candidates receiving DAAD international mobility funding in 2022, 71,051 were from Germany and 69,822 from abroad.
More than 20,000 of these people were DAAD scholarship holders, and just under 50,000 received funding as part of the ERASMUS+ program, the organisation noted. Others were funded via DAAD projects at higher education institutions both at home and abroad.
Some 10,000 Ukrainian students, researchers and staff were supported by DAAD and ERASMUS+ in 2022, a year when German higher education institutions enrolled 349,438 international students, almost 74,000 of whom were new students.
It also established a ‘Pop-up School’ teaching in Ukrainian for displaced students from Ukraine at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary in March 2022.
Last year also saw the organisation celebrate 70 years in London and a half century in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, as well as open new offices in Tbilisi, Georgia (supporting Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), a new German research centre in DWIH San Francisco, a new campus for the Vietnamese-German University in Ho Chi Minh City, along with a number of important events.
In total, there are six DWIH centres globally. In addition to San Francisco and Moscow, locations include Tokyo; New Delhi; Sao Paolo; and New York.
There are 60 DAAD offices around the world. Since 1950, the DAAD has helped a total of 1.7 million students and researchers from Germany and 1.2 million funding recipients from abroad to advance their academic careers.
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