Preliminary Agenda

Day 1 – March 20, 2017

How higher education and science can contribute to the achievement of all the SDGs

Higher education and science are seen as drivers of transformation in all development areas. The higher education and scientific community is tasked with developing visions for more sustainable societies, exploring development pathways, supporting sustainable technological and social innovation, and empowering people to shape the transformation process.

The following questions emerging from these challenges will guide our reflections and discussions:

  • What does sustainability mean for higher education and science and how can it be ensured?
  • What kind of higher education do we need to train qualified and responsible decision-makers, experts and scientists?
  • How can scientific research help to generate findings of relevance to the sustainable transformation of our society? How can we make better use of these findings?
  • Which kind of partnerships and communication structures are key to this process? Who learns from whom and what do they learn? Between South and North, with stakeholders from politics, society and business, and from the development cooperation arena.
  • How does the higher education and research sector need to proceed in order to fulfill these tasks? What good practices exist? What kind of resources and incentives are needed to support this development?



Welcome and Opening remarks

Roland Lindenthal, Head of Division, Education and the Digital World, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Barbara Unger and Hinrich Mercker, facilitators



Food for thought regarding the following questions:

What explicit and implicit roles does the 2030 Agenda attribute to higher education and science?

What is the current state of the art in debates and examples of ‘transformative higher education and research’ from a German, international and African perspective?

What kind of partnerships and alliances are essential to effective international and development cooperation in matters of global sustainability?

Prof. Dirk Messner, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Response: Prof. Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Rhodes University, South Africa

11:00-11:30 Tea / coffee break

Thinking Labs (TL) – cycle one

TL 1) German-Arab-Master’s Programmes (GAMP): South-North networks for joint learning and research in the development context

Werner Wasmuth, GIZ, Andreas Böhler, DAAD, Prof. Mohamed A. Salheen, Ain Shams University, Franziska Laue, University of Stuttgart

TL 2) New Partnerships for Innovation in Sustainable Development (NoPa): the connection between research support and development cooperation projects

Ilona Daun, DAAD, Christoph Buedke and Marcus Regis, GIZ

TL 3) Bilateral graduate schools contributing to the development of transformative research approaches

Lars Gerold, DAAD, Prof. Philipp Misselwitz, TU Berlin, Department of Architecture, Taki Sithagu, University of the Witwatersrand, School of Architecture and Planning, Aditya Kumar, Development Action Group (DAG)

TL 4) Labour market oriented higher education - cooperation between higher education institutions and the private sector

Dr. Karola Hahn, GIZ and Prof. Dr. Anton Mangstl; Prof. Jürgen Bode, University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS), Prof. Natheer Abu Obeid, German Jordanian University (GJU), Tobias Wolf, (DAAD) 


Lunch and poster market


First impressions from the Thinking Labs (plenary discussion)

Thinking Labs – cycle two


Tea / coffee break


Results from the Thinking Labs – rapporteurs from Thinking Labs engage in discussion with representatives of organising organizations

Dr. Thomas Hesse, Deputy Secretary General, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH)

Stefan Bienefeld, Head of Division Development Cooperation and Transregional Programmes, DAAD

Carsten Schmitz-Hoffmann, Director, Economic and Social Development Division, Department of Sector and Global Programmes, GIZ

Bettina Tewinkel, Head of Division Southern Africa, Health, Education, Social Protection, KfW Development Bank

Closing of day 1 and look ahead to day 2

Barbara Unger and Hinrich Mercker, facilitators

17:00-18:00 Guided tour of Gendarmenmarkt, Bebelplatz to the Humboldt University

Welcome and Opening Remarks at the Humboldt University (Senate Hall)

Prof. Eva-Inés Obergfell, Vice-President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Susanne Neubert, Director Centre for Rural Development

Prof. Narciso Matos, Pro-Rector of the Polytechnic University of Mozambique and  former Executive Director of the Foundation for Community Development

Reception at the Humboldt University (Senate Hall) and networking dinner


Day 2 – March 21, 2017

Higher education and science play an essential role in achieving SDG 4

As part of Sustainable Development Goal 4, the standards against which higher education will be measured are high: it should be universally accessible, affordable and of high quality. Furthermore, it should promote skills that are relevant for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. More scholarships should be granted to least developed countries in particular. There is a need for well-qualified researchers, teachers and competent graduates to fill seminal positions – in the global South as well as the global North.

The following questions will guide our reflections and discussions:

  • How can we ensure quality and relevance in higher education while at the same time expanding equal access and inclusion?
  • How do we finance higher education systems facing the challenges of quality and broader access? What mix of financial instruments is appropriate (public and private, North and South)?
  • How do we ensure that an increased number of scholarships for least developed countries have an impact on sustainable development?

Joining in

Barbara Unger and Hinrich Mercker


The keynote will focus on reflections on how to translate relevant targets of SDG 4 into meaningful and feasible higher education strategies at governmental and institutional level. Based on experiences from Latin America, the speaker will particularly address strategies and challenges with regard to enhancing quality and relevance in higher education while at the same time increasing access and inclusion in the sector.

Prof. Dilvo Ristoff, until recently Ministry of Education, Brazil

Interview with Dr. Beatrice Khamati Njenga, Head Education Division, African Union Commission


Open space session (OS)

OS 1) Inclusion and equity

Christoph Hansert and Lena Leumer, DAAD, Dr. Liz Marr, Open University, UK

OS 2) Financing higher education

Ulrich Jahn and Dr. Detlef Hanne, KfW

OS 3) Enhancing quality, governance and relevance – the role of higher education management

Stefan Bienefeld, DAAD, Prof. Dr. Mike Kuria, IUCEA, Dr. Karola Hahn, GIZ

OS 4) Scholarships within the 2030 Agenda

Cay Etzold, DAAD, Dr. Daniela Kneißl, AvH, Henner Kirchner, GIZ, Maren Kröger, UNHCR, Prof. Turoop Losenge, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

OS 5) What do we understand by interdisciplinarity?

Prof. Matthias Weiter, Humboldt University in Berlin, Gilda Monjane, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME)

OS 6) Transforming Higher Education in Africa

Prof. Phillip Clay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Piyushi Kotecha, Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA),  Prof. Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Rhodes University, South Africa


Tea / coffee break

11:45-12:15 Gallery walk: insights into the open space session

Wrap-up of the expert meeting

Impressions from an observer and final statements
Dr. Ingrid Jung, Senior Expert, Education for Sustainable Development

Fishbowl Session


Michael Holländer, Program Manager Sector Program Education, GIZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

13:15 onwards