Number of the Month: 90 years

DAAD 90 Jahre Logo

How about a course of study in Berlin, Munich, Singapore or Vancouver? Or perhaps a PhD in Hamburg or New York? For 90 years, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has been giving students and scholars the chance to study and research all over the world. Since it was founded in 1925, two million young academics have profited from its funding programmes.

A network that spans the world

Having started out as purely a scholarship organization, the world’s largest academic exchange funding organization has evolved to become a think-tank for academic cooperation that is able to draw on a wide-ranging global network:

  • 15 DAAD regional offices, including offices in Cairo and New Delhi since 1960 and in Hanoi since 2003
  • 56 information centres, including in Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and San José
  • 487 “Lektors” (Senior language teachers), including 154 in Central and Eastern Europe, 33 in North Africa and the Middle East, and 20 in Sub-Saharan Africa

From student initiative to the world’s largest funding organization

The DAAD was officially founded in 1925 as the result of a student initiative. It has since evolved to become the world’s largest academic exchange funding organization. These are the key milestones in the DAAD’s history:

  • 1925: Founding of the Academic Exchange Service in Heidelberg
  • 1931: Merger with the German Academic International Office of the Association of German Universities and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to form the German Academic Exchange Service
  • 1945: The first DAAD is disbanded at the end of the war in 1945. The DAAD is re-established in 1950
  • 1989-1991: Following reunification, the DAAD assumes responsibility for all East German programmes with nearly 10,000 scholarship holders
  • 2002: The DAAD is charged with coordinating academic reconstruction in Afghanistan. Ever since, the DAAD has provided increasing support to countries wishing to introduce democratic systems, such as the countries of the Arab Spring
  • 2013: Strategy 2020 is adopted: its aim is to increase international mobility among German students to 50 percent of every graduating class and to ensure that 350,000 foreign students are studying at German universities by 2020

DAAD website: