Heidelberg Alumni International (HAI) again receives funding from “Alumni-Plus,” a Program of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD)
A "plus” for the alumni work: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) again makes funds available to the University of Heidelberg through its program "Alumni-Plus.” Alumni-Plus helps German universities establish connections to and support their international alumni. Heidelberg University uses the funds to implement important elements of the Heidelberg concept: preparatory trips for the foundation of clubs in different countries, ‘club seminars’ in Heidelberg and the development of the internet portal "HAInet.”
Ruprecht Karls University has been servicing its alumni and researchers all over the world for eleven years now. This is not the first time that the DAAD has supported some Heidelberg alumni projects. Within the scope of the still new Alumni-Plus program, the DAAD has provided funds in the total amount of 140,500 euros over the next three and a half years, until the end of 2009. This didn’t happen automatically: 46 applications have been presented by different German universities; however, only 25 have been selected in this round to receive funding or partial funding. At Heidelberg University, the money will be used for the realization of the new club concept of Heidelberg Alumni International (HAI).
"The clubs are the hub of our alumni network. This is why they have to be thoroughly planned and cared for,” said Silke Rodenberg, director of HAI, about the concept. The clubs will institutionalize the services for international Heidelberg alumni in different countries. "During the foundation phase, organizational structures will be established and programs will be worked out — by the members themselves. An essential part of this exciting beginning phase is the intensive exchange of information between the founders of the club and Heidelberg University. Often just a little input is needed to turn the good ideas of the alumni into realities. HAI sees its task as giving this kind of input,” explained Rodenberg. Being the person who provides such input, she went to Paris and New York last year to attend preparatory meetings, after French and American alumni had taken first steps towards the foundation of Heidelberg Alumni Clubs.
A new instrument and an important part of the concept for implementing the club idea are "Alumni Seminars.” The first seminar held by Heidelberg University took place in December 2007 in Heidelberg. Among the guests were current and future board members of the clubs in France, Greece, Luxembourg and the USA. Discussion points included country specific characteristics as well as difficulties and strategies for solving problems during the foundation process. The alumni defined milestones for 2008, and representatives of the University informed participants about the newest developments at Ruperto Carola. All the alumni taking part in the seminar shared their joy of being back in Heidelberg. This was highly motivating and evoked a strong feeling of community, which would have been difficult to achieve through mail, telephone or e-mail contact only. The next Alumni Club Seminar has already been planned: it will take place in fall 2008.
The third pillar of the concept, funded with the help of Alumni-Plus, is the internet portal "HAInet.” This portal offers a clearly structured platform for the exchange of information by Heidelberg alumni from all over the world. The portal enables them to easily share their interests. "With ‘HAInet,’we have created a completely new level of communication between alumni, between the clubs themselves and between alumni and their alma mater,” is how Rodenberg emphasized the importance of the internet portal for the alumni concept.
The worldwide alumni service at Heidelberg University has played a special role since the foundation of Heidelberg Alumni International eleven years ago. Now the global network of alumni becomes tighter thanks to the Alumni-Plus funding. That the Heidelberg concept works is shown in the intention of DAAD to offer a seminar for club foundations abroad for alumni representatives of German universities for the first time.
If you have further questions, please contact:
Heidelberg Alumni International
phone: +49 (0)6221 542339
fax: +49 (0)6221 542232
If you are a media representative, please contact:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer