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24 July 2001

University of Heidelberg Strengthens its Commitments in Latin America

"Heidelberg Center" in Chile an innovative departure — Support from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Higher Education — Cooperation with the leading Chilean universities — Rector Professor Jürgen Siebke: "The University of Heidelberg thus enhances its already excellent standing in Latin America."

The University of Heidelberg has founded a "Heidelberg Center" for the transfer of higher-education teaching offerings from Germany to Latin America. The centre of postgraduate studies is located in Santiago de Chile. With this new institution, says Rector Prof. Dr. Jürgen Siebke, "Heidelberg can enhance its already excellent standing and reputation in Latin America even further."

The universities of the United States are a major attraction for students from Latin America. "With our initiative," said Siebke, "we are fulfilling the desire of many top decision-makers in Latin America to strengthen German presence on the higher-education market there and to facilitate student access to the educational traditions of the Old World."

The Heidelberg Center designs post-graduate and further education courses for fee-paying students. The Center is a limited company under Chilean law and is situated in Santiago de Chile, which has an excellent reputation in Latin a higher-education location and centre of scholarship.

The University of Heidelberg already has a close working relationship with the two main Chilean universities, the Pontifica Universidad Católica and the Universidad de Chile. Both universities number various Heidelberg graduates among their teaching staff and attract students from all over Latin America. Successful academic cooperation, intensification of the alumni network and the increasing economic and political significance of the region are all major factors in the bid to strengthen the presence of science, research and scholarship made in Germany.

Building a challenging study programme

The Heidelberg Center aims at establishing a rich and challenging programme of M.A. courses and Executive Programs. Renowned teaching staff mostly from Heidelberg will be directing the courses in Chile in the form of intensive seminars of a week's duration or more. In addition, teaching staff from Chilean universities with German academic qualifications will also be offering courses. The M.A. courses are designed for Latin American students with excellent degrees to their name. The Executive Programs are targeted at future leaders in politics, the business and economic world, administration and science. They serve the transfer of subject matter taken from the whole range of courses on offer in Heidelberg. The demand for these courses in Latin America is high.

The Heidelberg Center is planned to open its doors in March 2002. The offerings are as follows: one one-year and one two-year Masters courses in European Political Studies; one-to-two-week Executive Programs on "Suffrage and Election Organisation in Latin America", "Comparative Security Policy", "Medical Informatics", "Medical Physics", "Environmental Physics", "Neonatal Care", and "Systemic Therapy and Counselling". Two further M.A. courses and three short-term programmes are in the planning stage.

The "Heidelberg Master" degree

Teaching languages are English and Spanish. Staff from Heidelberg's International Studies Centre will be providing courses in general and scientific German to prepare students for their obligatory term of study in Heidelberg in connection with their dissertations. The degree obtained at the end is the "Heidelberg Master", awarded either by Heidelberg University alone or in conjunction with partner universities. Certificates for the Executive Programs are issued by the Center itself. Graduates will be offered doctoral studies and participation in trainee programmes run by major companies in the Heidelberg region.

In its initial stages the Center will receive funding from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Higher Education, the University of Heidelberg and the German Academic Exchange Service. The ultimate aim is to cover the costs from the study fees, which differ according to the duration and intensity of the various courses.

The Academic Director of the programme is political scientist Prof. Dr. Dieter Nohlen, whose research centres on Latin America and who numbers the present Chilean defence minister Prof. Dr. Mario Fernández among his former doctoral students. Administrative Director in the initial stages is Dr. Walter Eckel (Heidelberg), Director of the International Studies Centre. He was visiting professor at the Universidad Católica of Santiago from 1994 to 1996.

Other initiators of the Heidelberg Center, alongside Prof. Nohlen and Dr. Eckel, are head of the International Relations Department, Dr. Joachim Gerke, and Albrecht Beyer, director of Heidelberg Alumni International. All four are convinced that this innovative venture will be a decisive asset for Germany's most venerable university in the competition for the best minds from abroad, a priority writ large in German higher-education policy at the moment.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 27.07.2001


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