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15 May 2002

Encouraging Excellence in Hungary

University of Heidelberg and German-speaking Andrássy University in Budapest sign cooperation agreement — Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff: "New format for exporting teaching" — Rector Prof. Dr. György Hazai: "We are proud and grateful that the Hungarian government has taken this initiative"

The University of Heidelberg and the German-speaking Andrássy University in Budapest have signed an innovative cooperation agreement. With the support it involves for the course on "Comparative Governmental and Legal Studies" at the Andrássy University, the University of Heidelberg has expanded its existing partnerships with Central European universities to include a programme specifically designed to encourage outstanding excellence at the post-graduate level. Talking to journalists today, Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff underlined the major significance of this "new format for exporting teaching". He said that the cooperation also opened up extremely interesting prospects for the long-time partnership with Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University and for upcoming generations of scholars and scientists.

At the signing of the agreement in the bel étage of the Old University in Heidelberg, Professor Dr. György Hazai, founding Rector of the Andrássy University, expressed his immense gratification at having achieved "this important agreement". He went on to note that his university was the first instance since the Second World War of a German-speaking university being founded in Hungary or its neighbouring countries. "We are proud and grateful that the Hungarian government has taken this initiative."

With the cooperation agreement Heidelberg is breaking new ground in its international relations. Its purpose is to support the post-graduate course on "Comparative Governmental and Legal Studies" at the first newly established university in Central and Eastern Europe reintroducing German as the language used for its research and teaching. The Andrássy University of Budapest was established by the Hungarian government to educate a leadership elite of young people from East and West qualified to master the challenges posed by the ongoing unification of Europe.

The design is to develop those skills that will qualify graduates for top-ranking posts in Hungary, institutions of the European Union and international business enterprises. The conception is thus targeted at above-average graduates, one- third of whom will be coming from German-speaking countries, Hungary and other Central and Eastern European countries respectively. They have a choice of three post-graduate courses. The Hungarian initiative has already received pledges of support from Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Austria and also from the German Academic Exchange Service.

The cooperation with the University of Heidelberg enables the Andrássy University of Budapest to write into the degree of legum litterarum magister conferred by the Diploma awarded to students successfully completing "Comparative Governmental and Legal Studies" that the course has been taken in the framework of the cooperation with the University of Heidelberg. Another part of the agreement is that the degree awarded by the Andrássy University will be recognised as part of the qualifications required to embark on a doctorate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Heidelberg. The agreement provides further for the establishment of a Joint Committee for the realisation of the course in line with the overall terms of the cooperation agreement. In addition, there will be deliberations on the prospects for establishing a joint course leading to a joint graduation option.

In the cooperation agreement the University of Heidelberg formally undertakes to make proposals to the Andrássy University for suitably qualified scholars from Baden-Württemberg to join its teaching staff either as professors or as non-professorial instructors, notably in the fields of European Law and Business Law, and also to arrange grants for students. The funding for the emolument of persons appointed on the basis of this procedure and for the grants in question will be provided by the State Foundation of Baden-Württemberg, which has adopted the procedure as a project of its own. Within this framework there are plans to appoint two professors and award up to ten grants over the next five years, alongside financial support for doctoral students and special events in Budapest.

Professor Dr. Peter-Christian Müller-Graff, Rectorate Commissioner and Dean of Heidelberg's Faculty of Law declared that "the cooperation agreement opens up both to the University of Heidelberg and to the Andrássy University of Budapest entirely new avenues for encouraging outstanding excellence in the interests of European cooperation."

Support from the State Foundation for Andrássy University

Talking to journalists, Dr. Andreas Weber explained why the Baden-Württemberg State Foundation has decided to join the University of Heidelberg in supporting the establishment of the course on "Comparative Governmental and Legal Studies" and to provide the study awards coming from Baden-Württemberg. The Foundations consider this support to be a contribution to meeting the constantly increasing demand for scholars from the upcoming generation with an international and interdisciplinary approach to their work.

If unification is to be productive, Dr. Weber said, a newly structured Europe will need leaders able, over and above their excellence in their specific subjects, to look beyond the national boundaries. "For Baden-Württemberg's standing in terms of scientific and scholarly excellence, it is of crucial significance to play a central role in this enterprise."

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: 24.05.2002


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