Johanna Mair gives keynote on social innovation, DAAD and Dean’s Prizes awarded.
Hertie School President Henrik Enderlein opened the 2019 academic year at a ceremony on 3 September, welcoming 250 new master’s degree students from over 60 countries, 15 new doctoral students and exchange students from the school’s more than 30 partner universities.
Many friends and members of the Hertie School community attended: members of the Supervisory Board and Trustees, representatives of the Hertie Foundation, faculty, researchers, returning students, alumni and administration.
The academic year 2019/2020 will see many exciting developments at the Hertie School, Enderlein said in his introductory remarks, noting the opening of new Competence Centres and the hiring of new professors, as part of the Hertie School’s current expansion project.
Johanna Mair gave this year’s keynote, entitled “Organising in and for society.” Drawing from her research on social innovation, she discussed ways of tackling both new and persistent societal challenges. Mair offered insights into alternative forms of organising that combine approaches from different sectors to address social problems. She highlighted the role innovation and scaling play in creating impact – understood as making progress on a social problem.
To the incoming students, she said: “Our ambition is to make sure you develop state of the art analytical skills and to enhance your ability to form good judgment. You will need both to effectively tackle the challenge that is your challenge and to become the agent for change you aspire to become. Do not fall in love with the ‘right’ solution. Ask the relevant questions to develop the ‘appropriate’ solution in each situation.”
Listen to a podcast of her keynote:
Christine Reh, Dean of Graduate Programmes and Professor of European Politics presented this year’s DAAD Prize on behalf of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and this year’s recipients of the Dean’s Prize.
Winner of the DAAD Prize was Master of International Affairs student Tibbe van den Nieuwenhuijzen, for his “creative and focused work” in bridging the ties between the current Hertie School community and its alumni “on a topic of great relevance – sustainability,” Reh said. Tibbe designed and facilitated the spring alumni workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The DAAD prize is given by universities in Germany to honour an international degree-seeking student who has excelled academically and shown remarkable social or intercultural engagement.
This year’s Dean’s Prize was awarded to PhD candidate Luis Mejia and Master of Public Policy student Sanggeet Mithra Manirajah. Luis was last semester’s master’s thesis tutor and showed exceptional dedication and commitment to academic excellence in supporting second-year students researching and writing their theses. “He accomplished this with a big heart,” said Reh. As part of the school’s diversity and inclusion intiative, Sanggeet Mithra Manirajah was also honoured for her work conveying student input into the design of the community climate survey surrounding diversity and inclusion. “She accomplished this with great diplomacy,” said Reh.
The school also welcomed two prominent new faculty members: Dennis Snower, former president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), and Marina Henke, a security policy expert. In addition, the political scientist Simon Munzert, previously a lecturer at the Hertie School, joined the faculty as a junior professor.