The 2009/2010 Academic Year has formally been opened at the Hertie School of Governance. We welcome all 116 new students, coming to Berlin from 36 different countries. At the same time, we'd like to extend warm congratulations to our first EMPM graduates.
The room is historic. After all, it once served as the main office for the German Democratic Republic's Ministry for Foreign Trade and Domestic Trade. But, in a city accustomed to looking back at the past and where history often seems to seep out of every crack in the pavement, the Hertie School of Governance's new students have their eyes firmly focused on the future.
This year, there are 116 of them, and they originate from 36 different countries. But, before the focus could be put squarely on the Hertie School's new students, they found that first they would have to share the limelight just a little bit. Opening the proceedings, Advisory Board Chairman Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf and Supervisory Board Chairman Dr. Michael Endres prepared the assembled audience for what was to come: a symbolic "passing of the torch".
A time to look back at what has been achieved - and a time to look forward, at the future, the horizon: Founding Dean Michael Zürn fondly recalled the initial pioneer spirit at the Hertie School - and how much has been achieved in the short time of its existence. Entrusting the Hertie School of Governance into the able hands of his successor, Professor Helmut K. Anheier, the old Dean proudly presented the new Dean with a dark-blue Hertie hoody.
In his keynote speech during the ceremony, Dean Anheier took the time to explain his views on what exactly "this governance thing" is - and why it is so fundamentally important to all of us. (The full text of Dean Helmut K. Anheier's speech is available as a .pdf download.) Undoubtedly, another highlight of the ceremony was the graduation of the first three EMPM students at the Hertie School of Governance. All three - Dr. Florian Meyerhöfer, Kirke Schulz, and Heike Thiele - enrolled with the first EMPM group in 2008 and have now successfully completed their one-year study programme. Congratulations go out to them!