Press release

Anniversary Forum: Hertie School kicks off the grand finale of its anniversary year

To celebrate its 20th birthday, the Hertie School has hosted events and competitions throughout the year. For two days high-ranking figures from politics and academia come together in Berlin to address pressing questions about the future. 

Berlin, 10 June 2024. “Bon anniversaire”, “herzlichen Glückwunsch”, “Hyvää syntymäpäivää” – from French President Emmanuel Macron to German Minister of Economics Robert Habeck and Finnish President Alexander Stubb, the list of well-wishers for the Hertie School is as international as the university itself, where about 800 students from over 70 countries are now learning the basics of modern governance. To conclude its anniversary celebrations, the Hertie School has brought together high-ranking guests from politics and academia to discuss at Berlin’s Humboldt Carré 10-11 June. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, head of the Munich Security Conference Christoph Heusgen, German Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius, and former EU foreign policy chief and President of the College of Europe Federica Mogherini will discuss pressing issues of the future, such as polarisation, security and education policy, at the conference “Europe at a crossroads”.

“Twenty years of academic research and teaching on modern governance at the interface of politics, business and civil society – that is what the Hertie School stands for like no other university in Germany,” says President Cornelia Woll. “In 20 years, the Hertie School has become one of the most renowned universities for modern governance. To celebrate this achievement, we would like to take a look into the future with international guests.”

“Democracy is only as strong as those who support it. For this reason, the Hertie School, with its mission to strengthen good governance, is an important anchor in the German and international educational landscape,” notes Annette Schavan, Chairwoman of the Hertie Foundation's Executive Board, in her congratulatory speech on the school’s 20th birthday.

Events celebrating the Hertie School’s 20th birthday

To celebrate its 20th birthday, the Berlin university launched an anniversary year in September 2023, in which it not only looked back on its own history but also took a glimpse into the future. Under the motto “Looking back to move forward”, in the 2023/2024 Academic Year, students were invited to debate the greatest challenges of the future in an essay competition; students, alumni and employees of the Hertie School were invited to choose the 20 most influential women in the history of the university in an international competition; and students and alumni of the school came together at numerous alumni events, from Buenos Aires to Berlin, to discuss career opportunities and the future of higher education. Many prominent well-wishers visited the university not only to bring birthday greetings, but also to discuss current political issues with students: Finnish President Alexander Stubb, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and British historian Harold James and economist Adam Tooze are just a few of the guests we hosted this year.

The Hertie Futures Forum was the centrepiece of the celebrations. Created for the anniversary year, this series of events brought together experts from politics, academia and business throughout the year to debate relevant questions about the future: what are the security policy challenges of the next 20 years, and how effective is sustainability policy? President Woll and Professors from the Hertie School discussed these and other topics with German Minister and Head of the Chancellery Wolfgang Schmidt, German State Secretary Jennifer Morgan, and scholars Constanze Stelzenmüller and Timothy Garton Ash, among others. 

International and interdisciplinary: 20 years of the Hertie School

The Hertie School owes its conception and foundation to the non-profit Hertie Foundation. The university is based on one of the foundation's pillars: strengthening democracy. The foundation has remained the university's main sponsor for 20 years. The Hertie School was inaugurated in 2004 by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder; in 2005, the university welcomed its first 30 students in the Master of Public Policy programme. 

After they receive their diplomas, graduates of the Berlin university are not only employed in the traditional centres of government: “About ten years ago, public administration was the natural employer for a large number of our alumni. That has changed,” says Cornelia Woll. About a third of graduates work in public administration, with an even larger proportion (46 per cent) working in the private sector. The third sector, which includes NGOs and political startups, employs nearly a quarter of graduates. Almost all alumni hold a permanent position one year after graduation.

The alumni of the Hertie School reflect the university’s diversity. From party founder and Member of the European Parliament Damian Boeselager (Volt Europa) to former Albanian Minister of Education Besa Shahini, Mexican road safety activist Alejandra Leal Vallejo and Berlin-based Jeff Kwasi Klein, who has dedicated himself to promoting inclusive politics as a founder and co-director of NGOs: Hertie School alumni are active in many fields and are at home all over the world.

Campaign collects donations for move in 2026

The anniversary year also marks the start of a large-scale fundraising campaign: as part of the Capital Campaign, the university wants to attract donations and sponsors for its new campus on Dorotheenstraße, as well as to fund student scholarships. The listed historic building which once belonged to the medical and technical faculty of the Friedrich Wilhelm University, the predecessor of the Humboldt University of Berlin, is currently undergoing extensive renovation and should be ready for occupancy by 2026.

About the Hertie School

For 20 years, the Hertie School has been teaching, researching and communicating on issues of policymaking and good governance in the heart of Berlin. The university-based school offers master's degree programmes, doctoral programmes and customised training for public sector leaders. Under the guiding principle “Understand today. Shape tomorrow.”, about 150 academics conduct research at the Hertie School. The university's hallmark is its practice-oriented teaching and international orientation. Six competence centres strengthen its expertise in sustainability, fundamental rights, as well as digital, security and European policy. The Hertie School was founded in 2004 by the non-profit Hertie Foundation and has been largely supported by it ever since. It is state-recognised and accredited by the German Council of Science and Humanities.

Press contact

Benjamin Stappenbeck, Director of Communications
+49 (0) 30 259 219 – 246
+49 (0)160 911 66 983