Who we are

Mission, objectives and principles

Mission statement

Our mission is to:

Recognise that today’s governance and policy challenges require broad interdisciplinary knowledge and a rich repertoire of analytic as well as practical skills embedded in a culture of responsibility;

Acknowledge that such knowledge and skills are relevant across institutional sectors, be they government, business, or civil society;

Appreciate that diverse national and international perspectives enrich teaching and research and lead to cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches;

Realise that educating future generations of leaders requires challenging intellectual environments and dedication to teaching;

Understand that excellence in teaching rests on a vibrant research culture of outstanding scholarship;

And further recognise the importance of public discussion and scholarly debate to enhance the educational and academic experience of students and faculty alike.

Specifically, the school is to educate students who are equipped with state-of-the-art knowledge and analytic, as well as practical skills of policy studies; who are capable of applying their expertise to the complex problems of today’s world at local, national, and international levels; who are interdisciplinary in approach, intersectoral in outlook, and international in orientation; and who are intellectually open and with a deep sense of ethical responsibility towards the common good.



For furthering its vision and for adding value to its mission, the main objectives of the Hertie School are to become:

  • A leading institution of higher learning for the international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral study of governance and policy, with a shared emphasis on acquiring conceptual knowledge, analytic methods, and practical skills;
  • A centre of excellence in research on governance and policy issues that invites inter-disciplinary, cross-sectoral approaches informed by comparative, international perspectives;
  • A recognised platform for vibrant public debate and engaged intellectual discourse among academic experts and policy-makers for presenting and discussing policy issues and their implications; and
  • A sought-after, reliable, and highly-valued resource of top-quality expertise and state-of-the-art knowledge to governments, businesses, and civil society.


The Hertie School objectives rest on five principles that flow from the School's mission:

1. Interdisciplinarity

The School's teaching and research activities address ‘real-world’ concerns, balancing a practical, problem-oriented approach based on the insights from across the social sciences, as well as law and history, with a sound conceptual understanding of underlying patterns and processes of governance and policy-making.

2. A trisectoral approach

New governance structures and policy fields are developing at the intersections of the state, the economy, and civil society. With the public sector remaining a central focus, the School recognises the growing importance of private institutions (business, civil society) and models of multi-sector governance.

3. Internationality

Such new governance models and policy fields are found at all levels: national, regional, and international. In this respect, the School focuses on the potential of multi-level governance in a globalising world. The School brings together students, faculty, and practitioners from Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and other world regions and is an integral part of a network of leading policy schools.

4. Practice orientation

The creative tension between the analysis and the practise of policy characterises the School's approach to leadership education: an emphasis on applied research issues; the integration of practitioners into teaching to bring in ‘real-world’ perspectives; the placement of students in outside institutions to expose them to the complexities of modern governance and policy-making; and the School's assistance in identifying opportunities for students upon graduation.

5. Ethics and leadership responsibility

Stewardship for the common good requires deep-seated understanding of the ethical and moral basis of leadership, public trust, and social responsibility. The School seeks to imprint appropriate values, dispositions, and behaviours in students throughout the curriculum, giving special attention to the ethical and moral implications of leadership and policy-making in modern societies.

Together, these principles constitute the Hertie School Approach: The three ‘I’s (interdisciplinary, intersectoral, international) form the bedrock of the School's self-understanding and determination.

By combining academic and practice-orientations in teaching and research, the School serves as an ongoing forum for scholarship and politics to interact in new ways. To the extent that the School, as an institution of higher learning, embraces the world of governance and policy-making and reaches out to the ‘real world’, the School invites the interest of stakeholders in politics, business, and civil society to participate in its programmes and activities.