Learning in times of the virus – A different way of entering international development cooperation

The 56th course of the Postgraduate Programme at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) will begin on 1 September 2020. At this time, 18 young professionals in international development cooperation will start their nine-month training course, which DIE has been running since 1965. Confronted with the pandemic, DIE has had to cancel numerous events in the past months or move to the digital space. With the course, a small piece of normality is now returning to the institute’s premises, albeit under tightened security and hygiene guidelines. However, the course will be conducted as a blended learning format.

The participants will meet as usual for their plenary phase at the DIE. Thanks to the large premises – the junior staff meet in a hall designed for more than 100 people – an adequate safety distance will be guaranteed at all times. The hygiene rules are monitored by a team of representatives who change on a weekly basis.

In addition, digital lectures by external speakers are planned. New technical equipment will enable the exchange of information with guests and lecturers during the events, despite contact restrictions. The further worldwide course of the pandemic will show whether a core aspect of the renowned Postgraduate Programme can take place: the participants‘ departure to the research teams‘ original target countries. As usual, this year’s course will also provide intensive training in methodological work. The upcoming research work will be carried out in close digital cooperation with the local partners in the target countries. As an alternative to the research stays in the target countries, a series of site visits to International Organisations based in Europe are also planned.

“The current exceptional situation means a high level of responsibility for the Institute as well as for the young researchers themselves,” says Dr Regine Mehl, Head of the Postgraduate Programme, with a view to the course start. Despite the difficult circumstances, the course participants are motivated. The tenor is: “We accept the challenge,” says Mehl.

Every year, the nine-month Postgraduate Programme at DIE prepares 18 German and European university graduates for a career in international development cooperation. The participants deal with the practical challenges of sustainable development in a globalised world.

Watch a video about the programme here:

Read more about the building blocks of the programme in this flyer