Alumni are a source of ideas

Graduates of the Development-Related Postgraduate Courses (EPOS) met for the third year – this time at the DAAD Office in Hanoi. Together with employers from the region, they developed ideas for pilot projects to support scholarship holders upon their return home.

Reintegration in Vietnam: this topic occupied Epos alumni and employers in Hanoi © DAAD Hanoi

Reintegration in Vietnam: this topic occupied Epos alumni and employers in Hanoi © DAAD Hanoi

“Vietnam and Southeast Asia have especially many EPOS graduates. This makes Hanoi the ideal location for a workshop on reintegration in the domestic labour market”, says Anke Stahl, Head of the DAAD Regional Office in Hanoi. She previously served as Head of the EPOS programme for seven years at the DAAD’s central office in Bonn. The September event was jointly organised by the EPOS courses Regional Planning and Development Management at the TU Dortmund and Development Management at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Because the concept of inviting alumni and employers from the region had proved successful at the 2015 workshop in Nairobi, the graduates again took up the perspective of those returning with an international education. The employers came from the areas of economics and environmental sciences as well as development cooperation and were active in higher education, government ministries or business.

Aligning Expectations
Ario Putra, who studied Aquatic Tropical Ecology as an EPOS scholarship holder at the Universität Bremen from 2009 to 2011, appreciated the change in perspective. “The employers know which approaches and qualifications applicants need and where expectations diverge.” The Indonesian believes that communication channels must be created for returning graduates and employers so that they can align their expectations.

Together in small groups, workshop participants identified problems and developed ideas for pilot projects. DAAD alumna, Dr Ha Hoang, for instance, pursued the idea of a regional workshop series. “We’d like to focus on a different topic each time. The first workshop would deal with climate change and how Vietnam and its neighbours could counteract the effects.” The Vietnamese alumna earned her doctorate on this topic in 2011 at the Universität Greifswald.

Lively debate: The participants exchanged ideas and swapped experiences © DAAD Hanoi

Lively debate: The participants exchanged ideas and swapped experiences © DAAD Hanoi

Projects with Potential

This idea also met with warm interest at the DAAD. “A series organised by the alumni themselves could form the basis for new research projects and be implemented within the framework of existing DAAD programmes”, says Regional Office Head Anke Stahl. Ideas with a focus on creating specialist networks have potential, too. All groups have agreed to draw up outlines by the end of the year and submit them to the workshop organisers and the DAAD Office in Hanoi. “We can then plan how to carry out these ideas with assistance from German and perhaps also international sponsors”.

The result reveals the significance of alumni work for the DAAD. “The alumni are our most effective ambassadors in the world and the source of many of our ideas”, says Anke Stahl. Tran Ngoc Diep, a Vietnamese who studied Development Management in Bochum, is fully conscious of this appreciation. “The DAAD not only invests in our education, but also ensures that we make a social contribution to our home country. As a DAAD alumna, I obtain access to information and job opportunities that others don’t have.” In Hanoi, she, along with 40 other participants, contributed to ensuring that future scholarship holders also benefit from these advantages.

Links to previous reintegration workshops:
Nairobi 2015
Bonn 2014