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On 1 January 2020, Professor Joybrato Mukherjee became the new President of DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. In this capacity, he succeeds Professor Margret Wintermantel, formerly the President of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the University of Saarland. Wintermantel was also a board member of the European University Association (EUA).
Joybrato Mukherjee is not exactly a newcomer to DAAD. Since 2012, he has been serving two successive terms as the organisation’s Vice-President. Over these past eight years, he has also been the President of the University of Giessen. He was elected to the helm of this university in 2009, making him the youngest ever university president in Germany at the time. Joybrato Mukherjee will steer DAAD together with its new Vice-President, Professor Muriel Kim Helwig, who is also the President of the Technical University of Lübeck (Technische Hochschule Lübeck).
The son of Indian immigrants, Joybrato Mukherjee was born in Germany’s Rhineland. He also received his school and academic education in this part of the country, being awarded his Ph.D. and his habilitation (‘second doctorate’ in Germany) by Bonn University. He announced that there would be three foci of DAAD under his leadership. First, to continue to be one of the world’s largest funders of international mobility of students, staff and researchers. Second, as a provider of guidance to its member universities on strategic international cooperation. Third, and finally, as a think tank addressing the major challenges and woes of our times posing a threat to internationalisation, such as anti-intellectualism, nationalism and populism, authoritarian regimes, isolationist tendencies such as the Brexit, and climate change, amongst others.