50 Years of Research, Consultation and Training: The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Event Type

Bonn, 04.09.2014 until 05.09.2014

German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) celebrated its 50th anniversary from 4-5 September 2014 in Bonn. In the presence of 300 guests, the Parliamentary State Secretary Hans-Joachim Fuchtel from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that the significance of the DIE, founded in 1964 with the goal of training specialists, has long since established itself as a ‘brand name’ in the field of development policy research, policy advice and training.

With the German Development Institute, a whole political and research area celebrates its birthday, which – in view of increasing international integration and the growing significance of many emerging and developing countries – is gaining in relevance, according to State Secretary Fuchtel. International cooperation today, however, takes place in geopolitical constellations which have changed in the last 50 years ago, added Svenja Schulze, Minister for Innovation, Science and Research in the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia. “As long as we don’t succeed in eradicating poverty, hunger and squalor in the crisis-hit regions of this world, thinking about peace, international security and stability is out of the question,” Minister Schulze said. Asymmetric conflicts, such as in Iraq or Iran, a binding agreement on climate protection in 2015, an understanding on universal development goals within the context of the post-2105 agenda, as well as work on cross-border solutions to combat the causes of hunger, war and exodus pose central challenges for the global community as a whole. DIE-Director Dirk Messner therefore issued a warning to the ceremonial guests present: “Global interdependence calls for a new quality of international cooperation – otherwise it will change into global risks or intensify worldwide crises.” 

Following the ceremony, the international conference addressed the theme “Research for sustainable and global development: Perspectives, reorientations, controversies” with the question where development research and development policy are today and how they should be organised in future. Even if the number of people living in absolute poverty and of societies belonging to the least developed countries in the world, has dropped over the last few decades, the unanimous opinion of the conference was that combating poverty remains a main aim of international development policy. Development policy as a global social policy and international solidarity in the fight against inacceptable living conditions are therefore still of great relevance. Yet there has still been a noticeable, radical change process in the area of development policy. Global interdependence today generates global opportunities and risks. An increasingly interconnected global population has to protect the common ground of human civilisation – its global commons.

Development policy, according to the opinion of the panellists and audience, is not necessarily prepared for the new challenges, but there is no crisis of legitimacy for development policy and research. On the contrary, it must encourage new reciprocal forms of cooperation and alliances, which focus on the relevance of their actions in development research and policy advice and make a stronger effort to adapt to change. Pioneers and examples of good practice in the area of sustainable development or in the creation of efficient tax systems can also be found today in developing and emerging countries. Now the task is to connect this global knowledge, make it freely accessible and also to use it.

Those aspects and many other “hot topics” were discussed at the Alumni workshop within 11 discussion rounds, taking place in DIE during the afternoon of 5 September. The five research departments of DIE, plus the interdisciplinary DIE Africa group presented two topics each and had invited the alumni of the Postgraduate training programme as well as alumni from the MGG programme to actively take part. Eleven of them were specifically invited as discussants in order to give some critical incidents into the debates. From the MGG side the following MGG alumni took part in the workshop and commented the topics: Hu Dawei (MGG 1), Archna Negi (MGG 2), Wang Qiang (MGG 2), Philani Mtembu (MGG 4), Karan Singh (MGG 5), Juliana Figale (MGG 6), Zirahuen Villamar (MGG 7), Sayan Samanta (MGG 10), Heba Mohsen (MGG 11), LIAO Lan (MGG 12) and Shaista Bunyard (MGG 12). 

The feedback from the discussion tables was very convincing; moreover some of the debates must have been very lively and exciting. In line with this format, previously tested at the Postgraduate alumni workshop in 2009, this positive feedback provided us with a good reference for ideas and events to come in the future.

Event information

04.09.2014 until 05.09.2014

Hotel Königshof, Bonn


50-Years-Celebration Day 1

© German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

50-Years-Celebration Day 2

© German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

50 years Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Video 2


Half a century of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in an online timeline with many historic photos.

Impressions of the Anniversary