How to solve global problems collaboratively? Young professionals from 24 countries go on a virtual learning journey

Press release of 18 August 2020

How can international collaboration and knowledge cooperation be successful? How can we shape societies worldwide and make them more sustainable? The Managing Global Governance (MGG) Academy of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) will dedicate itself to these demanding questions. The MGG Academy 2020 has started on 17 August. It is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

This year, the four month dialogue and training programme will, for the first time in 13 years, not take place in Bonn, Germany, due to the corona crisis. In order to make human encounters and individual learning possible nevertheless, DIE has developed an innovative, virtual concept for the Academy.

For Sven Grimm, Head of DIE’s Research Programme Inter- and Transnational Cooperation, international cooperation between individuals, institutions and states is essential, especially during the Corona Pandemic: “The seeking of global solutions to challenges of humankind cannot stop during a pandemic that requires social distancing. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge in itself that we need to combat jointly. Meanwhile, digital interactions allow for continuous engagement - and come with new opportunities,” Grimm says.

How can different academic, political, cultural and personal perspectives be brought together in such a way that constructive solutions to global challenges can be found? The MGG Academy counts on a mixture of international and regional video conferences and asynchronous learning. Eventually, the 24 participants come together from eight countries and seven different time zones. In addition, they all develop their own change maker project, which they will carry out in their institution, initiative or private environment.

For Dr Tatjana Reiber, Head of the MGG Academy, digital learning and virtual exchange spark a great chance: “The digital MGG Academy is an excellent opportunity for all of us to practice virtual collaboration in diverse, global teams – a core competence for international collaboration and knowledge cooperation. The most exciting question is how open dialogue and trust can be established in virtual space.”

The MGG Academy brings together highly qualified young professionals from rising powers and from Europe. This year, 24 young change-makers from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Mexico, and South Africa are taking part. In their home countries, they work in ministries, research institutes, think tanks, civil society organisations or the private sector.

During the MGG Academy, they will discuss pressing global challenges such as climate change, digitalisation and social inequalities. The participants will not only debate how to shape a transformation towards sustainable development or trusting international cooperation. They will also learn to take on new perspectives and will become change makers themselves, actively kicking off transformation processes. One week of the programme will be hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office, who will dive into the possibilities and limitations of diplomacy in times of crisis with the participants under the motto “International Futures”.