Diverse and Dynamic CooperationAalen University celebrates 20 years of partnership with South Africa

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Steffen Schwarzer, the future partnership representative, with Dr. Alfred Ngowi from the Central University of Technology (CUT) in South Africa and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur.

We, 12. October 2022

Aalen University celebrates its 20-year partnership with the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 2022 under the motto "Responsible Higher Education". The partner universities celebrated their successful cooperation with a hybrid three-day conference that took place at the end of September at the two CUT campuses, transmitted digitally to Aalen University.

Three days of celebrations were held on the campuses of the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein and Welkom. The cooperation between CUT and Aalen University has already lasted 20 years. So that the rectorate, staff and students in Aalen could also be part of the event in South Africa, the conference was broadcasted live to the senate hall of the university.

Rectors, Prof. Dr. Alfred Ngowi from CUT and Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel from Aalen University opened the event with festive speeches. Both agreed that the success of their partnership is due to its diversity and dynamics and that cooperation is a vital practice for others. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur, the partnership representative, was also acknowledged: "I would like to express my sincere thanks for Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur's tireless efforts to build up and sustain our cooperation. Without him, we would not be celebrating here together today!" said Harald Riegel.

Prior to the anniversary conference, a series of workshops had already taken place in which professors from both universities jointly organized a total of ten digital workshops on various subject and research topics, all of which dealt with the theme of "Responsible Higher Education".

20 years of exchange in research and teaching

The presentations, project showcases and seminars provided insight into the wide-ranging twenty years of cooperation in research and teaching, but also in areas such as innovation, transfer, sustainable development or internationalization. Students from either institutions who have completed or are currently completing an exchange semester at the partner university reported on the formative experiences they were able to gather. Rebecca Eisele, a student of business psychology who studied at CUT a year ago, is convinced that Germany can learn a lot from South Africa on the topic of diversity. For Jan Pöhler, a student of business administration for SMEs, who returned from South Africa last summer, it was the many new friendships particular that enriched him in particular. Since the beginning of the cooperation, over 130 exchange students from both universities have benefited from the partner network, as well as students from the university's Graduate Campus.

Projects with a future

Much of the attention at the anniversary conference was on projects for the future. For example, projects in the field of artificial intelligence are planned for the coming years to help South African farmers deal with the consequences of climate change.