For Leipzig University, the partnership with Stellenbosch University in South Africa – coupled with the accompanying friendship between people – is an excellent example of successful academic and research collaboration, and an important instrument to improve Leipzig’s institutional profile in teaching and research worldwide.

We are continuously working towards expanding the linkages outside of the humanities, and trust that staff and students on both sides will use the opportunities available as a result of the favourable conditions created by Leipzig’s AAA.

Robert Kotzé, Stellenbosch University

The partnership between Stellenbosch and Leipzig University deserves a special mention for many reasons. In many aspects, it is the perfect example of successful cooperation for the development of reciprocal and mutually productive academic contacts.

  1. For institutional integration:
    Joint programmes integrate different curricula at both universities, such as German and German as a Foreign Language, or Global Studies and Poitical Science. Such integrated study programmes establish strong links and commitment between two departments and even across faculties, providing fertile ground for academic networks.
  2. For diversity:
    A considerable number of academic fields are involved: collaboration has ranged from the disciplines of chemistry, theology and economics, right the way through to German as a foreign language, global studies and sustainable development.
    Our collaboration in teaching is complemented by joint research projects.
    This cooperation is carried out bilaterally as well as within consortia (e.g. Global Studies).
  3. For history:
    The partnership has been built up systematically since 1997. Stellenbosch University was nominated as Leipzig University’s South African partner by a group of scholars and adminstrative staff at Leipzig. It was a mutual, grass-roots democratic decision that continues to yield ever more successful results. Despite and because of all the entanglements of both universities in the different past political systems and their aim to re-position themselves anew in a changed society, the challenges and contributions constitute another element that links Leipzig and Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch is a special case. In a laboratory, you should trust your colleagues when you experiment with new methods and chemicals. With our colleagues, we will develop new “medicine” to make us even “fitter” in terms of internationalisation.

Dr Svend Poller, International Centre Director, Leipzig University

A Comprehensive Partnership

Since 2011, scholars of Leipzig’s Institute of African Studies have been hosted as guest lecturers at Stellenbosch University. More recently, Leipzig’s Professor Rose Marie Beck and Stephanie Rudwick have conducted several academic meetings, debating issues related to the ethnification of languages in Africa.

Partners at Leipzig University: 

Partners at Stellenbosch University: 

The cooperation with Stellenbosch’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences reaches as far back as 2001. Mutual activities in the academic fields of area and global studies have traditionally been extensive:

Partners at Leipzig University: 

  • Professor Ulf Engel: Institute of African Studies and European and Global Studies Institute; Professor Extraordinaire at the Department of Political Science (Stellenbosch University); fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) 
  • Professor Matthias Middell: Global and European Studies Institute; Director of the MA programme in Global Studies; spokesperson of the Centre for Areas Studies; Director of the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences 

Partners at Stellenbosch University: 

Further information:

In 2013, the Institute of Business Education and Management Training (Leipzig) and the Business School as well as the Department of Business Management (both Stellenbosch) joined forces for their project “Crossing Boundaries: A Joint Environment for Research-Based Teaching and Learning”. This has so far produced and will continue to produce innovative formats of teaching and learning in business management and business education at both universities. The development and implementation of these formats is based on scientific research conducted and supervised by scholars from Leipzig and Stellenbosch. To that end, a lively dialogue has been established between scholars. When visiting each other, they are actively involved in teaching activities. 

Partners at Leipzig University:

Partners at Stellenbosch University: 

In recent years, Professor Evamarie Hey-Hawkins from the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy has been cooperating with Professor Klaus R. Koch of Stellenbosch’s Department of Chemistry and Polymer Sciences. Koch is renowned for his work in the field of platinum-group metals (PGM), which are of great importance to South Africa as the world’s largest supplier of these materials. Scientists from Leipzig and Stellenbosch jointly conduct basic research on PGM and are developing a training programme to meet the future needs of the industry.

Partners at Leipzig University:

Partners at Stellenbosch University:

Leipzig and Stellenbosch have been cooperating in the field of computer science since 2015. They have carried out joint activities for web corpus construction and lexicography usage, with more planned for the future. A special focus is placed on the official languages of South Africa.

Partners at Leipzig University:

Partners at Stellenbosch University:

German studies

Since 2008, the German Section of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Stellenbosch University and Leipzig University’s Herder Institute have been collaborating on research projects, leading to a variety of joint publications, workshops, colloquia and congresses. As of 2010, there is a direct institutional partnership between the two universities’ German departments, which is supported by the DAAD. In March 2012, both departments launched the binational double degree master’s programme in German as a Foreign Language in a German-African Context. Professor Altmayer and Professor von Maltzan are collaborating on the project “Zugehörigkeiten within the subject of German as a foreign language”, for which a conference was held in November 2016 at Leipzig University.

Partners at Leipzig University: 

Partners at Stellenbosch University: 

English studies

Since 2014, the English departments have been collaborating in the field of contemporary literature. Professor Welz taught on the topic of writing biographies, exemplified by the author Rudyard Kipling. On this basis, he established the course “South Africa Today: Diversity in Literature and Culture” within the British Studies master’s programme.

Partners at Leipzig University:

Partners at Stellenbosch University:

Leipzig University is part of a university consortium which conducts the Joint International Master’s Programme in Sustainable Development. Stellenbosch University has joined this consortium as an associated partner. The programme focuses on applying competencies to the question of sustainable development, and the needs and possibilities of societal transformation. 

Partner at Leipzig University

The two theological faculties have been collaborating on Old Testament studies and homiletics since the late 1990s. Joint research projects, such as “Magic and Ritual in Literary Texts” and “Ancient Near Eastern and Plaestinian Iconography”, have and will continue to lead to joint publications, panels and conferences.

Partners at Leipzig University:

Partners as Stellenbosch University: 

Planning and quality assurance  

Staff from the international centres of both universities plan the mobility and projects on an almost annual basis. At the same time they discuss funding sources, including Erasmus+. 

These meetings are also used to monitor all the processes of selecting, organising and evaluating the exchanges. In March 2017, the idea was born to rejuvenate the partnership. After 20 years of successful cooperation, a partnership forum, held in Leipzig in June 2017, aimed at attracting new partners and new fields to join the thriving alliance.

University communications

In April 2016, Leipzig University’s Press Officer, Carsten Heckmann, visited Stellenbosch University for its 14th annual Stellenbosch International Academic Networks (SIAN) meeting. He was introduced to the Corporate Marketing division and swapped notes on strategic communication tools. 

Following Heckmann’s stay, Wayne Muller, publications editor from Stellenbosch University, visited Leipzig University’s communications department in June 2016. Besides meetings at the Department of University Communications to discuss university communications strategies, Mr Muller also got to know the University’s local radio station mephisto 97.6 and met Dr Cornelia Wolf, Junior Professor of Online Communications at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies.

Examination office

In March 2017, Heike Müller from the examination office at the Herder Institute visited the examination office at the Department of Modern and Foreign Languages at Stellenbosch University. The visit was intended to improve collaboration between the two offices by shedding light on examination standards and procedures at Stellenbosch University and comparing these with Leipzig.

Stellenbosch International Academic Networks (SIAN) 

Each year Stellenbosch University invites partners from all over the world to its Stellenbosch International Academic Networks (SIAN) meeting. Hosted by the Postgraduate and International Office (PGIO), the event is an opportunity for Stellenbosch University staff members and students to engage with representatives from partner institutions focusing on internationalisation. A study abroad fair also lets students at Stellenbosch University find out about studying abroad.

Participants from Leipzig University in recent years:

2017: Matthias Lauke, Assistant to the Vice-Rector for Development and Transfer

2016: Carsten Heckmann, Press Officer

2015: Martina Otto, Coordinator for International Degree Students

2014: Jane Moros, Coordinator for International Mobility of Students and Doctoral Candidates

2013: Dr Svend Poller, International Centre Director

2012: Professor Dr Holländer, Chair of Environmental Technology and Environmental Management  

Academic Exchange

We interviewed two students from Stellenbosch University about their experiences at Leipzig University.

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