Monday 13 May 2019


Around 1,000 delegates from more than 85 countries have gathered at the world’s largest, open higher education conference, organised by the British Council in partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and taking place in Berlin, Germany over the next three days.

The conference is being held at a significant time for the sector and opening remarks highlighted the message that education is international in outlook and values, and the desire to preserve and develop important relationships remains paramount.

2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall that helped unlock the free flow and exchange of people, education, ideas and culture between East and West.

Knowledge diplomacy and the digital world are the themes of this year’s event, and the opening plenary asks whether we are entering a new dark age with technology making the world harder to understand with an analysis from James Bridle, UK writer and artist.

Other sessions include ways to bring international education to more disadvantaged groups, while student recruitment in a digital world asks: ‘Can a single tweet change the course of thousands of students?’

Director of the British Council in Germany, Rachel Launay, extended a warm welcome to the audience of ministers, higher education leaders, policy-makers, vice-chancellors and institutional heads.  

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council said:

“This is a conference where the people who will solve the problems of the world get together. No single institution, no single country can tackle climate change, the crisis of biodiversity, on its own, no single institution or nation can tackle the problem of the ageing of society on its own, no single country can form a view as to what is happening around social cohesion on its own. It’s all of us working together, sharing insight, working out that combination of brilliant research, brilliant teaching and civic contribution that will allow us to tackle all of those issues. You can see how Going Global conferences in the past have resulted in real institutional change, reforms, fantastic research and greater innovation”.

Dr Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) said:

“Higher education has become truly international, with joint research programmes and projects forging ever stronger institutional links between universities around the globe. The DAAD is an integral part of this development, with its scholarships, support for higher education projects and structural expertise. Far reaching developments on a global level require a network of partners. Our work is only possible due to close cooperation with similar and allied institutions”.

Also speaking was Dame Professor Janet Beer, Trustee of British Council, President of Universities UK and Vice Chancellor of University of Liverpool. She said, “I am delighted that DAAD has, today, agreed to become one of our first international partners in our Go International Campaign. We’ll be working with colleagues in the DAAD to foster reciprocal exchange – with a focus on sending more UK students to spend time here in Germany.  We do this work for one simple reason. We are all better when we work together. “

Chris Skidmore, UK Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation addressed the conference and spoke about the UK’s international education strategy.

The conference runs until Wednesday 15th May 2019.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Alison Langley on +44 (0) 77990 60037 or at

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.