Dr. Dorothea Rüland New in Alumni Freiburg e. V. Board of Directors

Dienstag, 26. November 2013 | 

Schlagwörter » , , «  |  Thema: englisch

Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), was appointed Deputy Chair of Alumni Freiburg e. V. at the beginning of the year. alumni’aktuell introduces the new member of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Source: DAAD
Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Source: DAAD

alumni’aktuell: You studied history, German studies, and musicology. Why did you choose this combination of fields?

Dorothea Rüland: I’ve always been very fond of reading and making music. Language, literature, and music all originated in a historical context, so this seemed like a fitting combination.

alumni’aktuell: What do you remember best about your years as a student in Freiburg?

Dorothea Rüland: I had the great luck of finding outstanding teachers in Freiburg, especially my dissertation supervisor Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kaiser, who also accompanied me along the further path of my life from Freiburg.

alumni’aktuell: You wrote your dissertation on “the artist and society.” Do you still have an active interest in this topic?

Dorothea Rüland: Today I only deal with this topic indirectly, in my job for the DAAD, which – and this is generally less well known – is also the largest German institution to offer funding enabling young artists to study and work abroad and artists from other countries to come to Germany.

alumni’aktuell: How did you come to concentrate on international affairs? Out of a love of adventure?

Dorothea Rüland: After completing my studies I wanted to get to know another higher education system, and that desire evolved into a passion: I always found it fascinating to live abroad. It is a learning experience in two distinct respects: You of course learn a lot about the other country, but at the same time you also learn a lot about yourself, because another culture forces you to question a lot of things you would otherwise take for granted.

alumni’aktuell: As a mother of four children you have also had an extraordinary professional career. In view of the current public debate on work-life balance you were ahead of your time. How did you manage to juggle family and professional life?

Dorothea Rüland: That was indeed a difficult topic when our children were little. But for me my years in Asia were a stroke of luck: Child care is very easy to arrange there, and besides, our children had the good fortune to grow up in very stimulating societies with a pronounced love of children.

alumni’aktuell: Which alumni projects coordinated by the DAAD are especially important to you?

Dorothea Rüland: I find that alumni work has changed a lot in the past years. Today young alumnae and alumni ask a lot more often about the benefits of their commitment. This is certainly also a reflection of the fact that many people have a lot more international experience nowadays; that is, they no longer only have a bond with a single country and a university. It will be very important to offer interesting programs. And since most of us are closely involved in our  own professional environments, I see particular potential for alumni networks in specific disciplines.

alumni’aktuell: What motivated you to get involved in Alumni Freiburg?

Dorothea Rüland: I’m an alumna of the university myself and was influenced profoundly by my time in Freiburg.

alumni’aktuell: What advice can you give your university on how to expand its alumni network?

Dorothea Rüland: The alumni culture in Germany still has room for development. In contrast to places like the USA, there’s no longstanding tradition. Besides, German universities can only devote a limited amount of human resources to alumni work. I would therefore recommend concentrating available resources and, in particular, focusing on the interests of alumni in specific disciplines.

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