Since January 2012, Dr. Manja Hussner is the head of the new International Office of the MLU. (Photo: Maike Glöckner)

New International Office: At the university and active worldwide

The team at the university’s new international office has started their work in accordance with the university’s strategy on internationalisation. Focus is being placed on mobility, support, international research and assisting graduates. On 1 January 2012 Dr. Manja Hussner took over as head. The office is located at Universitätsring 19/20.

“I find the task of implementing and developing Halle University’s internationalisation strategy together with the office team to be extremely interesting,” says Manja Hussner. “The university in Halle has many valuable assets and the new office would like to tie in with these and expand on them. I am looking forward to my interesting responsibilities in Halle and, most particularly, to working together with partners from the region and abroad.”

The office considers itself to be a service point for foreign members of the university and their families in need of information about living abroad, grant programmes and third party funding. It is organised into three departments: international student affairs, international research and an international service bureau. In addition to this there is the International Graduate Academy (InGra). There is definitely no lack of ideas. For example, with the Halle-Leipzig-Jena university network “the three heads of the international offices agreed to meet as early as January to discuss joint appearances in the future, for example, at international education fairs.”

“We now have to look at our internationalisation landscape in Halle and decide what we already have and how to continue or expand upon this,” Hussner says describing the first step. The emerging lack of (foreign) masters and PhD students in the future poses a concrete and very acute challenge. What can we do to prevent this? For one thing it is important to attract junior scientist to Halle by offering them good support from the university so that they not only feel attached to the university but to the location as well. The aim is for them to achieve good educational and research results. Not least, they should be presented with career opportunities after graduation. Thus the university would not only educate foreign students, but also integrate them into the regional economy early on.

The new International Office falls under the jurisdiction of the Rector’s Office and its status as a staff unit of the vice-rector for research and junior scientists makes a clear statement. “This should make it clear how important the topic of internationalisation is for the Rector’s Office,“ explains Vice-rector Gesine Foljanty-Jost. This new structure means MLU is very visible in terms of internationalisation. In the future an International Week is to take place at the university at the beginning of winter semester which is to serve as a forum for all the international activities of the university’s members as well as of its foreign partners.

“The city, the region, the state of Saxony-Anhalt as well as local non-university research institutes are important partners for us in creating open and tolerant conditions under which foreign members of the university can live and work,” explains Foljanty-Jost.

Written by Ute Olbertz

Vita: From Leipzig to Uzbekistan and back again

Manja Hussner already gathered many different international experiences through stays abroad during her education. Born in 1973 in Schmölln in Thuringia, she began studying law in Leipzig. In 1998/1999 she got to know and fell in love with the university in Halle, and in particular, the Löwengebäude Building while sitting in on a lecture about American constitutional law. After her first state exam, Hussner received a Mater of European Law (LL.M) in the Netherlands. Following this she did research for one year in Yekaterinburg, Russia at Ural State University. She wrote her dissertation thesis in Leipzig after many teaching visits to Moscow’s Lomonosov University. From 2006 to 2009 she headed a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) office in Uzbekistan (Central Asia), transferring to Bonn in 2009 to take over the Caucasus and Central Asia Department at the DAAD’s head office. She headed this department until the end of 2011.

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