GIZ-Alumni Conference in Cairo

Opportunities through Change: Alumni of the GIZ are meeting in Cairo to discuss the dramatic upheavals in the Arab world

Bonn/Eschborn/Cairo. More than 130 alumni of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH take part in a conference titled "Leadership in Transition: Opportunities through Change" which will be held in Cairo from June 16 to June 19, 2011. The participants from eleven different countries  – among them ministers – will discuss the current changes in the region and analyse how they will affect development cooperation. The participants come from different backgrounds, ranging from state institutions to civil society. The GIZ carries out this conference on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Members of the press are invited to participate.

The so called "Arab spring", which forced the autocratic leaders in Tunis and Egypt to step down, is in a difficult phase. In Yemen and Syria the security forces shoot at unarmed civilians while Libya is entangled in a civil war. The developments in Egypt, which is the biggest country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will be of utmost importance. If indeed Egypt will give itself a democratic constitution, as the forces of civil society are demanding, this could have repercussions in the neighbouring countries. In this decisive moment the GIZ wants to set a sign and support the forces of reform. Therefore, the alumni conference will also be an opportunity to single out the most active of these forces of reform from the different countries and will help to connect them.

The alumni conference is highly appreciated in the MENA-region: "The number of people who have registered is very high and every day we hear from other alumni who want to participate", says Magued Youssef, director of the regional GIZ office in Cairo and one of the organisers.  "We have more applications than places we can offer."

These applications come from countries where freedom of speech since recently is more accepted as well as from countries where the governments still rely on force instead of dialogue. "It seems to me that we made the right choice with the topic and the timing of our conference", says Henner Kirchner, regional coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa at the GIZ in Bonn. "It obviously pays off that we developed the topic of this conference through discussions with our alumni. And the necessity for further discussion and exchange has not deminished."

2nd Interdisciplinary Alumni Conference in the MENA-Region
June 16-19, 2011, Marriott Hotel, Cairo, Egypt

Journalists are invited to participate. Please register at our press contact:
Albrecht Metzger
Mobile +49 179 54 18 803
E-Mail: almetzger@t-online.de

Henner Kirchner
Phone: +49 228 4460-1734,
E-Mail: henner.kirchner@giz.de
GIZ Cairo: Magued Youssef
Phone: +202 273 5836
E-Mail: magued.youssef@giz.de

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in international cooperation for sustainable development and in international education work. GIZ supports people and societies in shaping their own futures and improving living conditions.