Capacity Building Programs

Global challenges can only be met through collaboration – across national borders, academic disciplines, and societal groups. Therefore, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) creates capacity building programs that empower both future leaders and citizens. Through these programs, participants gain the knowledge, skills, and networks to foster international understanding and solve societal problems. All these programs are based on the conviction that dialogue at an eye-to-eye level, interdisciplinarity, and cooperation are necessary to constructively and comprehensively address the complex political, economic, social, and environmental issues of our time.

DGAP’s capacity building programs are open to participants working in politics and public administration, civil society, think tanks, academia, the media, and the private sector. A growing international alumni network of around 1,800 outstanding professionals who are breaking new ground in their fields is enriching DGAP’s policy work with its perspectives.


“Europa, mein Revier”: Foreign and European Policy in the Ruhr Area

The aim of the project Foreign and European Policy in the Ruhr Area – in German, “Europa, mein Revier” – is to restore lost confidence in a Europe that stands for the rule of law, the welfare state, separation of powers, democracy, and freedom. Over a period of three years, it is creating opportunities for bringing people in the region together for events related to European and foreign policy issues. These events provide platforms for dialogue and discussion that give citizens of the Ruhr the chance to experience Europe (more) personally, to discuss how the EU and foreign policy work with experts from Berlin and Brussels in a fact-oriented and informative way, and to learn where local challenges can be addressed on a European level to experience the advantages of close international and European cooperation. This project is run by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in cooperation with the City of Essen. It is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Find out more here.

International Futures

International Futures, a two-week program that is held within the annual four-month Managing Global Governance (MGG) Academy, is conducted by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in cooperation with Training for International Diplomats of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. The goal of International Futures is to create a global community of responsibility by connecting talented young people and imparting vital skills for joint leadership. Guided by strategic themes, the program provides an introduction to diplomacy in the 21st century. It brings experts from governments and think tanks from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa face-to-face with German diplomats and young leaders.

Find out more here.

Young DGAP Fellowship

In 2018, the Young DGAP Fellowship Program was launched in cooperation with DGAP’s Research Institute. Through the program, highly motivated young professionals (up to 35 years old) with prior knowledge in a foreign policy field are supported after being selected in a public tender. Young DGAP Fellows work closely with experts from DGAP’s Research Institute, organize events, participate in skills development trainings, and develop new project ideas while they are given the opportunity to publish on their topics.

Find out more here.

Spinelli Forum – German-Italian Young Leaders Dialogue

On the initiative of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, DGAP and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) are promoting exchange between the younger generations of Germany and Italy. This forum establishes a permanent network for young leaders from the fields of politics, business, science, civil society, media, and culture in both countries. Participants have the opportunity to exchange ideas with experts and political decision-makers in order to develop solutions to current European challenges and provide new impetus for a close partnership between Germany and Italy.

Find out more here.

Think Tank Lab

The Think Tank Lab supports the co-creative advancement of the German think tank landscape with targeted activities in three areas:

  1. Strengthening peer learning and cooperation in and between think tanks      
  2. Offering training to think tank employees
  3. Crowdsourcing good practices and testing new approaches to impact-oriented think tank work

While, initially, our activities are primarily aimed at German think tanks and policy-oriented research institutes, we also seek to promote exchange with the wider European and international think tank community. The Think Tank Lab is a project of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). It is kindly supported by the Stiftung Mercator and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Find out more here.

Previous Projects

Carl Friedrich Goerdeler Kolleg for Good Governance

The Carl Friedrich Goerdeler Kolleg for Good Governance was a year-long professional development program for 20 young leaders from eight countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine – who championed democratic transition in their societies and organizations. Through three international group seminars and their individual work on good governance projects, the fellows expanded their knowledge of the rule of law and democratic governance, as well as deepened their skills in cross-sectoral collaboration and public innovation.

Find out more here.

Deutsch-Französischer Zukunftsdialog/Dialogue d’avenir franco-allemand

From 2007 to 2020, this project annually brought together ten German and ten French young leaders from diverse professional backgrounds to work on various topics of relevance for France, Germany, and European integration. Each year, a European partner country was selected to expand and enhance the Franco-German perspective.

Find out more here.

Promotion of Think Tank Work in the MENA Region

Over a period of three years, 88 mid-level professionals from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Europe participated in workshops in Berlin and the capitals of these Arab countries. Participants engaged in analysis of pressing political, socioeconomic, and security issues and received training in the writing of policy papers, communication, and advocacy. They drew up policy papers and their policy recommendations were then discussed with relevant decision-makers and senior experts.

Find out more here.



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Past events

09:00 | 15 - 16 Nov 2012

The 8th Diplomatenkolleg in Hamburg

Media and economics – these were the main topics of the first study trip of the 8th Diplomatenkolleg to Hamburg from 15 to 16 November 2012. The participants also took a close look at the specific characteristics of German federalism during their visit to the Hanseatic city.

Think Tank Event
09:00 - 21:30 | 08 Nov 2012

International Diplomats Programme

Excursion in Berlin: Tracing the past in the present

In what way is the past significant for the present? What is Germany’s remembrance culture? What are the tasks of the Federal Commissioner for the Files of the State Security Service of the former GDR? What role do Germany’s political foundations play at home and abroad? Participants in the 4th International Diplomats Programme explored these and other questions at their program day in Berlin on November 8, 2012.

Program Event
08:30 - 20:30 | 20 Sep 2012

Education and support for women are key to progress and development

7th IDP programme day in Berlin

The themes of demography, integration and education were the focus of the 7th IDP programme day in Berlin, where Dr Reiner Klingholz, Director and Executive of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, presented alarming facts and figures on the demographic changes in Germany and the world.

Think Tank Event
08:30 - 18:30 | 27 Jun 2012

Almost A Fifth of Frankfurters Have Never Been to Slobice

The International Diplomats Programme is engaged in cross-border cooperation

Creating one coat of arms for both cities, sharing a bus route and promoting each other’s languages – during the programme day in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice, the 4th International Diplomats Programme concentrated on cross-border cooperation. This includes the common fight to keep jobs.

Think Tank Event
18:00 - 22:00 | 21 Jun 2012

“A realistic image of Germany”

Conclusion of the 7th Diplomatenkolleg

On 21 June 2012, the 7th Diplomatenkolleg concluded with a closing ceremony in Berlin. During the event the participants emphasized that they had not only gained new contacts and established networks but also got to know Germany in its different political, economic and cultural facets.

Program Event


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