Who we are

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are core values and key elements of the school’s strategic plan and organisational development.

The Hertie School is a community committed to shared values of equity, diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence. We can attain the best results in research and teaching in a community that promotes different perspectives and new ideas and celebrates the full spectrum of human diversity across all dimensions including gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, race, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and religion or belief/world view. Diversity is a source of enrichment, innovation and creativity for the school. It is a critical factor for achieving and sustaining excellence and for educating our students on how to understand today and shape tomorrow.

  • "Our social responsibility is to be inclusive in our education of future leaders. Education through diversity is a central component of the learning experience at the Hertie School"
    - Cornelia Woll, President


The Hertie School is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse group of outstanding students, faculty and staff and to creating an inclusive learning and working environment marked by mutual support and respect. The responsibility for excellence, diversity and inclusion lies with all of us at the school: Leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni. It is incumbent upon each member of the Hertie School community to create and maintain an environment of mutual support, respect, understanding, fairness and equal treatment.

The Hertie School has been regularly audited by berufundfamilie gGmbH and certified as a family-friendly university since 2008 (last audit 2021). In 2018, the Hertie School signed the Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt e. V.), an initiative which aims to promote the recognition, appreciation and integration of diversity into Germany’s business culture.

DEI strategy

Fostering diversity at all levels is a key priority of President Cornelia Woll. Expanding the diversity of the student body and the faculty and putting emphasis on topics dealing with minorities and discrimination in research and the curriculum are core tasks for her presidency.

Since 2018, we have conducted a comprehensive strategy process together with all stakeholder groups and external experts. In 2019, based on the work of a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the School adopted a vision, key strategic objectives and a portfolio of measures to foster and promote equality, diversity and inclusion. In the Academic Year 2020/21, we mandated a Task Force to identify processes of institutional and systemic discrimination as well as gaps, shortcomings and barriers in existing procedures and structures. As part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy, the School adopted a Gender Equality Plan in spring 2022.

As part of the DEI Strategy, the Hertie School launched its First-Generation Mentoring Programme in 2021 as a support mechanism for students who are the first in their families to attend university. Our faculty members and researchers provide academic advising and guidance to their mentees in one-on-one meetings during their first year of master's study. Individual mentoring is supplemented by training, career development, and networking opportunities.

Strategy process

In the fall of 2018 at the start of Henrik Enderlein’s presidency, the Hertie School launched a strategy process to review the state of Diversity and Inclusion and to develop a systematic concept and comprehensive approach.

2019 D&I Task Force and climate survey

In 2019, we formed a Task Force, comprised of members of our leadership team, administration, faculty, academic staff, and student representatives, and chaired by Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law and Ombudsperson for Diversity at that time. Its mandate was to identify key challenges and recommend concrete measures and goals for action across all areas of our institution. 

To inform the Task Force’s work and to ensure that all voices of the community were heard and included, we invited all members of the school to share their perspectives, ideas and suggestions on diversity and inclusion at the Hertie School via a digital pin board. The work of the D&I Task Force was accompanied by a climate survey conducted among students, staff and faculty in order to take stock of the School’s current environment with respect to diversity and inclusion. The survey questionnaire was developed with external expert advice and in collaboration with students.

In the summer of 2019, the Task Force submitted a report to the Hertie School leadership with proposed definitions of key terms, strategic objectives, goals and concrete measures. The Hertie School leadership adopted 82 recommendations for change across all action areas of our institution and we are in the process of implementing them.

Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce Report

This process instigated further changes on an organisational level: We introduced monitoring and reporting mechanisms, earmarked an annual budget for D&I measures and created the position of Director Diversity (from 2021 onwards Director Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). 

2020-2021 ADTF Task Force

Building on the comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and the work of the 2019 D&I Task Force, the Hertie School leadership appointed an Anti-Discrimination Task Force in Academic Year 2020/21. It was mandated to identify processes of institutional and systemic discrimination as well as gaps, shortcomings and barriers in existing procedures and structures.

Gender Equality Plan 2022/23

In early 2022, the Hertie School leadership adopted a Gender Equality Plan which is embedded in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy. The GEP outlines measures, activities and policies in place as well as planned initiatives as part of the DEI strategy with a specific focus on enhancing gender equality for 2022/23. Input was given in consultation with representatives of the School´s stakeholder groups. Developed in line with the Horizon Europe Guidance on Gender Equality Plans issued by the European Commission, it fulfils the mandatory requirements and addresses the recommended topics.

Gender Equality Plan


Strategic objectives

The Strategy is framed by our Vision: “The Hertie School is committed to embedding and mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion into all areas of its activities.” In order to fulfil this commitment, the School focuses its actions on the following strategic objectives recommended by the 2019 D&I Task Force:


  • Equal treatment and opportunities for all members of the community
  • Reasonable accommodation of persons with disabilities
  • Gender equality in all spheres of activity


  • A diverse student community
  • A diverse faculty and staff community
  • Diversity of perspectives in teaching programmes, research and outreach


  • An equitable learning and working environment
  • A community characterised by mutual support and respect
  • A culture of appreciation and recognition
  • A welcoming and enabling environment for members of the community who wish to celebrate differences
  • A safe and positive campus climate


The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office supports our commitment to promote and foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across the organisation and to create a non-discriminatory, welcoming and safe learning and working environment for all members of the community. The Office is comprised of:

  • The Director DEI leads and implements the school-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy that is set by the President.
  • The D&I Officer is the main point of contact for questions, ideas and concerns for the members of the community, in particular students. The Officer serves as formal complaints body and leads the procedure in cases of alleged discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment (Code of Conduct; AGG/General Act on Equal Treatment §13.1). They further serve as officer for students with special needs (BerlHG §28a;) and inclusion officer (SGB IX §181).

The coordinator family-friendly university coordinates various measures to ensure family-friendly working conditions. Areas of action are derived from the evaluations conducted during the certification as a family-friendly university. Responsibilities include providing information and consulting staff on family-related topics.

Policies and complaints procedures

The Hertie School aims to provide a discrimination-free and safe work and study environment in which all members of the community are protected, respected, valued and treated equally. We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination, harassment, bullying and violence (on the basis of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, race, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and religion or belief/world view) and apply a zero-tolerance approach in cases of violation.

The Code of Conduct stipulates the standards and rules regarding discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment at the Hertie School as well as the organisational framework and the procedures in case of misconduct.

Code of Conduct


Complaints shall be reported to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Katalin Karsai. The DEI Officer provides counselling and advice, investigates the matter and initiates respective proceedings. All complaints will be handled with utmost confidentiality.

Contact via email: DI-Officer[at]hertie-school[dot]org