Virtual study tour from Russia to four countries – including DMAN

It was an interesting format that our partners had designed: The Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPM) of RANEPA organized a virtual study tour during the week of 15-19 March 2021 – five days, four countries, one specific theme per day. The virtual tour went to South Korea, Singapore, Finland and Germany. The broad range of topics included: administrative system and citizen participation, labour market, demography, cultural management, urban development. DMAN had the honour (and the pleasure) of conducting the German part.

The study tour was part of the "Advanced and Continuing Training of the Executive Reserve (2010-2021)" programme, which is implemented by GSPM. All participants were high-ranking Russian administrative executives from very different fields and regions, including representatives of the executive reserve at the level of the Federation and the President. In each country, they met experts from universities and from the field, who shared their knowledge and experience with them in 1.5 hours each.

On Monday, Kerstin Biedermann, Managing Director of the 4 Generations Park, and Mayor Torsten Harms, both from the municipality of Wathlingen near Celle, kicked off the seminar with a presentation on the administrative system in Germany and the various possibilities of citizen participation. Well known to many participants of our administration seminars, both speakers were pleased to talk once again to Russian administration experts.

Labour market policy and benefits for jobseekers were the central topics on Tuesday. Discussions focused on state support for employment and the organization of job placement, including jobs for people with disabilities of various kinds. The experts came from the municipal sector, but also from the Federal Employment Agency and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation.

On Wednesday, Lutz Stratmann, Managing Director of the Demography Agency in Hanover, informed the participants about the challenges of the demographic development in Germany and about the activities of the Demography Agency, which supports companies to counter the shortage of skilled workers. He listed possible fields of action for companies: leadership culture, corporate diversity, training and further education, health management and, of course, digitalisation.

Thursday was dedicated to culture and specifically to the cooperation of state/municipal and private stakeholders in cultural projects. Long-time DMAN trainer Klaus-Peter Wagenführ, a self-confessed fan of Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie, gave an overview of various forms of cooperation. Practical examples included: the UNESCO City of Music project, Hannover's application to become European Capital of Culture,  and the kreHtiv Netzwerk Hannover e.V., a network of some 300 companies from the regional creative industries.

Finally, on Friday, the topic of urban development was on the agenda, with input and examples from both the rather rural community of Wathlingen and the large city of Hamburg. The presentations and questions revolved around the promotion of affordable housing and new construction projects. And around the development of existing and new districts in Hamburg: the “Mitte” district and the integrated science, innovation and urban development in the Science City Bahrenfeld project.

For the study tour participants, it was certainly a strenuous week. Above all, however, it was a time that brought inspiration and new idea, as well as confirmation, but also some new questions that arose in the exchange with the many experts.

GSPM project manager Tatiana Lavrova: "The integration of international experiences is a key element of the training for the top-level command reserve. Despite the pandemic situation, we managed, together with our partners, to work out an interesting approach. Although we had to organize the module in an online format, it proved to be quite practice-oriented. The participants were able to fully immerse themselves in the learning process and ask critical questions that moved them. The experts invited by DMAN conveyed the contents in a detailed and understandable manner and shared their experiences and insights. We feel that conducting such programmes definitely enhances the quality of educational programmes."