The Global Partnership Network (GPN) is one of the centers of Excellence for Exchange and Development funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation (exceed) program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The center also closely collaborates with the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) at Kassel University.
The GPN is an ambitious and promising assemblage of higher education institutions and civil society groups for research, teaching and training around SDG 17: “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development". The GPN targets research, teaching and training that investigates the global partnership for sustainable development in three specific areas, challenges its shortcomings and contributes to possible solutions to the concerns posed providing policy-relevant research informed by a historical sensibility. These areas are: 1) partnerships in development cooperation, 2) partnerships in the global economy, 3) partnership in knowledge production. The GPN calls attention to the shortcomings, limitations, and problematic aspects of international partnerships that have historically been shaped by colonial relations between North and South and sometimes continue to reflect them. Redressing this historical dynamic requires reconstructing the concept towards a partnership based on mutual recognition and solidarity, adequate to the multi-polar and postcolonial 21st century.
Through the collaboration with partner universities and in particular, with the civil society partners in the South, the University of Kassel (UKS) will reflect and deepen its knowledge about development cooperation and also gain expertise in working with partners in the least developed countries (programme outcome 1). The collaboration of UKS and its partner universities with about a dozen civil society groups with long-standing experience in development cooperation will lead to the establishment of a network which will not only contribute to revitalizing the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development (SDG 17) but has the potential to extend the idea of the partnership beyond the confines of traditional development theory and policy (programme outcome 2). Through funding collaborative research on global partnership in development cooperation, the global economy, and knowledge production, the network will anchor SDG 17 and important elements of the Agenda 2030 in the participating universities (programme outcome 3). MA and PhD students will be given the opportunity to participate in the training workshops of civil society development organizations acquiring occupational skills and valuable connections to possible employers (programme outcome 4).