People who make the difference

History of the ASA-Program

In 1948 the International Student Union (Internationaler Studentenbund) and the Student Movement for Transnational Federation (Studentenbewegung für übernationale Föderation e.V., ISSF) started to think about common features of the European states. ASA emerged in the 1960s as a program administrated by students who organized work and study stays in the so-called “Third World”.

  • 1960 the first 10 participants went to Sudan; in the following years the number increased to 70 to 80 participants. In the beginning ASA was financed by the students, their work on German building sites in the host countries and donations from private and public donors.
  • Over the years, ASA became more successful and more and more people wanted to participate. The growing organizational needs outgrew the possibilities of a student union with a volunteer administration.
  • 1966 - the student initiative advanced into a civil law association, the “Foundation Study Group for International Encounters and Studies Abroad” (Stiftung Studienkreis für internationale Begegnung und Auslandsstudien). They organized international circles to discuss development issues and development policy in about 30 universities and the number of participants grew further.
  • 1982 - the ASA-Program was administered by the Carl Duisberg Society (CDG).
  • 1984 - young professionals who had completed their non-academic vocational training were included in the program.
  • 1987/88 - the opportunity to take part in work and study visits was also given to members of partner organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America – a first step to overcome the one-way attitude of development policy.
  • 2003 - the ASA-Program started building a European network of like-minded organizations and young people committed to development policy. The common objective is to create global education across borders. The European cooperation program was named GLEN"Global Education Network of Young Europeans". Today GLEN comprises partner organizations in 10 European countries and promotes development education in the north.
  • 2006 EURIZONS (European Tour for Global Responsibility) started as a project of GLEN. Eurizons was a  hitchhiking-project during which young Europeans hitchhiked through eight countries to inform people about the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.
  • 2008 - the ASA-Program started the program "ASApreneurs - Shaping a Sustainable World". The program promotes the development of leadership skills for sustainability in the economy.

Alongside the ASA-Program (with the "ASA-Basic", "ASASouth-North", "ASA-Kommunal, ASApreneurs - Shaping a Sustainable World" and "GLEN"), two other programs with new target groups were developed within ASA: ENSA the "School Exchange Program" in 2005, which promotes mutual educational exchange between German schools and schools in partner countries of the South. ASA has also worked with "weltwärts" since 2008 in cooperation with the German Development Service - which is now part of the GIZ. "weltwärts" is a volunteer program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Germany. "ASA-weltwärts" selects the participants and organizes the preparation and follow-up seminars of "weltwärts" volunteers who are sent out by the GIZ.

  • 2010 - ASA celebrated its 50th anniversary. There were a lot of projects and activities through out the year, former participants came together and ASA received birthday wishes from all over the world.
  • Since 2012 ASA has been part of the newly founded Engagement Global-Service for Development Initiatives. We are looking forward to the new challenges and the next 50 years!