Dieter Lenzen

President of the University of Hamburg


Born in 1947 in Münster, studied from 1966 to 1970 at the University of Münster (education, philosophy, German, English and Dutch studies). Starting in 1975, he was professor of Education, first at the University of Münster and, from 1977 onwards, at Freie Universität Berlin. Since 1990, Lenzen has been on the board of the German Association for Educational Studies, of which he was president from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft and is editor of the twelve-volume “Enzyklopädie Erziehungswissenschaft”. Between 1986 and 1994, Lenzen took up guest professorships at Stanford, Columbia, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagoya Universities. From 2003 to 2010, he served as President of the Freie Universität Berlin, since 2010 he is President of University of Hamburg and from 2007 to 2016, he served as Vice-President of the German Rectors’ Conference. He published nearly 1240 books and articles. In 2015, he received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his outstanding achievements.

Japan honors Dieter Lenzen with Order of the Rising Sun

Prof. Dr. Dieter Lenzen was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in April 2015 for his services toward the academic cooperation and mutual understanding between Germany and Japan.


My vision for the evolution of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa and indeed throughout the world focusses on the abolition of the deeply rooted prejudice by ‘developed countries’ against so-called ‘developing countries’ in respect to the time frame and preconditions of their implementing a system of higher education. Maslow’s concept of the hierarchy of needs has led ‘developed countries’ to believe that education was something to evolve only after other, assumed basic needs have been met. Education IS a basic need. And it can and must be cultivated alongside the strive for economic and political goals. The orphaned students from Sub-Saharan Africa do not need a watered-down, self-help, condescending, patronizing and pitying version of education, but Higher Education proper, the same way students in other parts of the world need it. In my vision for the next 100 years, starting today, Higher Education in these countries will not be regarded as a luxury but a necessity, not as the grand finale of the development of a country, but as a motor driving this development forward, not as a one-way affair of some countries helping other countries, but as a mutual development process for the benefit of all.

Letter of Appointment

From the left: Mr. Fujimura, Prof.Dr. Lenzen, Mr. Nakane

Relevant Information

Kenjin from Germany- Prof. Dr. Lenzen receives Letter of Appointment to Ashinaga’s “Kenjin-Tatsujin Council”

Prof. Dieter Lenzen, President of Universitat Hamburg (‘Kenjin-Tatsujin’ International Advisory Council* Member), Arrives in Japan