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DAAD Prize 2020 goes to Kinan Salah Eddin

This year's German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) prize for outstanding achievements by foreign students goes to 27-year-old Kinan Salah Eddin from Damascus, Syria.


Kinan Salah Eddin received the DAAD Prize 2020.
Kinan Salah Eddin received the DAAD Prize 2020. Photo: Oana Popa-Costea

The prize, which is endowed with 1,000 euros, was awarded for the 14th time on 27 October 2020 at the HWR Berlin. It is intended to make foreign students visible as an enrichment for our campus and honours personalities who stand out due to their achievements and social commitment.

The 2020 prize winner, Kinan Salah Eddin, comes from Syria and initially studied psychology in Lebanon, but was unable to complete his studies there for family reasons. He applied from Damascus for the Bachelor's programme in International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. His professors noticed him for his quick comprehension and his very high ability to abstract. Prof. Dr. Sabine Haller, who nominated him, describes the award winner as a personality of integrity. She greatly appreciates his polite, calm and analytical manner. Within his strong study group Kinan Salah Eddin was among the best.

Kinan Salah Eddin is also an outstanding example of social commitment. During his psychology studies in Beirut, he became involved with the Lebanon Red Cross. He also volunteered to organize charity events for the Olympics Club of his university. He also led a psychosocial support group for young Syrian refugees in a camp in Bekaa, Lebanon. Most recently he was involved in the Cross Cultural Mentoring Programme at the HWR Berlin.

In the following interview the award winner talks about his way to the HWR Berlin, his motivation to help others and his plans for the future.

How does it feel to receive the DAAD Prize 2020?

To be chosen amongst all the brilliant international students here at HWR Berlin makes me feel very honored and special! I am also very appreciative and thankful of HWR Berlin and its professors, since this prize represents a valuation and recognition of all the hard work and effort I put into my studies.

Why did you choose the HWR Berlin in general, why International Business Management in specific?

I chose HWR Berlin mainly because of the offered IBMAN program. When I first read about the IBMAN program, I was really intrigued about it, since it offered the perfect balance between practicality and theory. The focus of the program wasn't just on memorizing some theories, but rather took a flipped classroom approach with lots of fun and educative presentations that I won't forget after graduating. Additionally, the program was really international, where students have the opportunity to interact and work with other students from all over the world, and learn about different perspectives and mindsets.

You have taken social responsibility at many occasions in your life. What was your motivation, and what does social responsibility mean to you?

This world is currently not equal and not fair to many people in different aspects. But it doesn't mean that one should just accept it and do nothing about it. I know it sounds cheesy but my motivation was and still is to try to make this world a bit fairer and more equal for the unfortunate ones. I feel it is a responsibility for those who can help to help, not just to aid the unfortunate ones but to also improve the society in general (a win-win situation for all of us).

Currently, you are a mentee at the Cross Cultural Mentoring programme. What do you appreciate most about the programme?

I appreciate the people in it the most. Not just my mentor, but all the other mentees and mentors in addition to the program director were very helpful to me and assisted me when I asked for aid. I was also allowed to gain more insights about people from different educational and cultural backgrounds to mine, as well as share my own.

You have gained practical experience in various companies alongside your studies. What was the most valuable insight you took away with you?

I realized that learning will not simply stop after graduation. Many of the jobs we currently do will not exist in a decade from now, so self development is key for a successful future.

What are your plans after graduation?

HWR Berlin had its magic on me so I’ve decided to stay even longer here! I am currently taking part in the Accounting and Controlling Master program, and pretty much enjoying it. I am still open for opportunities after graduation but I am currently interested in continuing my career either with companies focusing on targeting Muslims or sustainable ones.   

HWR Berlin has been awarding the DAAD Prize since 2006

Since 2006, the German Academic Exchange Service of the HWR Berlin has been offering the DAAD Prize to honour outstanding achievements of its foreign students. The declared aim of the award is to give international students at German universities faces. The HWR Berlin is proud of its approximately 1500 international students who enrich our university.

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