The Zukunftsbrücke – Chinese–German Young Professional Campus brings together 15 young German and 15 young Chinese leaders from all sectors for intensive dialogue each year. The program is aimed at Germans and Chinese with 2 to 10 years of professional experience who already hold key positions in politics, economics, science or civil society and who wish to take an active part in shaping German-Chinese relations.

For any questions about the Zukunftsbrücke – Chinese-German Young Professional Campus please contact  Matthias Stepan.

The Zukunftsbrücke offers the 30 participants professional and intercultural training as well as membership in a growing network of outstanding young professionals from Germany and China. The programme is held in both countries – in alternating years. Costs for travel and room and board are covered. In addition to the nine-day programme, activities for Zukunftsbrücke alumni regularly take place in China and Germany.

Triggered by the effects of climate change and the rising levels of inequality, there is a sense of urgency to leave the old ways behind and to establish a new kind of economy: fairer, more inclusive, less destructive of the planet.

This year’s Zukunftsbrücke campus will focus on how new growth strategies can look like: strategies that aim to transform our countries into post-carbon economies where growth is decoupled from resource use and serves all parts of society.

Decision makers in both countries consider innovation, digitalization and international cooperation as the way forward to address the challenges related to this transformation and thus contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. At the same time, there is an increasing feeling of rivalry and a loss of mutual trust on both sides that prevents actors in the two countries from deepening their cooperation.

The expected outcome for the participating young leaders is to gain a better understanding of both countries’ strategies, abilities and commonalities in becoming greener and more inclusive, and ways to build trust on an organizational and personal level. A particular focus of this years’ campus is the communication of different perspectives on issues at stake in the Sino-German dialogue.

Campus: Locations and Focus Topics

Programme in Germany and China

Over seven days, Zukunftsbrücke participants conduct off-the-record conversations with well-known experts, go on thematic excursions and attend intercultural training sessions. Within the group and with experts, they discuss trends, current developments and challenges in Germany and China as well the countries’ bilateral relationship. Distinguished deans from both countries guide the Zukunftsbrücke. The German deans are Dr. Michael Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and Dr. Astrid Skala-Kuhmann, Advisor on China and Former Country Director GIZ China.

Building Bridges through Dialogue: A Network of Dedicated Young Leaders


Each year, the Stiftung Mercator selects 15 German Zukunftsbrücke participants and our Chinese project partners select 15 participants from China.



Application Requirements

  • At least two years’ work experience
  • Outstanding academic and professional qualifications
  • Social commitment
  • German nationality

  • Very good knowledge of English

  • Strong interest in international relations, economic and social issues as well as German-Chinese cooperation

The 15 German participants of the Zukunftsbrücke are selected in an open application process. A pre-selection based on proper submission of the required documents is followed by personal interviews that determine the final selection.

Online Application

Applications for the Zukunftsbrücke must be made online during the application period. For further information please switch to the German website.

Please note that we only consider applications of German citizens. Selection of applications of Chinese citizens will be made by the Chinese project partner.





Yes. Your citizenship is decisive, not your current country of residence.

Yes. Your citizenship is decisive, not your current country of residence.

The application process for Chinese applicants will be organized by the project partner in China, the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF). Chinese participants are not eligible to apply via the online application form on the website of the Stiftung Mercator.

No, as long as you can make a case for your interest in the Campus’ annual topic there are no restrictions on the issue of professional experience or disciplines.

Expertise in the field of the Campus’ theme in professional or academic context or through extracurricular engagement is no precondition. We are looking for participants with a strong personality and not for narrow specialists.

You need to have a strong interest in connecting with young professionals from China but the Campus is open for those with and without a deeper knowledge of China to allow for a good mix of experiences.

You need to fulfill this requirement as of the beginning of the Campus.

You can download the full FAQ document here: PDF.

Project Partners