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 programme is directed at 28- to 38-year-olds 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 Caspar Welbergen.

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.

Zukunftsbrücke 2018: "Future has arrived – How do we prepare for the AI era?"

The Zukunftsbrücke 2018 – ‘Future has arrived - How do we prepare for the AI era?’ – takes place from 14 to 20 October 2018 in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Participants will dicuss the challenges and changes that the increasing use of artifical intelligence entail. In addition to politics and economics, social issues will also be considered.




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, Special Advisor to the Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Building Bridges through Dialogue: A Network of Dedicated Young Leaders

The Zukunftsbrücke – Chinese–German Young Professional Campus seeks to create an intersectoral network of dynamic young leaders from China and Germany united personally and professionally to advance their countries’ sustainable partnership.

The German and Chinese governments support the Zukunftsbrücke goals, which are regularly mentioned in joint declarations of  German-Chinese government consultations, most recently in 2016.

The Zukunftsbrücke - Chinese-German Young Professional Campus is a project by Stiftung Mercator and BMW Foundation and in cooperation with the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF). The project’s academic partner in China is the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). 


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

  • 28 to 38 years of age
  • 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.



Dates & Deadlines

  • End of March 2018: Start of Application period for Zukunftsbrücke 2018
  • 02 May 2018:  Application Deadline for Zukunftsbrücke 2018
  • 11 - 12 July 2018: Selection Interviews Zukunftsbrücke 2018 in Berlin
  • 14 - 20 October 2018:  Zukunftsbrücke 2018 in China


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 closing date for applications.

You need to fulfill this requirement as of the closing date for applications.

You can download the full FAQ document here: PDF.

Media & Downloads

Project Partners