Since the beginning of April, Julia von Westerholthas been the new director of the German Adult Education Association (DVV). She succeeds Ullrich Aengenvoort, who is retiring after 19 years at DVV. We talked to Ms. von Westerholt about her first days at work, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the association’s work.
You started your new position in extraordinary times. How did you experience your first working days in the middle of the Corona pandemic?
My first days at work were very different from what I had expected. I had an extremely vague idea of how my first day would look if possibly all employees were in home office and I came into an empty office. But it wasn't like that at all. I received a very warm welcome from the “essential core”; the ones who ensure the functioning of the infrastructure of DVV in Corona times.
I was already able to get to know some of my colleagues during this period, which was challenging for everyone. I feel very comfortable at my new workplace, but of course I will be happy when we can all return to our accustomed office routine in the not too distant future.
You have been the association’s director since April 1st. What do you expect from the work?
First of all, I met a highly motivated team and extremely open and dedicated colleagues, not only in DVV, but also in the committees and federal state associations. I have been able to get to know some of them so far – even if only by telephone or via video conference.
I imagine that we can only emerge from the current crisis even stronger. In any case, we have the best prerequisites for this, first and foremost: cohesion, mutual respect and commitment to the goal of making “education for all – everywhere” possible together.
With DVV International, the association is also active abroad. What significance do you attribute to the combination of domestic and international work?
For me, in the sense of what I just said, the two belong inseparably together. The international cooperation of DVV is a unique selling point that is unparalleled. It is a sign of great confidence in our work that we can also promote further education internationally.