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2020-03-03

Professor Dr. Klaus Mühlhahn is the new President and Director of the ZU

Professor Dr. Klaus Mühlhahn from Berlin, social scientist and specialist in cultural studies, is the new President of the ZU. The 56 year old, born in Constance, was elected by the ZU Senate and officially appointed to his position as President and also appointed as Director by the ZU Foundation, the supporting foundation of the ZU.

Professor Mühlhahn is currently the Vice-President of Research at the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin. He will take up his post in Friedrichshafen by September 1st. at the latest; the period of office will be five years.

(Photo: Malene Lauritsen)


“In Klaus Mühlhahn we shall be getting a President who meets all the requirements for this post in the most excellent fashion,” Thomas Sigi, Chairman of the ZU Foundation Board, explained. “On the one hand he is an outstanding scholar, particularly distinguished in his specialist subject, and on the other he has the necessary experience and success in university management to offer. We look forward to working with him and to the successful further development of our University.”

Since 2018, Mühlhahn has been Vice-President at the FU Berlin for the fields of research, support of young scholars plus knowledge transfer and university spin-offs. Before, he was first elected vice-president in 2014 and while in office during this time he was responsible for international matters. Professor Mühlhahn is considered one of the most famous sinologists in Germany. After studying sinology and obtaining his doctorate at the FU Berlin, his academic path initially led him to be Visiting Fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies of the University of California, Berkeley from 2002 to 2004. Further posts from 2004 to 2007 were as Professor of Contemporary Chinese and Asian History at the Institute of History of the University of Turku, Finland, and from 2007 to 2010 as Professor of History and associate professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. In the same year, Professor Mühlhahn returned to the FU Berlin as Professor of Chinese History and Culture. In 2019, his book “Making China Modern – From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping” was published by Harvard University Press.

“I thank the Senate and the Foundation for the trust expressed by the election and look forward to my new, exciting task at the Zeppelin University,” Professor Mühlhahn said on the occasion of his appointment. “Building on previous successes I would like, together with the members and committees of the University and the supporting foundation, to continue consistent further promotion of the Zeppelin University and to establish it firmly in the company of the best private universities in Europe.”

Klaus Mühlhahn will succeed Professor Dr. Insa Sjurts, who left the ZU on December 31st. 2019, in order to become president of the HSBA Hamburg School of Business Administration. When Professor Mühlhahn takes up his post, this will also end the term of office of Professor Dr. Josef Wieland, who took over as President on an interim basis at the beginning of the year. The ZU Foundation Board and Council thank Professor Wieland for his commitment and acknowledge his work in a time of transition for the University.