IPU is a young university and only just celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2019. Throughout its slowly growing history, presidents have shaped and cultivated the IPU in a variety of ways. When it was founded in October 2009, its only course of study, a master’s program for clinical psychology, contained only 75 students. Since then, the IPU has built itself into an internationally renowned center for psychoanalytic research and teaching. Here, you can read about how each of IPU’s former presidents helped to shape the university during their time in office.
Together, Christa Rohde-Dachser and I developed a concept of a psychoanalytic university, which was to be the only of its kind within Germany up until then. This university had become necessary, since at that time, psychoanalysis was hardly represented in universities at all. The IPU was meant to reawaken student interest, but more importantly, it was meant to create a university environment in which psychoanalysis could be further developed as a social and cultural science and which could foster future generations of psychodynamically oriented scholars. Founding the IPU was a challenging job: which study courses to offer, how to construct the curricula, which professors could we acquire, and how many students would be interested? Looking back, it seems this project was worth it: At the first plenary meeting on November 11, 2009, we were 10 professors and 74 students.
In the years between 2012 and 2018, I served as president of the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin and was involved in its expansion and consolidation. We pursed the goals of establishing scientifically-based psychoanalytic study at a university level and of imparting an understanding for the meaning of unconscious process and conflicts at the individual level, in family and social relationships, and societal processes to our students. We had the ability to raise funds for psychoanalytically inspired research projects, promote internationalism, and initiate advanced training programs. The IPU became a beacon of psychoanalysis and an important part of my life, and it will remain so. For this, I thank all of my former colleagues. If I am ever needed in the future, I will gladly offer my help once again.