In memory of Walter Kiefer

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We mourn the death of the founding director of KAAD, Walter Kiefer, who passed away on 27 April 2023 at the age of 94.


The economist was the head of a first KAAD office from 1956 to 1959, which was already able to award some scholarships from 1956, even before the official founding of the association in May 1958. The focus at that time was on Asia. The most prominent scholarship holder of this early period, the great Korean composer Isang Yun, dedicated a quartet to Kiefer in 1958. The latter then moved to Misereor, which was founded shortly after KAAD, and became deputy to its director, Prelate Gottfried Dossing. Together with the Executive Board, he steered the beginnings of KAAD, which he liked to call his "tender little plant" and of whose growth he convinced himself until his old age - for example through visits to our Annual Conventions. Thus, in a letter to the retiring long-time Secretary General Hermann Weber in 2021, he called KAAD a "contrast to all the adversities that the Church in Germany currently offers, virtually a lighthouse visible worldwide". Kiefer, an enthusiastic hiker, who had staying power and a good sense of direction in the changeful work for the Global South, was a much sought-after advisor even beyond his professionally active time because of his broad expertise in development policy. We will miss him very much.