The Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD) is the scholarship institution of the German Catholic Church for post-graduate students and scientists from (developing) countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, as well as Eastern and Southeastern Europe. KAAD supports his scholars in form of scholarships and educational programs and offers spiritual and personal assistance in view of future multiplying functions students will have in their home countries. This is based on cooperation with partner committees and associations of ex-scholars in those countries and it aims at setting up (scientific) networks and at contributing to a holistic development, which includes the religious and inter-religious dimensions.
During the 1950s, when German Catholics opened themselves increasingly toward questions and concerns of the World Church, particularly organisations of Catholic laymen recognized the opportunities that could develop in this area from a dialogue with international students in Germany. On this background KAAD developed of an initiative of the Catholic Congress in Fulda in 1954. Four years later it was formally registered in Bonn as a non-profit association.