1 October 2014

Humboldt Foundation presented the Hedwig Award

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was presented the Hedwig Award in Wrocław today in recognition of its special contributions to the German-Polish dialogue. The award has been jointly conferred by the University of Wrocław and the City of Wrocław on a German and a Pole every year since 2004. Former German laureates include Helmut Kohl, Gesine Schwan and Kurt Masur.

Hedwig Award 2014
Hedwig Award Ceremony 2014 in Wrocław
Photo: Jerzy Katarzyński - from left to right:
Tadeusz Luty (City of Wrocław President's Counsellor),
Mieczysław Orski (Chief Editor „Odra“), Enno Aufderheide,
Marek Bojarski (Rector University of Wrocław)
This year, institutions were singled out for the first time. The Polish cultural magazine Odra was honoured alongside the Humboldt Foundation. The award ceremony was held in connection with the start of the academic year at the University of Wrocław.

“I take this award as a proof that our fellowships and awards are successfully building networks of trust that go beyond academia, that overcome boundaries between countries or political systems”, said Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation, as he accepted the award in Wrocław. “Science as diplomacy of trust has been and continues to be an especially successful instrument in strengthening Polish and German relations.” As Aufderheide explained, this honour particularly goes to the Humboldtians in Poland who were open to living in Germany and have thus spread understanding and trust.
In the years since it was founded in 1953, the Humboldt Foundation has granted more than 1,280 fellowships and awards to scholars and researchers from Poland. Thus, Polish Humboldtians are the largest group of Humboldt alumni in any European country.

The award was named after Hedwig of Andechs who was the Duchess of Silesia in the 13th century and was canonised by the Catholic Church. Today, she is regarded as the patron of reconciliation and as a bridge builder between Poles and Germans.

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