Crossing Boundaries: Capacity Building in Global Perspective

4th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities

10 – 11 October 2010, Berlin


Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, leading academics and high-ranking representatives from science and research, science administration and research policy met for the 4th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities from 11 to 12 October 2010 in Berlin. Upon invitation of the Humboldt Foundation’s International Advisory Board, participants took a global perspective on the possible role of science and research in overcoming barriers, embracing the challenges of globalization and contributing to sustainable solutions to the scientific problems posed by the future. Against the backdrop of the ever more intense global competition for the best minds the Forum discussed the implications of internationalization and globalization processes with regard to science and research, research funding strategies, and the situation of individual researchers on global academic markets, as well as the potential for creating networks of trust, and conducting and promoting science as a diplomacy of trust. Amongst the issues that warranted particular focus were how scientific findings can be conveyed more effectively into the political arena and incorporated in political decision-making.

Participants at the Fourth Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities
Participants at the Fourth Forum on the Internationalization
of Sciences and Humanites
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/bildschön

As a special guest of honor, the Forum welcomed Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In her opening speech, Secretary Jones emphasized the role science and research could play as part of a diplomacy of trust that is essential for international cooperation striving to cope with global challenges. Therefore, it was not only essential to invest in promising fields of research, but also to ensure that science and individual scientists could make their voices heard more clearly in the political arena.

Particular attention was paid to the role institutional research funding and international academic exchange can play as they confront and embrace the chances and challenges of globalization. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has been actively engaged in the promotion of international research cooperation for more than 50 years, and has nurtured a network comprising more than 24,000 Humboldtians worldwide, with many of them holding important positions in science and academia as well as in government and society. Participants agreed that by helping scientists and researchers push back the boundaries of science and create new knowledge, by fostering international cultural dialogue and promoting universal understanding through international academic exchange, the Humboldt Foundation actively contributes to scientific capacity building on a global scale, and to the development of leadership in science and academia as well as in other areas of society.

The most important discussion points and recommendations of the Forum are released for publication. Documentation of the events held in previous years on “Strategies to Win the Best: German Approaches in International Perspective” (2008) and “Cultures of Creativity: The Challenge of Scientific Innovation in Transnational Perspective” (2009) are already available online or can be obtained from the Foundation directly.

Publication for Download

Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities

International Advisory Board


Frank Albrecht
Senior Coordinator
Strategic Planning Division
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn

Phone: +49 (228) 833 122

Dr. Martin Schaffartzik
Program Director
Strategic Planning Division

Dr. Barbara Sheldon
Head of
Strategic Planning Division