Newsletter 6/2010

Meeting of Humboldtians in Hanoi and Kathmandu

In November, two Humboldt Foundation interdisciplinary conferences took place in Vietnam and Nepal, each attended by some 100 researchers.

South and Southeast Asia are emergent regions with great scientific potential that can be better utilised through systematic networking amongst the scientists in the region; it should also be put to greater use in extending research cooperation with Germany. These were the main messages of the two events.

Humboldt Colloquium in Hanoi
Humboldt Colloquium in Hanoi

The Humboldt Colloquium in Hanoi was held under the heading “Knowledge Creates Development – The Role of the Humboldt Alumni in Southeast Asia”. Humboldtians from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as well as experts from Germany discussed topics that are crucial to the region: the importance of international cooperation in the continued development of research in Southeast Asia, how to interest qualified junior researchers in a research stay in Germany and the contributions that are being made by science and research towards the further development of the region. The first Humboldt Alumni Association of the Philippines was founded during the Colloquium. The Vietnamese Education Minister, Pham Vu Luan, encouraged more Vietnamese researchers to apply for the Humboldt Foundation’s programmes. He had visited the Foundation in Bonn in early November to conduct talks on German-Vietnamese cooperation.

Humboldt Kolleg in Kathmandu
Humboldt Kolleg in Kathmandu

“Collaborative Research as an Integrative Tool for Strengthening Science and Technology in South Asia” was the title of the Humboldt Kolleg in Kathmandu which brought together Humboldt Foundation alumni and junior researchers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. By systematic networking among researchers in the region they want to make better use of the existing potential for solving problems relating to issues like the environment and healthcare. The “Kathmandu Humboldt Resolution”, which was drawn up during the conference, is to provide the framework for future collaboration. It emphasises the special role of Humboldt alumni in strengthening interdisciplinary and regional networking due to their high academic qualifications. For example, the Humboldt alumni intend to identify research areas that are of particular importance for the region and promote cooperation between universities and industry. Plans have also been made for joint applications for research funding to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, for providing targeted advice for junior researchers and for taking greater advantage of the Foundation’s alumni programmes.