Alexander von Humboldt Foundation kicks off Humboldt jubilee year at New Year’s Reception

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Humboldt Today campaign to mark the 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt presented

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s New Year’s Reception was held in Berlin on 17 January. This time, the reception revolved around this year’s jubilee: the 14th of September 2019 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt. 

Humboldt Foundation President Hans-Christian Pape welcomed approximately 350 international guests from the sciences, academia, the political sector and industry plus Humboldtians who are currently conducting research in Germany. In his New Year’s address, Pape paid tribute to Humboldt the researcher, humanist and cosmopolitan, a man who was ahead of his time and for this reason is still popular and relevant today. “He warned about the consequences of ecocide at a very early stage and he is considered the founder of modern climate science”, Pape noted. “He held lectures for a broad public, which for him explicitly meant including women who were otherwise excluded from Prussian universities at the time. He took a stand against slavery, colonialism and exploitation.”

The subject of science communication would presumably have been important to the marketing genius and networker, said Pape. “But today, Humboldt wouldn’t only have to talk and explain what’s what, he would also have to listen and engage in dialogue. Because to enhance the transparency of and trust in science is one of the greatest challenges we face.”

The Humboldt Foundation is celebrating the 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt this year with the Humboldt Today campaign. Anyone can upload their own answer to the question “What does Humboldt mean to me today?” in the form of a video or photo statement at Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the journalist Ranga Yogeshwar were among the first to contribute.

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