Press release

Humboldt Colloquium “Sustainable Futures” in San Francisco

About 100 researchers from all disciplines will get together in San Francisco at the invitation of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation from 29 February to 2 March.

  • from
Golden Gate Bridge
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Press, Communications and Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-144
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The Humboldt Colloquium focuses on the question as how we can create a sustainable future for our planet and our communities in the face of profound ecological, technological, and societal changes. As an international networking organisation connecting outstanding researchers and leaders in all science-related fields around the world, the Humboldt Foundation feels under a special obligation to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

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Programme Humboldt Colloquium “Sustainable Futures” (PDF, 425 KB)

The event will bring together perspectives from all disciplines, exploring trends in current basic research, asking how sustainable development and innovation can be achieved in all aspects of our existence, and how networks of trust can make a meaningful difference.

At the event, approximately 100 alumni of the Humboldt Foundation will have the opportunity to establish contacts within the Humboldt Network as well as with potential collaboration partners in Germany.

Journalists are welcome to attend. We will be glad to arrange interviews. Please register by e-mail to  presse[at]

Thursday, 29 February 2024, 6 p.m.
St. Francis Yacht Club, 99 Yacht Road, San Francisco

Oliver Schramm, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco
Robert Schlögl, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 

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Sponsorship of international cutting-edge research in AI

Panel: AI for All? Current Visions and Risks in International Perspective 

Holger Hoos, Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Artificial Intelligence, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Yolanda D. McGill, Deputy General Counsel & Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, ZEST AI

Holger Hoos holds an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship in AI at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, where he also leads the RWTH AI Centre, as well as a professorship in machine learning at Universiteit Leiden, the Netherlands, and an adjunct professorship in computer science at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI).

Yolanda D. McGill is Zest AI’s first Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs. Zest AI is a software provider for the lending industry that utilises AI and machine learning to ensure fair and transparent lending. Yolanda McGill is a practising attorney with more than 20 years of experience in financial services. She has drafted law and policy, led state legislative campaigns, built national coalitions, and educated policymakers and the public on complex problems and the possibilities for sustainable solutions for them. 

Friday, 1 March 2024, 9 a.m.
Westin St. Francis, Union Square, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco.

Opening Remarks 
Robert Schlögl, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 
Oliver Schramm, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco
Christian Hänel, President of the American Friends of AvH

Keynote Lectures 
“Sustainable urban development in times of crisis: How to plan for shrinking smart and ageing smart?”
Karina Pallagst
, Dean, Faculty of Spatial and Environmental Planning, University Kaiserslautern-Landau, Germany
“Earth system contributions to sustainable international cooperation” 
Antje Schwalb
, Director, Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany

Karina Pallagst is Dean of the Faculty of Spatial and Environmental Planning at the University Kaiserslautern-Landau, Germany. Her research focuses on comparative urban and regional development, shrinking cities in the international context, planning in the USA, European spatial development, planning culture and growth management. With a Feodor Lynen Fellowship of the Humboldt Foundation, she attended the University of California, Berkeley in 2002, where she was Program Director at the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies from 2006 to 2010.

Antje Schwalb has been at Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, since 2002. She is head of the Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication which she founded in 2012. The environmental and palaeoclimate researcher is chair of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources. She has been a member of the Humboldt Foundation’s selection committee for the Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme since 2019 and was previously a member of the VolkswagenStiftung’s Board of Trustees as well as on various committees of the German Research Foundation.

Every year, the Humboldt Foundation organises up to two major colloquia abroad to which all the alumni from the respective country or region are invited. The colloquium in San Francisco takes place in cooperation with the German Consulate General San Francisco, the German Center for Research and Innovation San Francisco, the American Friends of AvH (the professional partner of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the United States), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

(Press release 4/2024)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.

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