Press release

New challenges call for new ideas: Kick-off for the Humboldt Residency Programme

With its new programme, the Humboldt Foundation connects experts from academia, media and civil society on the subject of social cohesion. The programme kick-off will be on 6 April 2022. Journalists are welcome to attend.

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Illustration einer Menschenmenge, die mit leeren Schildern und einer Flagge für die Menschenrechte protestiert
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild


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Populism and radicalisation undermine democratic life and social cohesion. The war in Ukraine has made us painfully aware of the fact that a peaceful global community needs to be defended time and again. It is clear that new forms of dialogue are needed. With its Humboldt Residency Programme, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is launching a new format for exploring innovative approaches to collaboration and fostering cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange.

The Humboldt Residency Programme gives researchers from the Humboldt Network and beyond the opportunity to work together on a common topic with civil society actors and media professionals for the period of one year, including a residency phase in Berlin, under the creative lead of an annually rotating host. Using a variety of media formats, events and publications, the programme will provide visible impetus in science, society and the political sector.

The first cohort of this new programme will address the subject of social cohesion and explore current tendencies toward social division as well as new forms of (digital) community-building. Since they are spread across the globe, the members of this cohort will initially get together in virtual working meetings. Their collaboration will culminate in an eight-week residency phase that will take place in Berlin in July and August 2022 and will also include public events. Initial findings will be presented in late summer 2022.

Internationally recognised extremism researcher Cynthia Miller-Idriss will be the creative lead of the programme. The US-American sociologist is the director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) at the American University, USA, and is the author of “Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right”.

The 15 members of the first cohort come from a variety of fields, ranging from philosophy to law all the way to gender studies. They include journalists, authors and filmmakers. They come from ten countries: Chile, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, India, Israel, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, the USA and Germany.

The virtual kick-off for the Humboldt Residency Programme will be held from 2:00 - 4:20 p.m. on 6 April 2022. The event will open with a welcome address by Ralf Beste, head of the Directorate General for Culture and Communication of the German Foreign Office, and Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation. The day’s programme will also feature a virtual panel discussion with the Italian political scientist and Humboldtian Donatella della Porta (Berlin Social Science Center) and the psychology professor Jule Specht (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) on the subject of “The End of Debates? Do we need a new vision of community?”, which will be moderated by the creative lead of the first Humboldt Residency cohort, Cynthia Miller-Idriss (American University).

The kick-off event is not open to the public. Journalists are welcome to attend! If you are interested in attending, please contact us at presse[at]

Further information about the programme can be found here.

With its Humboldt Residency Programme, the Humboldt Foundation will intensify interdisciplinary exchange between academia and civil society actors and explore new forms of hybrid collaboration. Dialogue with society is a key priority for the Foundation. Further information about the activities being undertaken in the area of science communication is available here.

(Press release 7/2022)

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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