Researchers from around the world gathered on 23 and 24 June in a virtual space under the motto “Diversity of Ideas” to discuss and celebrate diversity in science and research. Following opening remarks by Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Humboldt Foundation’s President Hans-Christian Pape, individuals from a wide array of countries who have been sponsored by the Foundation provided insights into their work. In science lectures, brain dates and virtual lab visits, participants shared insights into and views on various aspects of diversity. In the course of these exchanges, it became clear over and over again that diversity is a key element of innovation and excellence.
In her greeting, Nobel laureate and Humboldtian Emmanuelle Charpentier noted: “New discoveries come from a mixture of ideas, of people, of cultures, of methodologies.” However, despite the many positive signs, there is still much to be done, particularly in connection with equality of opportunity and gender equality, sociologist Jutta Allmendinger, President of the Berlin Social Science Center, stressed in her keynote speech: “Active recruitment and the systematic promotion of women are extremely important.”
"Diversity is the best way"
The conference also gave the families of Humboldtians special attention. In the Children’s Room, young aspiring researchers had the opportunity to conduct their own experiments, learn interesting facts about robots and even attend lectures at the Goethe Institute’s “Kinderuniversity”. The sky was the limit for their creativity. Diversity is a driving force for creativity. Many Humboldtians demonstrated this in the “Respect” dance video and with their conference T-shirts which they personalised themselves. Together with their families, they shared their very personal views of the subject of #ProgressDiversity with the Humboldt Network and in social media.
Painting, dancing and even cooking: More than 100 participants at the conference followed the Foundation’s call and submitted recipes from their native areas for the Humboldt Network of Taste which offers a culinary journey through the network: starting with a vegan stroganoff, a Russian recipe that is highly popular in Brazil, and xorešte rivas, a Persian rhubarb stew with rice, and extending all the way to aam porar sorbot, an Indian beverage made from grilled green mangos for hot summer months. The digital map of the world is packed with recipes along with personal memories that the individual Humboldtians have of the dishes they submitted.