14 March 2016

Czech alumni association established 25 years ago

Humboldt Foundation’s President Schwarz encourages Czech Humboldtians to campaign for their country.

The President of the Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz, congratulated the Humboldt Club in Prague and gave an extensive interview to the tradition-laden Czech newspaper “Lidové Noviny“ during his recent visit to the Czech capital. In this interview Helmut Schwarz spoke about role models, the Humboldt Foundation’s funding principles, and scientific exchange as a foundation for diplomacy. It is of essential importance for young scientists to go abroad and become acquainted not only with the scientific work being conducted in other countries but with other cultures as well, he noted. “The Humboldt Foundation also wants to see this collaboration work in both directions: in other words, not only should Czechs be going to Germany but German researchers and academics should also have the opportunity to work in the Czech Republic”, said Schwarz, calling on Czech Humboldtians to take the stage with confidence and drum up more interest for their country in order to attract talented researchers from abroad. In light of the fact that young post-docs have a lot of options today, it is important that a country be internationally visible, he noted. In addition to scientific institutions in Prague and Brno, “the Humboldt Club - being the association of former Humboldt Fellows - can be of help in attracting interest”, said Schwarz. Europe’s standing has grown; the level of investment to fund science and research is among the highest anywhere and has to be maintained, he stressed.

Asked about the importance of the European Research Council and Humboldt Foundation’s activities to foster excellence, Schwarz explained that it is possible to “foster systems and structures in the long term by supporting exceptional individuals today”. When the right person is chosen, this person will support other outstanding individuals, Schwarz commented, noting that this person would then function as a mentor for young scientists as well.

Festakt in der Deutschen Botschaft

back (from left to right): Arndt Freiherr Freytag von
Loringhoven, German Ambassador, Helmut Schwarz,
President of the Humboldt Foundation, Eva-Maria
Stange, Saxony's State Minister of Science and the Arts
right hand side: Jan Franc, Head of the Humboldt Club
in the Czech Republic.
The photo also shows musicians who took part in the
festive ceremony.

Photo: German Embassy Prague

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Humboldt Club, the German Ambassador in Prague, Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven, hosted a festive ceremony in the German Embassy on 2 March. Eighty former and current Fellows and award winners of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the Czech Republic have banded together in the alumni association. They include numerous scientists and scholars in positions of influence such as the Chairman of the Academy of Sciences, Jiři Drahoš, the Vice-Rectors of the Charles University, Jan Konvalinka, and the Czech Technical University in Prague, Miroslav Vlček. To date the Humboldt Foundation has funded more than 430 scientists from the Czech Republic and some ten researchers from Germany who selected a Czech host for their Feodor Lynen Fellowship.

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Georg Scholl
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Fax: +49 228 833-441
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