16 January 2015

Feeling valued and appreciated

The President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Helmut Schwarz stresses the importance of a culture of welcome that is practised in everyday life in Germany.

At the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s New Year’s Reception in Berlin, Foundation President Helmut Schwarz expressed his shock over the attacks that took place in Paris last week. He was absolutely appalled by the “unspeakable attack by fanatical, religiously motivated zealots”, said Schwarz Thursday evening to an audience of more than 300 guests from Germany and abroad, including representatives from the sciences, academia, the political sector and industry plus Humboldtians.

Helmut Schwarz speaking about feeling valued and appreciated
Helmut Schwarz speaking about feeling valued
and appreciated
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/David Ausserhofer

Schwarz stressed the vital importance of a free and open society in view of the current disasters, problems and human tragedies throughout the world. He particularly emphasized the importance of a culture of welcome that is actively promoted and practised in everyday life. “We must give everyone - and I am speaking here not only of foreign students and researchers at German institutions but of everyone who comes to Germany and wants to work here - the very clear feeling that they are truly welcome here and are valued and appreciated”, he stated. “True hospitality entails being open and receptive to new and different thoughts and ways of life from other cultures and countries”. Schwarz appealed, “Let us not allow agitators and ‘pied pipers’ at xenophobic demonstrations send a distorted picture of Germany to the world.”

In this connection, Schwarz underscored the unifying and conciliatory role that the science community and also the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation play. “The small contribution that we as the Humboldt Foundation can make toward this consists of developing a network that enables people to trust one another ‒ starting through scientific collaboration”, he said.

For more than a decade now, the Humboldt Foundation has fostered the establishment of a culture of welcome, such as through its Germany’s Friendliest Immigration Office Award, its Welcome Centres for Internationally Mobile Researchers competition, and its Research Alumni of Universities in Germany ideas competition.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 26,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 51 Nobel Prize winners.


Teresa Havlicek
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Phone: +49 228 833-423
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Georg Scholl
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Phone: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441

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