07 July 2016, No . 11/2016

Federal President Gauck:  "We are a country of science and research"

Speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany's president Joachim Gauck stressed the role science plays in solving global problems and paid tribute to the contributions made by the Humboldt Family.

As part of the Humboldt Foundation's Annual Meeting, Germany's President Gauck received more than 670 Humboldtians and their families in the park at Schloss Bellevue this morning, the last time during his term of office. "The entire country is pleased that you are in contact with our scientists and scholars, with our universities", he said, welcoming his guests from 78 countries.

"We all benefit from your work, from the fact that you make new discoveries and expand our horizons", Gauck said, emphasizing the role science plays in solving global problems. He then called on the Humboldtians attending the reception: "We are a country of science and research. And should we ever forget this, you are a reminder that we must procure enough money and manpower to continue promoting this important aspect of Germany's existence." Today, knowledge and science must be globally linked, he added.

Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation, also emphasized the importance of the multicultural, interdisciplinary Humboldt Network in his opening address at the Freie Universität in Berlin yesterday. It is here that the ideals of tolerance and respect for human dignity are put into practice. Moreover, personal exchange and scientific collaboration lead to trustful co-existence, dialogue and integration, he noted.

"The Humboldt Foundation stands for a cosmopolitan understanding of research and science as being integrative factors that foster a world culture without borders." In this "diplomacy of trust" it is vital to talk with one another directly through personal contact. This also has the potential to influence processes at institutional level and ultimately even how nations deal with one another, Schwarz explained.

In the years since the first meeting in 1955, the Humboldtians' annual visit with Germany's president has become a tradition. It is also the highlight of the Annual Meeting. "It was the highlight in Bonn and continues to be the highlight in Berlin. The only difference is that the number of Humboldtians was initially small and has since grown considerably", Gauck was pleased to report.

The Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

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 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 52 Nobel Prize winners.

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