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Letting ourselves be guided by Humboldt’s enthusiasm 

Federal President Steinmeier in Colombia

Federal President Steinmeier in Colombia, © dpa

15.02.2019 - Article

In his speech marking the opening of the Humboldt season of events, Federal President Steinmeier called for more scientific curiosity and environmental protection.

250 years after the birth of the great German natural scientist, the findings of Alexander von Humboldt are more relevant than ever. Speaking in Ecuador, Federal President Steinmeier issued a warning: The earth’s entire ecosystem is threatened. We only have one planet. In future, we must get better at protecting the environment. Steinmeier went on to express his hope that we will all allow ourselves to be inspired by the curiosity and delight of this great researcher. During his visit, the Federal President also visited an archipelago off the coast of Cartagena, Columbia. It was from here that Humboldt set out on his journey through Latin America 220 years ago. While on the islands, the Federal President met with civil society representatives to discuss ecological issues and sustainable tourism. He is being accompanied on his journey by a delegation of Alexander von Humboldt experts, natural scientists and prize winners of the “Jugend forscht” competition.

Humboldt season of events aims to bring his research to life

Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, is travelling with Steinmeier during his visit to Colombia and Ecuador. She says:

Alexander von Humboldt did not only focus on the smaller elements of nature, on blossoms, plants and stones, but also had the big picture in mind, for example when he investigated the impact of the climate on humankind. This is very topical today, in an era of globalisation and worldwide digital connectivity. 2019 is the year to rediscover Humboldt.

In Quito, Müntefering met with local project partners of the Humboldt season of events.

The projects aim to enhance mutual understanding and foster tolerance among cultures, as well as promote sustainability, innovation and knowledge transfer – all in the spirit of Humboldt. Particularly along the route that he travelled, i.e. what is now Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico, as well as in other Latin American countries, the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Goethe Institut and local partners wants to bring Humboldt’s legacy to life. Be it in the Humboldt Mobile, with virtual reality headsets, through a graphic novel or with cultural events, Humboldt is alive!  

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