Strong commitment to young African scientists – Horst Köhler is patron of a new fellowship programme

More than 650 outstanding students and post docs are expected at Lake Constance from 28 June, 35 from the African continent. Former German Federal President Horst Köhler is the patron of the newly created Africa programme for the Lindau Meetings: the “Horst Köhler Fellowship Programme” enables excellent African scientists to participate. The programme is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and will be substantially expanded in the coming years with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Africa is so much more than the stereotypes that many of us still have in our heads. It is a dynamic, creative and diverse continent with an enormous and rapidly growing young population that is hungry for change. This is why I am grateful and excited that the Lindau Meetings have invited young fellows from Africa; some of the brightest minds from the continent. I am sure that not only will they learn a lot from the Nobel Laureates but also that we all will gain from their creativity and persistence,” said Horst Köhler. He had spoken up for the interests of Africa during his term of office as Federal President and set a number of key impulses in motion.

Horst Köhler will attend the opening ceremony of the Lindau Meeting on 28 June. He will then meet the Horst Köhler Fellows at a breakfast the following Monday, 29 June. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the French Nobel Laureate in Medicine and discoverer of the HI virus, will also be in attendance. She is strongly involved in efforts to improve research conditions in Africa.

Of the 35 African students to have made it through the several stages of the selection process, nine come from South Africa, four are from Egypt and Cameroon respectively, three from Ghana and three from Mauritius, and two from Botswana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe respectively, along with one each from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.

The Lindau Meetings’ existing network of academic partners was also involved in nominating the young African scientists. As in previous years, nominations were received from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Department of Science and Technology South Africa and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Nobel Laureate Peter Agre, long a champion of malaria research, also proposed one African scientist for participation.

There will be 65 laureates taking part in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The interdisciplinary meeting will take place between 28 June and 3 July and serves as a forum for exchange, networking and inspiration. The Lindau Meetings have been held every year since 1951 in Lindau on Lake Constance.

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