Saturday, January 4, 2020

Research without borders: Humboldt Conference 2019, Bangkok, Thailand

The First Southeast Asian Humboldt Kolleg (Conference) organized by the Humboldt Clubs (or Associations) of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and hosted by the Humboldt Club of Thailand led by its president, Prof. Wanchai De-Eknamkul, was held on 19-21 December 2019 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

With the theme “Southeast Asian Research Without Borders”, the scientific conference was part of the global celebrations honoring the 250th birth anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the greatest and most celebrated scientists of the 19th century. It was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the National Research Council of Thailand.

Humboldt fellows from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam as well as some guests from
SE Asia and Germany 

Humboldtians are outstanding scientists who have been awarded the world-renowned Humboldt Research Fellowships (and Humboldt Research Awards for the few world-leading scientists) by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation based in Bonn, Germany. Selections for the fellowships are highly competitive. 
“There are no quotas, neither for individual countries nor for particular academic disciplines. Only the excellent scientific performance of the applicant counts” ( Fellows receive support from the Foundation for life. Until now only 30 scientists in the Philippines have received the prestigious Humboldt fellowship.

Nine (9) Filipino Humboldtians attended the Bangkok conference. They were Dr. Christopher C. Bernido and Dr. Maria Victoria Bernido (University of San Carlos in Cebu City/Research Center for Theoretical Physics, Bohol), Dr. Rafael Espiritu (De la Salle University), Dr. Arnold Hallare (U.P. Manila), Dr. Maribel Dionisio-Sese (U.P. Los Banos), Dr. Allan Patrick Macabeo (University of Santo Tomas), Dr. Ian Navarrete (Ateneo de Manila University) and Dr. Victor B. Asio and Dr. Erlinda Vasquez (Visayas State University).

The Philippine delegation (L-R): Dr. Hallare, Dr. C. Bernido, Dr. M. Bernido, Dr Sese, Dr. Vasquez, Dr. V. Asio,
Dr. Navarrete, Dr. Espiritu, Dr. L. Asio and Dr. Macabeo 

Dr. Chris Bernido (Ramon Magsaysay Awardee in 2010) was one of the four Outstanding Humboldtians from SE Asia who were recognized during the conference. Dr. Asio, the president of Humboldt Club Philippines, presented a paper on the status of the Humboldt Club in the Philippines and served as a plenary session moderator. All the other Filipino Humboldtians gave oral presentations on topics in their field of research.

The conference organizers invited a few non-Humboldtian researchers from the five countries as well as professors from Germany who served as plenary speakers. Dr. Luz G. Asio from the Department of Agronomy at Visayas State University, was the sole non-Humboldtian participant from the Philippines.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was established by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany to promote international academic cooperation between excellent scientists and scholars from Germany and from abroad. It is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as other national and international partners.

Werner Heisenberg, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century (Nobel Prize for Physics 1932 for the creation of quantum mechanics), was the first president of the Foundation after its re-establishment in 1953 until 1975. Feodor Lynen (Nobel Prize for Medicine 1964) and Wolfgang Paul (Nobel Prize for Physics 1989) also served as presidents of the Foundation from 1975-79 and 1979-89, respectively.

The Foundation maintains a global network of more than 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in over 140 countries worldwide including 55 Nobel Laureates.

No comments: