Macquarie University to host the 2019 Biennial Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Associations of von Humboldt Fellows

19 November 2019

This year’s Biennial Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Associations of von Humboldt Fellows will be held at Macquarie University for the first time and aims to rethink what “sharing knowledge” means in today’s world.

2019 marks the 250th year since the birth of Alexander von Humboldt, a pioneering German researcher, explorer, thinker and communicator. In his day, Humboldt’s public lectures in Berlin and Paris held everyone enthralled, dazzled fellow researchers, and made headline news. He maintained a global correspondence throughout his life and his book Views of Nature became an international bestseller and was translated into 11 languages.

Not surprisingly, Humboldt’s legacy in academic institutions across the world today encourages 21st century researchers to continue to be mindful that “knowledge needs to be shared to be meaningful”. To that end, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports nominated and qualified scholars throughout their careers, and every year grants more than 700 competitive research fellowships and awards. The symposium program highlights include panel discussions devoted to science communication, diversity education, research-industry connections, ethical treatment of the dead, as well as research speed talks and an interactive workshop with media experts.

Professor Ingrid Piller from the Department of Linguistics is among Macquarie’s Humboldt Fellows (also known as ‘Humboldtians’) and chair of the conference committee. She says the symposium – which runs from 22-24 November – is a unique opportunity for researchers to come together in the spirit of Humboldt.

“Together with Humboldt Fellows from around Australia and New Zealand and across multiple disciplines, we’ll be looking at pressing contemporary challenges of research communication, dissemination and impact,” says Professor Piller. “Our panels will discuss the role of academic publishing, social and broadcast media, academic networks and industry, as well as linguistic and cultural diversity in research communication.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius, also a Humboldt Fellow, says Macquarie could not be a more fitting host for the symposium. “It is a real honour for our university to host this milestone conference. Humboldt was an incredibly forward-thinking researcher. His quest for new knowledge and desire to share knowledge across discipline boundaries echoes Macquarie’s own aspiration – to open up new frontiers together and create leading-edge innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Filed under: Featured