“The most dangerous of all worldviews is the worldview of people who have not seen the world.” Alexander von Humboldt. Stays abroad help to better understand project partners, their wishes, needs and opinions. To expand your own horizons – both personally and professionally – stays abroad are irreplaceable.
Night has already fallen, but a wind of 36 degrees still blows over the people. Distinct rhythms sound from the stage out across the audience. One after the other, the singer asks her audience to dance, arranged by their countries. And indeed, despite the oven-like climate, the young women and men rise from their seats and dance. Pure joie de vivre in the here and now.
We are in sub-Saharan Africa, more precisely, in Niamey, Niger. And these young people have every reason to celebrate, because they are part of a new training program in West Africa. A few days ago, the young men and women who are dancing so exuberantly today participated highly officially in the opening ceremony of this program. An educational program that means a better future for them. Not only for them, but also for their families. I had the great fortune to attend the opening of the International Master’s Program in Energy and Green Hydrogen (IMP-EGH) as well. And once again, my time in Niger made it clear to me how important stays abroad are. After all, you only get to know the needs and lifestyles of other people through direct exchange. That’s why the 60 West African students who successfully qualified for the IMP-EGH program from among more than 900 applicants will have the opportunity to study in Germany for a semester. Here they will also get to know our everyday life and take the experience back home.
Science overcomes borders
Science is not a solo effort; it consists of collaboration across disciplines and countries. Green hydrogen is an excellent example of this. We can research and develop new hydrogen technologies wonderfully here in Germany. However, for “the green” in Green Hydrogen, sufficient energy from renewable sources is needed. Unfortunately, there is no space for wind and solar plants or even sun and wind in sufficient quantities in Germany. In order to bring green hydrogen to Germany, it is therefore important to have strong partners from whose countries exports would be possible. Africa, for example, is a good location for the production of energy from volatile energy sources and accordingly also for the production of green hydrogen. The H2-Atlas Africa project has already investigated the conditions in numerous African countries. Together with partners and through numerous on-site visits, the conditions could be examined and the needs of the population discussed. In a scientific exchange across national borders, communication at eye level must be the first priority, because it should be profitable for both sides.
Stays abroad help to better understand the project partners, their wishes, needs and opinions. In addition, it is also possible to get to know the research conditions. Certainly, the currently raging pandemic is a major problem and often prevents travel abroad. However, video conferences cannot replace direct exchange in the long run. In order to broaden your own horizons – both personally and professionally – stays abroad are irreplaceable.
Alexander von Humboldt said very aptly: “The most dangerous of all world views is the world view of people who have not seen the world.” And von Humboldt should know, after all he took part in various expeditions around the world to get to know and study the different countries and all their facets.
Further information on the internationalization of Forschungszentrum Jülich is available on its website at: https://www.fz-juelich.de/ue/DE/Leistungen/Nationale_Internationale_Beziehungen_UE-B/_node.html (german)
Further information on the “International Master’s Program in Energy and Green Hydrogen” (IMP-EGH) is available on the website of Jülich Aachen Research Alliance: https://www.jara.org/en/research/energy/news/detail/Kick-off-IMP-EGH