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"You are among Ba­var­ia's best": Max We­ber Pro­gram cele­brates New Year's Re­cep­tion 2023

"Your out­stand­ing abili­ties make you exact­ly who we need, be­cause we have to give great an­swers to great ques­tions": With an im­pas­si­oned ap­peal, Ba­varian State Min­ister of Sci­ence and the Arts Markus Blume wel­comed al­most 300 schol­arship hold­ers and alum­ni at the New Year's Re­cep­tion of the Max We­ber Pro­gram in the Mu­nich Resi­dence at the end of Janu­ary. The Max We­ber Pro­gram, which is run in coop­era­tion with the Ger­man Aca­demic Scholarship Foun­da­tion, is an im­portant part of the pro­mo­tion of gifted stu­dents in Ba­varia.

"We all feel that we are at one or even sever­al turn­ing points in histo­ry: The global order is being chal­lenged, major tasks such as com­bating cli­mate change are pal­pable and tech­nical as well as scien­tific pro­gress is accel­er­ating expo­nentially. It is all the more im­portant that we have you, who are equipped with spe­cial skills," em­pha­sised State Min­ister Blume with regard to the annu­al theme of the Max We­ber Pro­gram for 2023 "Turning Point.", which was also the motto of this first face-to-face event since 2020.

Blume: "You have all it takes to master these big tasks!"

"I would like us to talk less about the sup­posed last gen­era­tion and take the per­spec­tive that yours is the first gen­era­tion," Blume made clear. "You are the first gen­era­tion that can really take effec­tive action against cli­mate change. You are the first gen­era­tion that has tech­nical capa­bili­ties like artifi­cial intel­li­gence at their fin­ger­tips. You are the first gen­era­tion that can per­haps defeat the great scourges of hu­mani­ty, espe­cially in the area of health, in a way that no gen­era­tion has been able to do be­fore. And as par­tici­pants in the Max We­ber Pro­gram, you are among Ba­var­ia's best: you have all it takes to mas­ter these great tasks, and we will con­tinue to ac­tively sup­port you!"

Presi­dent of the Studienstif­tung ex­press­es grati­tude for cour­age, confi­dence and com­mit­ment

The Presi­dent of the Ger­man Aca­demic Scholarship Foun­da­tion, which has been the coop­era­tion part­ner of the Elite Net­work of Ba­varia in the im­ple­men­tation of the Max We­ber Pro­gram for over 15 years, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Rein­hard Zim­mer­mann, de­scribed the schol­arship hold­ers as bea­cons of hope: "In my al­most twelve years in office as Presi­dent of the Studienstif­tung, I have be­come par­ticu­larly fond of this pro­gramme. I have been able to get to know many bright and com­mit­ted young peo­ple in the Max We­ber Pro­gram. I thank you all for your cour­age, your confi­dence and for your com­mit­ment in tack­ling the chal­lenges ahead!"

Poet­ry slam – am I aware that I know prac­tically noth­ing?

The schol­arship hold­ers also showed their spe­cial tal­ents in the Max-Jose­ph-Saal of the Mu­nich Resi­dence. Jul­ius Althoetmar looked back on the annu­al theme of 2022 "True/False: What Can We Know?" in a pro­found and amus­ing way with his poetry slam talk "Dunning-Kruger". He vivid­ly point­ed out the limits of our own knowledge and cari­ca­tured the wide­spread ig­nor­ance of ac­knowledg­ing these limits. The event was musi­cally ac­com­panied by the "Duo-Eluise" with Katharina Strepp on violin and Sarah Luisa Wurmer on zither as well as by Julia Forstmeier on violin and Lukas Schamriß on cello. A re­cently formed jazz com­bo rounded off the event in a skilful man­ner.

Key­note lec­ture on the im­portance of sci­ence di­plomacy

An­other excit­ing im­pulse was pro­vided by the key­note speech by Prof. Dr Maria Rentetzi on the im­portance of sci­ence di­plomacy. Under the title "In Need of New Nar­ra­tives: Sci­ence Di­plomacy for the Fu­ture", the phys­icist and histo­rian from Frie­drich-Alexan­der-Universi­tät Er­langen-Nürn­berg (FAU) used the ex­ample of the Inter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency to ad­dress the ques­tion of what con­tribu­tion sci­ence can make to solv­ing polit­ical crises.

For the final recep­tion with drinks and treats, the guests, among whom also were many men­tors, gath­ered in the Theatiner­gang and were able to round off the New Year's recep­tion with an in­for­mal ex­change. Six schol­arship hold­ers invit­ed the guests to view their art­works, some of which had been spe­cially con­ceived for the event and dealt with the annu­al theme "Turning Point." in per­sonal and social terms.

Text: Michael Becker, Dr Anke Dörner, Dr Matthias Weiland and Coordination Office of the Elite Network of Bavaria