The year 2022 brought the gradual return to normal academic operations; finally, a “real” meeting of the Fellows’ Club could be held again – with a dense and impressive program. The good tradition of the Berliner Abend was revived at the beginning of 2023, as well. As much as the situation of the vast worldwide epidemic seems to be calming down, geopolitical relations have taken a threatening direction. The cruel war of conquest that Russia began in Ukraine and that is increasingly developing into a war of annihilation has affected the scientific world in its innermost core. Once again it has become clear that the freedom of science is a high value that, even in Europe, cannot be taken for granted in any way. But precisely in such times, free exchange and open discussion are even more essential and important. The Wissenschaftskolleg is engaged, with a special program to support Ukrainian researchers.
I would like to take the opportunity of this newsletter to bid farewell to you in my function as Chair of the Fellows’ Club. At the beginning of my term in office, a revision of the Charter was implemented, and part of this revision was the limitation of terms of office. After two terms and six years, it is thus time for a change, and, dear members of the Fellows’ Club, you must carry out this change at the next meeting this June. Since not all of you can be present, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my Vice Chairs: Karin Mölling, Frank Rexroth, Julia Voß and Simone Reber, Rector Luca Giuliani and Rector Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, the wonderful colleagues in the team, especially Sonja Grund, Katharina Wiedemann, Vera Kempa, Nina Kitsos, and Sabine Ubags, and above all Daniel Schönpflug. And of course, I thank all the members for their trust and for an intimidating series of unforgettable experiences. It was always a lot of fun. To vary a bon mot of Henry James, I can say: there are two kinds of honorary offices, those at the Wiko Fellows’ Club and all the others. In this sense, I look forward to seeing you all again this June and to many more years in and with the Fellows’ Club.