Since our gathering in Hobart about this time last year much has been happening.
As the result of discussions early this year between the 2015 conference committee led by Peter Jarvis and the Executive of the Royal Society of Tasmania, the latter agreed to publish a special edition of the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania with contributions from the Hobart colloquium. Honorary Secretary Trevor Finlayson worked with editor Margaret Davies of the Royal Society on this initiative, requesting manuscripts from speakers for peer review. As a result, a very fine volume [Vol. 150, Part 1 (2016)] appeared in August. It is pleasing to have this further outcome from the very successful Hobart colloquium.
At our biennial general meeting in Hobart, we agreed that the Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows’ (AAvHF) website needed upgrading. Vice-President Jeff Malpas kindly offered to oversee this project and has been working with Hobart-based web designer Sebastian Griffiths. The update will ensure that we have a more user-friendly website which a couple of designated webmasters will be able to update regularly. We expect the site to go live before Christmas.
For some years, our most dedicated webmaster overseeing the current website has been Patrick Kluth from the Australian National University. His commitment to the Association in this role has been exceptional and, on behalf of all of you, I express our sincere appreciation to Patrick.
Following the Hobart meeting, we had some changes to our State/Territory representatives. These will be clearly noted on the bottom of our new website. In the meantime, I take this opportunity to list their details below and to thank them for the work that they do to promote the Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows:
|Australian Capital Territory||Hans Bachor||[email protected]|
|New South Wales||Julienne Harnett||[email protected]|
|Queensland||Thomas Baumgartl||[email protected]|
|South Australia||Nico Voelcker (2016)
Peter Hochs (from 2017)
|Tasmania||Nathan Kilah||[email protected]|
|Victoria||Trevor Finlayson||[email protected]|
|Western Australia||Walter Bloom||[email protected]|
For your further information, the other members of the executive are as follows:
|President||Gabrielle McMullen||[email protected]|
|Past President||Rob Robson||[email protected]|
|Vice-President||Jeff Malpas||[email protected]|
|Secretary||Trevor Finlayson||[email protected]|
|Treasurer and Registrar||Gary Bryant||[email protected]|
|Committee member||Patrick Kluth||[email protected]|
|Committee member||Peter Jarvis||[email protected]|
|Committee member||Patsie Polly||[email protected]|
These committee members through their various roles play a key part in ongoing work of the Association and I express my appreciation to them all and especially to our dedicated Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Kay Double continues to lead the DAAD-AAvHF Research Ambassadors and Mentoring Program (RAMP). This successful collaboration between our association and the DAAD is fostering the development of young researchers through the generous support of established researchers who offer independent career advice and other mentoring to the young researchers. From Friday, 2 until Sunday, 4 September 2016 a meeting held at RMIT University in Melbourne reviewed the current RAMP initiative. A number of mentors and mentees presented their experiences of the program to those in attendance, including congenially over a dinner on the Saturday evening. Thank you to Kay for her ongoing leadership of RAMP and to Association members who act as mentors.
It is also pleasing to see that a joint DAAD-AAvHF research event is being held on 8 December 2016 at the University of Adelaide, organised by Dr Stefan Hajduk, DAAD Lecturer. Titled Strengthening the Relationship between South Australia and Germany, its speakers are from various faculties at the University of Adelaide. As well Dr Ada Bieber, Director of the DAAD Information Centre in Sydney, will address “Germany’s Research Landscape: Research and Collaboration Opportunities with Australia”. Significantly, this occasion is in the spirit of the Humboldt Colloquia introduced by Past President Professor Rob Robson, which our Association seeks to promote. Should you have any questions or seek further information about the event, please contact: [email protected].
I recently read an excellent new biography of Alexander von Humboldt which may be of interest to some of you: Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World. It was published in 2015 by Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. For me, the book provided many new insights into the life and work of von Humboldt.
As Honorary Secretary Trevor Finlayson has advised you, next year’s biennial conference, which will be hosted by our New Zealand colleagues, will be held at the Royal Society of New Zealand in Wellington on 17-19 November 2017. Trevor has generously offered to represent the AAvHF on the planning committee and over coming months will provide you with updates. It is anticipated that, as for the previous biennial meeting in Dunedin, the Australian Association will be able to make a contribution towards participant members’ costs. The New Zealand Association is also intending to apply to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a Kolleg grant and, if successful, this would also assist to defray costs.
I urge you to return the Expression of Interest Form which was sent to all AAvHF members by Trevor along with the announcement of the biennial conference. Should you not have received this form or misplaced it and would like to express your interest in attending the 2017 biennial conference in Wellington, I urge you to contact Trevor ([email protected]) to request a copy of the Expression of Interest Form. Your return of this form will greatly assist our New Zealand colleagues in preparing their application for a Humboldt Kolleg to support this event.
Earlier this year we learnt that Societas Humboldtiana Polonorum, our Polish counterpart, is organising a conference (Humboldt-Kolleg) entitled Limits of Knowledge on 22-25 June 2017 in Krakow. One of the honorary participants will be Dr Heinrich Pfeiffer, the former Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday. While it is hoped that other members of the Australian Association may also attend this conference, Honorary Treasurer Gary Bryant will be in Europe at this time for other commitments and I think that it would be appropriate for the AAvHF to sponsor him as its formal representative at the conference. Past President Rob Robson and other AAvHF members are also likely to attend this conference.
As many of you would be aware, it has been a custom in our Association, at the State and Territory level, to celebrate the birthday of Alexander von Humboldt (14 September), normally with a dinner amongst those interested – this year in Melbourne we gathered at the Hophaus restaurant in Southgate on 7 September. For whatever reason, our Tasmanian colleagues have delayed their celebration this year until 15 December when they are planning an informal counter meal at the Westend Pumphouse, 105 Murray Street, Hobart, at 7pm. Any member who might happen to be in Hobart on this date would be most welcome to attend this function. Please contact Peter Jarvis ([email protected]) if you are interested.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families blessings for the Christmas season and every good wish for 2017. I hope that many of us will be able to catch up next year in Wellington for the planned joint colloquium with the New Zealand Association.
With very kind regards,
President, Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows