Climate crisis, pandemic, wars and humanitarian catastrophes - in recent years, the community of nations has experienced an accumulation of simultaneous challenges that affect all nations, albeit to varying degrees of intensity, and thus also shape international relations.
This also applies to science and the academic system as a whole, since science has always been based on the international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral exchange of (more or less) institutionalized cooperation, mobility of students, teachers and researchers.
Against this background, a panel discussion on the topic of "International Scientific Mobility in Times of Global Crises" was held on September 15, 2022 at the Cologne City Hall in cooperation with the Kölner Wissenschaftsrunde, Amerika Haus NRW e.V. and GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the German-American Fulbright Program.
The event was opened by a greeting from Mayor Henriette Reker, which was followed by a keynote address by Dr. Cathleen Fisher, Executive Director, Fulbright Germany, on "Climate, War and Pandemic: the Changing Face of International Mobility in Times of Crisis." This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Ingvill Constanze Mochmann, Head of EUROLAB, from GESIS.
Together with Dr. Fisher, the other panel members Christiane Biehl, Head of International Mobility, University of Cologne, Esther Dolas, Fulbright Alumna 2015/2016 and alumna of the University of Cologne, and Dr. Norman Mukasa, Director/Head of the East Africa Scientific Research Network (EASRN) Secretariat and visiting researcher at GESIS, discussed the new challenges of international scientific mobility. Topics included: How to enable diversity in scientific mobility and collaborations, and what can sustainable internationalization look like in the future? What would internationally oriented funding programs and calls for proposals have to look like in the future in order to ensure ethical, climate-appropriate, and sustainable factors in international collaborations at the individual and institutional levels?
In summary, it can be stated that all panel members consider international mobility indispensable. Even if the Corona pandemic in particular has made it clear that many things can also be carried out virtually or hybrid, this can never completely replace personal exchange. Against the background of the increasing scarcity of financial resources, it was emphasized that care must be taken to ensure that a "class society" does not develop in mobility, in which only students and scientists with their own financial resources are able to take advantage of international mobility. In addition, attention must continue to be paid to diversity and to ensuring that the South-North and North-South partnership is not neglected due to the many global crises.