Conquerors of the peak on the Staffelberg: Martin Vogt, Victor Morokhovskyi, Johannes Brunnemann, Jochen Langer, Astrid Langer, Etienne Nitidem, Petra Röcken, Anna Wahren, Frank Wiedmann (not shown: Johannes Bauer, Ebenezer Belford und Jörg Klein).
The Alumni Association convened the Fellows
in autumnal Lichtenfels
September 17th - 19th 2010
The meeting new, the venue of long standing, the alumni matured
With enthusiasm for meetings and discussions, twelve of the Daimler and Benz Foundation's alumni organized a two-day Members' Meeting mid-September in the Frankenakademie in Lichtenfels. One year after the founding of their association, they above all upheld interpersonal communication - as in the foundation's earlier Fellowship Holders' Meetings, only less technically, but rather focused on the association's concerns and on individual development. Dr. Jochen Langer, the Management Board's vice-chairman, had organized a variegated weekend, with Fellows' reports and a discussion of the association's agenda, garnished with a hike onto the Staffelberg and time for sociality.
In the best of moods: Dr. Joerg Klein and Etienne Nitidem Ndengue
Besides Dr. Joerg Klein, member of, and the foundation's representative in the Management Board, primarily well-familiar former fellowship holders had come to northern Franconia; the widest-travelled Fellow was Dr. Ebenezer Belford, from his home country, Ghana. With recently reformulated priorities for the association's work, and with the objective of a "real" Fellowship Holders' Meeting 2011, the members departed into the association's second year.
The speakers on Saturday evening: Ebenezer Belford, Johannes Bauer, and Victor Morokhovskyi
Tradition obliges: The alumni organized, with three lectures, a scientifically ambitious, and, at the same time, entertaining Saturday evening. With moderation by Dr. Martin Vogt, a Managing Board member, Johannes Bauer (Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research) reported on the phenomenon and the use of superconduction. Dr. Victor Morokhovskyi (Areva Company) spoke on topical questions of the technology and on the service life of nuclear power plants. The nuclear physicist prolonged his own speaking "service life" with a wink, by presenting a veritable Uranium-235 fuel pellet. Finally, Dr. Ebenezer Belford (University of Science and Technology, Kumasi/Ghana) explained how soils contaminated by pollutants can be decontaminated by plants. The plant physiologist didn't let any fatigue arise among his listeners: He stimulated them with chocolate from his native country, Ghana. In smaller groups, the alumni then intensified the interchange of technical information, and only somewhat later went over to social conversations in the Schlossschänke (Castle Lounge).
Perk-upper: Chocolate from Ghana
Members discuss the workload and the priorities for 2011
|Chairwoman Petra Roecken|
An alumni meeting with renowned speakers, subsidies to travel expenses for members, and an attractive setting: It was very soon obvious to the alumni that the young association wouldn't already be able to organize and finance itself in 2010. Instead, the Management Board had convoked an internal annual meeting with an open discussion. In the members' discussion on Sunday morning, Chairwoman Dr. Petra Roecken explained the association's responsibilities, such as the contact function, fundraising and service for members; bookkeeping and finances; the organization and programs of the annual meetings; communication and public relations: management of the association and strategic development; organization in general, as well as special projects. For 2011, the members prioritized winning still more former fellowship holders for the association, and organizing a first "real" meeting. The Management Board and the members intend to address and vote on a concept for meetings with an own association program drawn up by Roecken after Lichtenfels.
Idyll on the way from the Staffelberg
Reach common goals: The first mountain has been conquered!
On Saturday afternoon, an outing to the roughly 550 m high Staffelberg preceded Sunday's work on the association. With verve, the alumni set off on their way through level countryside. But the weather soon became capricious, the path became rough, so that walking abreast soon gave way to walking in line.
Having a snack
Some walked faster, a couple took a break; some began to sweat, others felt the weight of their luggage. There was also a change of course to let a latecomer join the group, until finally, all of them reached this year's goal together: The hurdle had been taken, the mountain had been climbed. So the alumni's journey turned into a symbol for the first year's work on the association. How might the way to the next annual meeting in 2011 be?