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Take a Mauritius Scientist, an Arab Professor from Israel and an (Adopted) Estonian…

13.07.2016 11:37:55

No, it’s not the beginning of a joke… reflections from the last Global Young Academy meeting at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Who, and why, can bring engineers, social scientists, ICT and medicine scholars to dialogue and try and change the world? And what happens when you bring together some of the most active scientists from any and every discipline?

The last Global Young Academy meeting at TU/e brought together 150 scholars from 58 countries with nothing in common but the desire to make the world a better place for young people, and young scientists.

Created in 2010 and based in Berlin, Germany, the Global Young Academy collects the most active young scientists (under 40) from all over the world. It was conceived during the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2008 and is currently supported by several German foundations.

Bringing together the potential leaders of tomorrow, the academy regularly works on some thematic issues (open science, dialogue with policy makers, the status of young researchers). It also helps the development of national young academy (only in the past five years Egypt, the Philippines, Japan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Israel, and Kenya have designed and established their national young academy)

But it’s greatest strength is possibly not in its formal structure but in the capacity to work while having fun, bringing together people who, before being scientists, are idealists with the dream of changing the world. And they actually have the capacity of doing it. The selection process is rigorous and aimed at identifying scientists who can help a dialogue with political structures, outreach activities and that can help the academy to grow.

By force of this, every meeting is a concentrate of enthusiasm, energy and innovative ideas. It is what I define “fun and useful” at the same time. I shared the room with a philosopher working on subliminal manipulation, mingled with a Mauritian working on quality in science and a Israeli professor working on child violence, shared ideas with a biologist from Vladivostok, drank beer with an Australian anthropologists and a Polish nano-system expert from Pittsburgh. We discussed the establishment of a Cambodian young academy and chatted of movies and operating systems with a Uruguayan mathematician.

I was not only the first scholar from Estonia to apply. I was actually the only one from the Baltics. I suspect lack of information is the main reason why nobody applied so that I would encourage anyone interested to learn more globalyoungacademy.net or check #gyaagm2016 on Twitter.

The Global Young Academy meeting was held on 25-29th May 2016 at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Text by Abel Polese (Senior Research Fellow at the School of Governance, Law and Society).

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