„We must make better use of the expertise from Bayreuth in Berlin!”: Member of German Bundestag Thomas Hacker visits the Cluster of Excellence
During a visit at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence member of German Bundestag Thomas Hacker expressed the wish for thematic collaboration between policymakers in Berlin and scholars in Bayreuth and proposed to develop a regular dialogue between the institution and the national administration.
On 13 November 2020, the Cluster of Excellence welcomed the Bayreuth City Councilor and member of German Bundestag Thomas Hacker at the University of Bayreuth. The politician is no stranger to the campus in the Upper Franconian capital as he himself graduated from the University of Bayreuth in the 1990s.
Hacker who divides his time between Bayreuth and Berlin still has strong ties with his alma mater and had expressed the wish to be briefed on the recently established Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence. On the day of his visit, he talked to the University’s president and provost as well as scholars of the Cluster who told him about their individual research, their respective Curriculum Vitae as well as their challenges as scholarly visitors and expats working and living in Germany.
Focus on the Cluster
The Cluster’s Deputy spokesperson Prof. Dr. Ute Fendler gave an overview on the Cluster’s history and organisation as well as its interdisciplinary work and research foci. In a press release that Hacker published after the meeting he signaled readiness to bring the Cluster’s work to the attention on the national administrative level: “The visit showed that although Bayreuth is known on the African continent as an important research site a firm link to the national political stage in Germany is still missing.” He continues: "Excellent research is being conducted in Bayreuth, however, it is not in the focus of attention in Berlin – this needs to change. Research on Africa is not a niche field but of critical political relevance.” Especially topics like flight and migration, cultural and economic collaboration, the enforcement of Human Rights and joint digital research need to be considered. Thomas Hacker adds: „We must make better use of the expertise from Bayreuth in Berlin!”
Continuing the dialogue
The politician left the Cluster determined to continue the dialogue. Future events are already being planned for the beginning of 2021. The deputy spokesperson and Vice Dean of Internationalisation and Public Engagement Prof. Dr. Ute Fendler is looking forward to developing a regular exchange: “Our scholars are capable of giving valuable insights into pressing matters of the African continent. The Cluster’s research may be able to give crucial stimuli to assist policymakers in important decisions regarding matters of the Global South.” (sg)