10 years of the Robert Bosch Academy

A global network to solve pressing international challenges

Ten years ago - on 20 June 2014 - the Robert Bosch Academy was founded. We asked ten former Fellows from all over the world how they look back on their time at the Academy.

Kerstin Lohse-Friedrich
Robert Bosch Academy/David Ausserhofer
June 10, 2024
Reading time
5 Min

Since its establishment ten years ago, the Robert Bosch Academy has offered up to 18 renowned decision-makers and opinion leaders from around the world the opportunity to spend several months working in Berlin each year. During their time at the Academy, the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellows enjoy intellectual freedom in an inspiring community where they work on the most pressing global issues of our time. These span topics such as the intersection of climate change and armed conflicts, the spread of populism, innovations in health policy, and the challenges of artificial intelligence in geopolitics. 

In numerous background discussions and public events, the fellows share their perspectives and knowledge with Berlin’s decision-makers. Structured community activities help them form an international and diverse network that remains in contact long after the fellowship. They also get to know Germany better through numerous study trips. 
The highlight of the Academy year is the week-long Richard von Weizsäcker Forum in the fall, which focuses on a current topic and takes place in Berlin and at a varying external location.

Since 2014, over 100 participants from 46 nations and six continents have been fellows at the Academy. Here are some impressions of their time in Berlin.

"My biggest takeaway from my time in Berlin as a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy is how critical it is for citizens to be informed, understand and stay engaged with their democracy to safeguard the democratic values, principles, nuances and institutions for the resilience of their society and preservation of present and future generations."

Quote fromObiageli Ezekwesili, Economic Policy Expert, Nigeria

"These are troubled times, with the rise of right-wing leaders who foster hate against minorities, war, the erosion of democracy and threats to the planet. RBA brings together some finest hearts and minds from around the world to reflect on these crises and pathways to overcome."

Quote fromHarsh Mander, Human Rights and Peace Activist, India

"My fellowship time was a wonderful reminder that when you really pause and listen deeply to people, you realize we have much more in common despite coming from different countries and working in different contexts. Many of the current crises in our world can be seen through an intersectional lens, and the Fellows Network provides an opportunity to learn and collaborate with each other so we can all improve and deepen our work in meaningful ways together."

Quote fromErin Ganju, Social Entreprenuer, USA

"Sitting at the table and engaging with a diverse and global group of brilliant minds in their respective fields, deeply humanistic individuals, to discuss and address the world's most pressing issues and seek solutions. Supported by a dedicated staff and equipped with access to the intellectual, academic, and cultural resources of Berlin and Germany: that is what makes the network of the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellows unique!"

Quote fromCarlos Alvarado Quesada, 48th President of Costa Rica

"This network offers fellows and ex-fellows the chance to get in touch with outstanding thinkers on many of the key problems humanity faces today. Being part of this is an incredible honour, but also a great opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and contribute to debate."

Quote fromMarija Golubeva, former Minister of the Interior, Latvia

"The stature of the Robert Bosch Academy in Germany provides us with access to the highest decision-makers in various fields in Germany and contributes immensely to building our networks in our respective fields of interest.  It also provides us with generous space and support to pursue our specific areas of interest uninterrupted for an extended period of time."

Quote fromMike Van Graan, Playwright and Cultural Activist, South Africa

"The Robert Bosch Academy is pivotal in facilitating interactions and knowledge exchange among people from diverse global backgrounds. This is crucial in addressing contemporary challenges like climate change, conflicts, and cultural or religious fractures, emphasizing the importance of diverse perspectives in shaping solutions."

Quote fromMaria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ecuador

"One key take-away: The Robert Bosch Academy makes a difference by facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration. By bringing together individuals from academia, government, civil society, and the private sector, it creates a rich environment for exchange and cooperation. This collaboration breaks down silos and enables comprehensive, holistic approaches to complex issues."

Quote fromKumi Naidoo, Climate Activist, South Africa

"The Academy serves as both an institution and an environment fostering interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars: a modern embodiment of the Respublica Literaria. Enhanced communication among fellows and alumni, along with curated events relevant to their research, enriches their experiences, enabling impactful contributions to global discourse – not least by increased representation from underrepresented regions and their intellectuals."

Quote fromEkaterina Schulmann, Political Scientist, Russia

"In an overly polarized world, we take sides or are expected to take sides. Diversity often becomes a rhetoric and is easier said than done. RBA ensures that various voices become a part of the dialogue. This is an essential vision to search for finding a common ground for the most contentious challenges of our time."

Quote fromKing-Wa Fu, Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Hong Kong
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