In Praise of Diversity

3 min read

The Humboldt Forum in the world and the world in the Humboldt Forum is a befitting motto for an institution that should truly be inclusive of all while appreciating the diversities of human cultures. Located in a capital city that has demonstrated capacity to embrace humanity from different parts of the world living together in harmony, the Humboldt Forum has a deep history

of cultural dialogue and common understanding based on the works and achievements of the two Humboldt brothers. From their recognition of the interconnectedness of nature and culture to the importance of language, the means of communication that truly sets as apart as humanity, they set the stage for us to dialogue as equals.

We have responsibility to future generations

The Humboldt Forum therefore has the opportunity and the responsibility to bring into reality not only the dreams of these brothers but also the expectations of many of us that see our diversity as strength rather than an adversity.

At the same time there is need to think beyond the present into the future. We have responsibility to future generations and therefore this is also the time to engage with youth in whatever we do as they will be the custodians of this legacy.

While there are already many museums in Berlin with magnificent exhibitions and messages, the Humboldt Forum provides an opportunity to use these riches to create a true space of dialogue and enhanced messages that touch on human understanding through dialogue. To realize this the various communities are crucial and must not only be recognized and involved but must be made true partners and players in the making of Forum and its messages.

They have to be at the centre and not the periphery. The saying “Not for us with us” must therefore apply at all times. Only then will the Humboldt Forum be a Forum, a place of interrogation, understanding and dialogues that embraces and cherishes the beauty and richness of human diversity.

Photo by George Abungu
George Abungu

Dr. George Abungu is an archaeologist from Kenya, and former director of the National Museum of Kenya. He is part of the international network of scientists and museum experts supporting the Humboldt Forum. As Chairman of the International Standing Committee on the Traffic of Illicit Antiquities, he has been responsible for the return of stolen artefacts to Kenya and the curtailing of the illegal antiquities trade.