The science podcast of the Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE) – researchers report on their work between different worlds, from Berlin to Dakar, from Rio de Janeiro to Manila.
With the Podcast, the BCGE showcases the work of researchers addressing issues of cooperation between the Global South and the Global North, academic freedom, and science diplomacy. The researchers talk, among other things, about their interest in their subject, cooperation with partners in the Global South, and current research and debates on it.
Episode 10: Mining Colonial Museums
A special episode with Mareike Vennen, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Technische Universität Berlin, and Lennon Mhishi, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
During the imperial era, museums played a pivotal role in the often violent extraction of cultural heritage, natural specimens, and raw materials. In the last decades, artists, scholars, and activists have critically assessed this history, calling on museums to engage with their colonial legacies and take a stance against racism. In this episode, we attend an event of the Berlin Science Week 2022 at the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde. Surrounded by thousands of rocks exhibited in the Mineral Hall, we ask our guests Mareike Vennen and Lennon Mhishi: What can a piece of quartz or a dinosaur's bone tell about colonial practices of silencing the past?
Episode 9: E-Health in Madagascar
Dr. Samuel Knauß, Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Every day in Madagascar ten women die from complications of pregnancy or during the birth of their child. One of the reasons: A large part of the people in Madagascar do not have health insurance, they cannot pay the costs for medical treatment. The physician Samuel Knauß from the Charité in Berlin did not want to accept this. Together with his colleague Julius Emmrich and the Malagasy economist Elsa Rajemison, they built an app that could transform healthcare in Africa.
Episode 8: Ukrainian universities and the war
Dr. Oksana Seumenicht, Research Development Manager, Max-Delbrück-Centrum und Managing Director der German-Ukrainian Academic Society/UKRAINET
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has led to untold suffering and destruction, caused thousands of deaths and forced millions of Ukrainian to leave their country. But beyond the dramatic news reports about the latest shelling or troop movements, the invasion has also impacted the vital institutions of Ukrainian society including its university system. How to continue to function when your country is battling for its very life? In this episode, Oksana Seumenicht, the managing director of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society, talks about how Ukrainian researchers and students are facing these extraordinary circumstances.
Episode 7: Climate protection made in Africa
Lilly Seidler, Project coordinator “Greening Africa Together”, Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Energietechnik
Whether it's polluted drinking water, coastal storms, or harvest loss due to unpollinated crops: experts say that around five billion people could suffer from the consequences of climate change by 2050 - a large proportion of them in the Global South. Projects to offset greenhouse gases ideally try to mitigate climate change and to contribute to sustainable development, particularly in the Global South. But why do they need to be (expensively) certified by auditors from the Global North? In this episode, Lily Seidler talks about the Greening Africa Together network, which develops Africa-based certification of climate protection projects with locally adapted standards, criteria and indicators.
Episode 6: Virtual Stories: The Digital Artistic Agency of Middle Eastern Children and Youth
Prof. Dr. Nazan Maksudyan is an Einstein guest professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and a research associate at the Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin).
In this episode Professor Maksudyan talks about her experience with creating new digital platforms of virtual art for youth and children of the Middle East. The project also aims to create channels for Middle Eastern youth to engage with young people in Europe, and especially those in Berlin, through interregional connections built by the project partners. The project included a competition, that encouraged the submission of works that engage with current global challenges such as the pandemic, rising authoritarianism, exilic and diasporic experiences and others. The winners can be looked at the Virtual Stories website.
Episode 5: Mental health research: between Berlin and Amman
Prof. Dr. med. Malek Bajbouj, Managing Senior Physician and Head, Center for Affective Neuroscience of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Malek Bajbouj is a border crosser in more ways than one: In his work at Charité, he combines innovative approaches to psychotherapy with neuroscientific methods to alleviate depression. He himself grew up in Dortmund; his parents come from Syria. In the BCGE-funded project, „Berlin-Amman-Mental Health Alliance“, he is committed to improving mental health. Psychiatry in the West and the Middle East: differences, commonalities, and challenges in this new episode of the Meridian Podcast.
Episode 4: Grassroots Innovation in Technology – Discussing the Global Importance of Local Communities
Regina Sipos, Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies of the Technische Universität Berlin, Steering Committee Member at the Center for Internet and Human Rights, Executive Board Member of the Global Innovation Gathering and Researcher in the BCGE funded project “Infrastructuring in Grassroots Innovation (IGI)“
How local communities in remote areas address technological, environmental or social challenges are often overlooked by the state, politics, and in international development cooperation. In contrast, Regina Sipos views such grassroot initiatives as a major source for sustainable social innovation. In this podcast, she talks about her research in rural areas in Indonesia, how large-scale projects in development cooperation often fail, and how small interventions in local areas can provide knowledge to address global challenges.
Episode 3: International Criminal Justice and the German Colonial Past
Prof. Dr. Florian Jeßberger, Law Faculty of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, director of the Franz von Liszt Institute for International Criminal Justice and head of the BUA-funded project „International Criminal Justice: A Counter-Hegemonic Project?“
Not only the great seafaring nations such as the Netherlands or Great Britain committed colonial crimes, but also Germany, for example in present-day Namibia, in southwestern Africa. In the genocidal massacre of the Herero, between 65,000 and 80,000 people were killed by German troops in the early twentieth century. A case for International law. Legal scholar Florian Jeßberger has a different perspective on colonial history. He wants to focus on international CRIMINAL justice and says: Here the debate is still in its infancy. He reveals what he means by that in this episode of Meridian.
Episode 2: Thinking about time and politics from a southern perspective
Indian historian Prof. Prathama Banerjee of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi talks about controversial concepts in the humanities. She also held the second Berlin Southern Theory Lecture (Recording on YouTube).
In December 2020, Prathama Banerjee held the second annual Berlin Southern Theory Lecture, a lecture series that aims to decenter dominant Euro-American traditions and diversify theoretical debates in the social sciences and the humanities. She is a professor of history at The Center for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India, and she has recently published the book Elementary Aspects of the Political: histories from the global south. In addition to being a historian of colonial and post-colonial India, she’s also a political theorist. In this podcast, she tells us about how she ended up investigating the meaning of concepts like ‘history’, ‘time’ and ‘the political’ in different contexts.
Episode 1: Architecture between Rotterdam and Havana
Prof. Dr. Jacob van Rijs, Institute of Architecture at Technische Universität Berlin, is currently working on urban development and architecture in Havana.
According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Dutchman Jacob van Rijs co-founded the Rotterdam-based architectural firm MVRDV – one of the most daring architectural firms in the world. The Dutch pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover made Jacob van Rijs and his team famous. Later, they stacked different types of apartments on top of each other in their Amsterdam residential tower Silodam until the whole thing looked like the cargo of a container ship. Jacob van Rijs now conducts research at Technische Universität Berlin. Among other things, he is working on urban development and architecture in Havana.