Dear partners and friends of Baden-Württemberg,
In order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it was necessary for our universities in Baden-Württemberg to suspend their on-site and in-person academic programs. This has particularly affected our international students and scientists, many of whom have had had to postpone, interrupt or cancel their stay abroad.
This is very difficult for us in Baden-Württemberg, because we pride ourselves on being a globally open state and push to promote international cooperation and exchange in all areas. Our universities and my ministry are therefore doing everything we can to keep the complications that this situation brings, particularly for students who are currently abroad, to a minimum.
This may mean that for some students, the experience of an international exchange during their studies will no longer be possible. Yet we hope that most students, academics and scientists will still be able to later seek out and seize the opportunity to spend a part of this valuable period of their life abroad.
Our job is to ensure that the choice to go abroad will continue to be a good and valuable decision for our students and researchers in the future. The current necessary restrictions on global travel and exchange give us the opportunity to see even more clearly how valuable these periods abroad and international encounters truly are. We need international academic exchange now more than ever. However, these restrictions also offer us the chance to more thoroughly consider new modern formats for international cooperation and exchange, particularly given the ongoing climate crisis and our need to protect the limited resources of our planet. Practice with newer digital exchange formats will help to enrich us, as online platforms serve to complement the experience of personal immersion in another culture. Yet we continue to be aware that they will never be able to fully replace the special experience of a time spent abroad.
Therefore, I look forward to working together with you and all of our international partners on the future of global exchange and cooperation. Do not hesitate to share your concerns and problems with us, but also your suggestions and solutions, no matter how minor or small they may seem. Even small steps mean progress on the way to our common goal. Especially in times of crisis, let us continue to learn from each other worldwide!
With this in mind, I wish you and everyone of us the necessary perseverance, solidarity and creativity required for us to overcome the current challenges we face. I hope that our cooperation will only be strengthened by our experiences during this difficult time.
I wish all the best and good health for you and your families.