Nau mai, haere mai ki tēnei hui.
Nō Tīamana ahau, ko Stefan Krawielicki toku ingoa.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
It gives me great pleasure to be part of and to open this Falling Walls Lab in New Zealand today.
First of all I would like to congratulate the participants – students, researchers, and early-career professionals – for having convinced the jury to participate today. You have already done a great job! And I am sure that if I would be able to see you face to face I would be able to see how proud you are.
So, I am sharing with you one same feeling: the strong wish that this wall, that this fact being separated by a screen, will soon fall. I hope that this kind of virtual settings will not anymore be for a too long time the so called “new normal”.
In this “new normal” we are today separated by a screen, but united by the same wish that today’s Falling Walls Lab will be a great success.
I would like to use this fact of being separated by a screen to say two things:
First: New Zealand and Germany are separated by oceans but united by common values and ideas.
And second: The two parts of Berlin were separated by a wall, and the two parts of Germany were separated by a border, until the Berlin Wall was opened on the 9th of November 1989.
As Ambassador of Germany, and as a person who lived these historical moments of 1989 which have changed the world, I would like to mention that the idea for today’s event was created on the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. It was the fall of the Berlin Wall that has given the name to this Falling Walls Lab, which is a fantastic world-class competition and network forum once a year in November in Berlin.
It is in this spirit that today we are asking the participants of the New Zealand’s Falling Walls Lab:
What are your ideas and discoveries in the fields of science, business and society that will change the world?
What are your proposals for the next walls to fall?
We are very keen to listen to you, and I wish all of you very good luck!
To close my remarks I would like to thank everybody in New Zealand who has made this event happen: Thank you very much to the Royal Society: to Dr Brent Clothier, Troels Petersen and Michelle Wickens, as well as to the members of the Jury. And thank you to all the institutions which are funding the Falling Walls Foundation: the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Berlin-Senate, Google, and Huawei, with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the German Academic Exchange Service.
Thank you very much!