Conference Topic


from Alexander von Humboldt’s KOSMOS

to today’s Global Challenges:

Navigating the Sustainability
in the 21st Century

workshop, treasure quest, and interdisciplinary conference event
on the occasion of the 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt
28th – 30th August 2019
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



On the occasion of Alexander von Humboldt’s 250th birthday and in light of his famous Kosmos lectures, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is staging the KOSMOS Conference in Berlin from 28th - 30th August 2019. Termed

‘Navigating the Sustainability Transformation in the 21st Century’

this conference shall provide a landmark for today’s great challenges towards sustainability. A critical and constructive debate on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the focal point of the conference. Linking to Humboldt’s perspective on nature and humanity as web of interconnections, we target symbiosis between social, cultural, political, economical, philosophical, human, philological, engineering, natural, earth,  geo, and sustainability sciences to approach this challenge.



The KOSMOS Conference is intended as a platform to discuss the science of the sustainability transformation, and to interactively conceptualize a science-based framework in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Oral presentations and thematic discussions will take place in the the seven topical sessions (expert forums) below:


Publics and ethics of sustainability

Democracy, governance, and societal conflicts in a globalized world

Economies beyond unlimited growth

Limited land - a local to global perspective

Urban and rural: a necessary partnership

Water and biosphere: preconditions of survival

Climate Change: biophysical impacts and societal responses




This interdisciplinarity is fundament to scientific conference formats such as expert forum, treasure quest and poster sessions. With Humboldt's famous KOSMOS lectures in mind, the conference aims to open the scientific inner circle to public and politics with cutting edge public conference formats: citizen scientist table, public lecture, bar camp and more. Every conference day will be opened by a keynote lecture.

Please see here for program structure and all conference formats.