Johanna Wanka

Johanna Wanka

German Federal Minister of Education and Research

Johanna Wanka heads the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. She was born in 1951 in Rosenfeld and is professor of mathematics. Before she moved into national politics, she was Minister of Science, Research and Culture in the federal state of Brandenburg, and most recently held the post of Minister for Science and Culture in the federal state of Lower Saxony.

Official Opening 2013

Tearing down walls, preparing the way for new talents and building bridges between science and industry, between society and politics, between countries and cultures, between experience and youth – these are the goals of the Falling Walls Conference. Many of the topics from this year’s conference throw light on the challenges that we are currently facing. These include the fight against poverty and hunger, as well as securing health, assuring safer and more affordable energy and shaping coexistence in societies and states.

All around the world, people have to ask themselves the same questions: How do we secure the livelihoods of future generations? How should we ensure the fair distribution of resources? How do we prevent a situation in which some enjoy the benefits of progress while others are disadvantaged? In answering these questions, we need to make decisions with foresight and act accordingly in a sustainable way. And we have to realize our responsibility to future generations better than we have done to date.

To find answers to these questions, science, industry and politics must pull together. Science expands our horizons. The breakthroughs at the limits of our knowledge that take centre stage at the Falling Walls Conference are the very same which – for politics especially – unlock additional courses of action, breadth of vision and the ability to make forward-looking decisions.

Fortunately, the future-oriented dialogue between science, industry and politics has improved immeasurably in recent times. The Falling Walls Conference is an impressive and inspiring proof of this every year.

Federal Minister of Education and Research