The time has come: the hot planning phase for the 35th Heidelberg Symposium has begun. To share our anticipation with you, we are announcing the motto of the upcoming symposium - “AufBruch” (departure, breakup or decampment). Read below to find out what we associate with this theme:

1440: Johannes Gutenberg invents modern letterpress printing 1791: The slave revolt in the French colony of Saint-Domingue begins, which leads to the colony becoming the state of Haiti in 1804 1961: Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin begins his space flight with the Vostok 1 and becomes the first man in space

All these events have one thing in common: they were a departure into the unknown - only possible through courage, inventiveness and confidence in one’s own abilities.

Today, our society is facing a variety of challenges that require precisely these qualities: be it climate change, growing social inequality, the rise of anti-democratic forces or geopolitical tensions. Despite the obvious threats, fear must not be our only response. We should take on the task of venturing into a better future - a future that is in our hands to shape.

A new departure can also be a break with outdated ideas and paradigms that have not been questioned for too long. We want to rethink what our goals are and what values guide us.

But we have to be careful that the break does not turn into a breakdown. Not everyone is ready for profound change and we should try not to leave anyone behind. We need to break down hardened fronts, treat each other with respect and bring together seemingly irreconcilable positions. This is precisely what the 35th Heidelberg Symposium is intended to provide a platform for.