Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for Nature Research and Travel was established in 1860 inspired by Alexander von Humboldt, an inventor and cosmopolitan, a fighter for the freedom for research, a humanist, and a model of academic excellence. Even if the main capital asset disappeared due to the inflation of 1923, this institution keeps facilitating German researchers to travel to other countries conducting research, with the aim of exploiting the international exchange in Humboldtian spirit to destroy boundaries and to promote universal knowledge. Further, the new Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was set up by the German government in 1925 with the renewed aim at providing aid for foreign students, later academics, and doctoral candidates during their stay in Germany. After being inactive in 1945, finally the Federal Republic of Germany activated the AVH Foundation (which currently exists) on 10 December 1953 with the mission to encourage and promote academic collaboration between scientists and researchers from inside and outside Germany. Up to now, the Humboldt Foundation has delivered 48 Nobel laureates, and the Humboldt Foundation alumni network has 26,000 scientists from a variety of disciplines who live in 130 countries. The foundation has become the German outstanding foundation which provides best support to its alumni.
Humboldt Kolleg activity is held with the aim at strengthening the professional collaboration network at the regional level among alumni (Humboldtians) and introducing as well as enhancing the interest and spirit of young researchers for Alexander von Humboldt Foundation programmes and Germany as the research location. The Humboldt Kolleg activity is initiated by the alumni (Humboldtians) or their association which is financially supported by AvH, and it has been held in different countries outside Germany (the United States, France, Italy, Poland, Nigeria, Kenya, South-Africa, China, India, etc.) The participants are AvH programme alumni and young researchers who have contributed in real terms to the development of science. As such, Humboldt Kolleg has become a vital instrument in getting together the best young researchers, potential generation of leaders in natural sciences, technology, etc. in Germany and even all over the world.
The first Humboldt Kolleg in Indonesia was held in July 2011 in Batu – Malang, Indonesia, initiated by the Indonesia Humboldt Club at a Humboldt Colloquium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2010. The first Humboldt Kolleg was held in conjunction with the International Conference of Natural Sciences which included four important themes, they are:
- the role of natural sciences in conserving natural resources,
- the role of natural sciences in overcoming global warming,
- the role of natural sciences in developing science and technology, and
- the role of natural sciences in improving human welfare.
There were 129 participants (including 4 professors from Germany, 1 professor from Japan, 23 Humboldt Fellows from ASEAN, 100 junior scientists, and an Indonesian government representative) attending the conference and there were 79 oral presentations and 44 poster presentations reporting the latest research development in the participants’ respective disciplines. Critical research themes, methodology, and achievement/progress in their respective disciplines were covered in the three-day seminar. All the participants actively participated in the open discussions, while they were also learning and building collaboration with other young researchers.