UfU celebrated its 25th birthday on June 16, 2015 with a proper, but, as the congratulations book said, appropriate celebration. The 150 or so invited guests gathered in the Robert Havemann Hall in the House of Democracy in Berlin from 18:00. Among them were many founders, members, friends, companions and UfU employees from the very beginning, such as Dr. Reinhard Piechocki and Dr. Christof Tannert. In his speech, Dr. Michael Zschiesche, Spokesman of the Institute’s Executive Board, paid tribute to the two founders as important personalities with whom he identified. For their courage in not only criticizing, but also taking personal responsibility, they are role models for all times and for all employees at the institute.

In her welcoming address, Bärbel Höhn, Chairwoman of the Environment Committee of the German Bundestag, highlighted both the successes in the expansion of renewable energies in Germany and the need to communicate climate protection and the energy transition to citizens. According to Höhn, the UfU plays an important role in this. Gunter Adler, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, also acknowledged that UfU has become a German institution that plays an indispensable role as an intermediary between environmental policy and practice. Institutions that are able to explain environmental policy in an understandable way and are able to involve and activate people are more in demand today than ever before. UfU has already achieved outstanding results in the areas of citizen participation and environmental education and is one of the institutions that the BMUB is happy to use.

Reinhard Piechocki advised UfU, among other things, to question itself from time to time, despite all its successes in third-party funding and project acquisition, so as not to become too comfortable or too complacent. Thomas Korbun, Managing Director of the IÖW in Berlin, pointed out that the type of knowledge production that characterizes the UfU is a special form of applied science. Together with the other Ecornet institutes, the UfU is a pioneering institution that is extremely worthy of support.

In a keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Endlicher from Humboldt University Berlin, the effects of climate change on the Berlin-Brandenburg region were highlighted and it was made clear why institutions such as UfU will be needed in the future to prepare the population for climate adaptation measures.

The celebration was concluded with an outlook by Almuth Tharan from the UfU board. The party then picked up speed, with conversations and the telling of anecdotes continuing until after midnight…

Photos: Dagmar Heene