German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened the 5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences on Wednesday, 20 August with a speech on economic policy. In front of an audience of 17 participating Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences and more than 450 young economic scientists from over 80 countries, the Chancellor emphasised the importance of policy counselling by scientific experts. "It is good and expressly desirable that science meets the challenge to continually build bridges from theory to practice and also to provide guidance to policy," she commented. The focus of this internationally recognised meeting is on issues surrounding the future orientation of the discipline. The meeting ends on 23 August on Mainau Island in Lake Constance with a panel discussion concerning the usefulness of economics. Guest of honour on the final day will be Queen Silvia of Sweden. Also for the first time a Nobel Laureate in Literature will be taking part in this renowned conference, in the person of Mario Vargas Llosa.
"We are convinced that this unique opportunity to engage in a personal exchange of ideas with Nobel Laureates is a lasting experience for aspiring young scientists," said Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, President of the Council which organises the meetings. In her address at the commencement of the event, she stressed that the young economists who have gathered at Lindau represent the future of their scientific discipline. Among the numerous guests of honour in the audience were Tony Tan, President of the Republic of Singapore, and Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development.
The young meeting participants numbering over 450 were selected in a multi-stage application process involving over 200 academic institutions throughout the world. Also included in this network are 42 national central banks, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Following the opening ceremony, Federal Chancellor Merkel met with 15 young economic scientists from Germany and twelve other countries, for a discussion ranging from the attraction of Germany as a location for science by international comparison to the prospects for young scientists.
Also at the opening of the event, Swiss Re President Walter B. Kielholz was inducted into the Honorary Senate of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Foundation Chairman Wolfgang Schürer pointed out the important role played by the reinsurance sector, which regularly covered major risks of social relevance, for example in the field of health and in case of natural disasters. As a result, risk managers were constantly required to innovate in order to meet the special challenges facing them. In this demanding transformation process, Walter Kielholz had rendered great and lasting services which the Chairman went on to praise in his address. Walter Kielholz joins a group of distinguished individuals including Angela Merkel, José Manuel Barroso and Bill Gates who share a particular commitment to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
Until Friday the participating Nobel Laureates and young economists will have plenty of opportunity for an intensive exchange of ideas. The numerous lectures, discussions, master classes and panel discussions on the agenda cover central aspects and issues of the discipline such as econometrics, game theory and mechanism design theory, the neoclassical growth model and the measurement of systemic risk in the financial system. As part of the scientific programme, 2010 Nobel Laureate in Literature Mario Vargas Llosa will also be providing one of the highlights of the event with his outlook for the political and social situation in Latin America. The event concludes on Saturday, 23 August with a boat trip on Lake Constance to Mainau Island, where a panel discussion entitled "How Useful is Economics - How is Economics Useful?" and the official farewell ceremony will take place.
Since their beginning in 1951 as a European initiative of post-war reconciliation, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have developed into a globally unique forum for informal debate in the natural sciences, and since 2004, also in the field of economic sciences. The meetings serve to promote knowledge transfer, inspiration and networking between scientists. Each year Nobel Laureates and aspiring young scientists from around the world gather at Lindau to engage in a cross-generational and intercultural dialogue.