Melanie Peters, director of the Rathenau Institute, passed away on August 11. Melanie is the director of the Rathenau Institute since 2015. Under her wings, the institute has leaped forward.
The Rathenau Institute reports on its website: Melanie has made the impact of science, technology and innovation on society unparalleled. We will miss her emotional and warm personality.
Melanie stood out for the Rathenau Institute as a whole. We’ve often heard Melanie say, “We do it together.” “Good teamwork!” She loved to write. And I thought it was important for colleagues from different teams and departments to know what each other was working on. This made our organization stronger.
Collaboration has also become a common thread in the research and working methods of the Rathenau Institute. Under her inspiring leadership, the Rathenau Institute has forged partnerships with numerous organizations at home and abroad. We examined partnerships in science, technology and innovation and emphasized the importance of conversation between parties with conflicting interests. Whether it is an ammonia problem or DNA modification in human embryos. For Melanie, working together meant observing everyone’s mission and responsibility. To find solutions to major social issues, we need a diversity of disciplines and perspectives.
In the case of good cooperation may rub, or even crackle. Sometimes it was, because Melanie was on fire when it came to the quality of the discussion about science, technology and innovation in society. For Melanie, the social perspective through which the Rathenau Institute operates was by no means an ambiguous concept. It symbolizes the protection of common values in our society, such as inclusivity, justice and civil rights. The phrase “we should talk to each other” might sound friendly, but Melanie didn’t mean it without commitment. It was solid advice to say what needs to be said. Both against colleagues and in the public and political debate in which I participated extensively as a filmmaker.
Melanie had an exceptionally large network – a sign of her broad interest and involvement – upon which the Rathenau Institute could build. She had a great memory, a rich associative mind, was lightning fast in her thoughts and actions, and made connections that others had not yet seen. Not only figuratively, but also literally she was sometimes incomparable. She wasn’t really found behind her desk; Like a field jump I ran from one appointment to the next. Surprisingly, she always knew exactly what each meeting was about, we noticed.
Most of all, we will remember the warm and caring person that Melanie was. For Melanie, people were central. Whoever stuck in life met her soft and affectionate side. And when it came to our research, I asked questions like: “Can everyone participate in the digital community?” Is everyone reaping the benefits of the knowledge economy? With Melanie as director, these were the Rathenau Institute’s key questions. When the coronavirus forced us to work from home, she stressed the importance of human contact. She urged us to “Keep your distance, but be close!”.
Our thoughts are with her husband Albert, daughters Eva and Swati, and closest family and friends to whom we extend our deepest condolences. We wish them strength at this difficult time.
Melanie, we will miss you so much.
The board of directors and staff of the Rathenau