Statement for Respect and Collegiality

Oberwolfach is committed to fostering an atmosphere of respect, collegiality, and sensitivity. We want to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all. Therefore, we ask all staff members, organizers and participants of the various research programs, members of the boards as well as further stakeholders and visitors of the institute to behave in a fair, respectful and collegial manner.

Please, help us to include people from all backgrounds, regardless of age, gender, color, national origin, cultural or social background, religion, physical or mental disabilities, family status, or sexual orientation.

You can support us in our efforts to foster collegiality at MFO if you...

  • reach out to people whom you do not know, stay open minded to them and actively build new connections,
  • treat others with kindness and respect and encourage mutual respect for similarities and differences in background, expertise, judgments, and assigned responsibilities,
  • welcome diversity and encourage diverse opinions,
  • avoid demeaning others or aggressively challenging their competence or abilities,
  • refrain from promoting bias and stereotypes about personal characteristics,
  • understand that behavior can have an adverse impact on others, even in the absence of malicious intent by the actor,

In particular, we urge the organizers of an event to set a positive tone in this way, to lead by example and to actively promote a polite and appreciative style of communication.

Any form of discriminatory or bullying behavior, as well as any form of harassment, be it verbal, visual, or physical, will not be tolerated by the institute. Such inacceptable behavior may include, but is not limited to, derogatory epithets, jokes or comments, unwanted sexual advances and demands to submit to sexual requests, derogatory and/or sexually-oriented postings, messages, photography, cartoons, drawings or gestures, unwanted touching, intentionally blocking normal movement or interfering with work, threats as well as retaliation for reporting or resistance against harassment.

If you have experienced or witnessed inacceptable behaviour...

Participants of research programs who have experienced or witnessed inacceptable behavior are encouraged to inform the organizers of the event, whose duty then is to address such situations in a reasonable manner. This could range from a simple reminder of collegial behavior to a strong admonition up to an exclusion of offenders from the event and/or future institute programs. In such severe cases the institute’s administration needs to be consulted immediately, so that the matter can be reviewed.

If you feel uncomfortable with contacting the organizers or if you think that the situation is not treated adequately, you can also contact the institute’s ombudsperson for equal opportunities, Susanne Riester, via the guest services office in the guest house, by phone +49 7834 979 35, or by email to

Alternatively, you may contact the “Anti-Discrimination Office – Network for Equal Treatment” in Freiburg* ( an external, officially listed advice center of the anti-discrimination center of the state of Baden-Württemberg (cf., which is meant to

  • offer a safe place to talk about experiences of discrimination.
  • advise individuals and inform you of your rights.
  • support you and accompany you, if you would like to become actively involved.

*The website is currently in German, with translations underway. Communication in English is possible via phone (0761 / 29625-86 or 0761 / 29625-87) or email (