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German astronaut Dr Insa Thiele-Eich speaks at DW Akademie

  • Published at 09:41 am March 18th, 2021
German astronaut Dr Insa Thiele-Eich
German astronaut Dr Insa Thiele-Eich Courtesy

‘Amplifying challenges of climate change are already being faced by Bangladesh’

Bangladesh has a strong capacity to cope with and adapt to flooding, but decreasing water levels – especially in urban slum settlements - pose a  challenge for the country, German meteorologist and astronaut Dr Insa Thiele-Eich said on Tuesday.  

She was speaking at a guest lecture for Bangladeshi audience via Facebook Live on Tuesday. 

The event was a part of a series  of guest lectures organized by DW Akademie, a German media development organization, and was live-streamed on the DW Bangla  Facebook page.  

Dr Insa Thiele-Eich did her PhD research on “Trends in Water Level and Flooding in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Their Impact on Mortality.”

She is also one of the two finalists who could become the first German woman to go to space, as part of the country’s Die Astronautin initiative, and has completed her astronaut training.  

Bangladesh flood affected area map | Courtesy

“We have rivers in Germany, but it is nothing. I did not see a river in my life until I came to Bangladesh. The first time I stood on the bank of the Meghna, I didn’t know that it was a river,” Dr Thiele-Eich said.

She explained that Bangladesh is at a unique position in terms of hydrology, and while addressing climate change, it is not enough just to look at the natural processes but also how humans interact with it. Sociological and political aspects matter as well.

She also talked about her journey as an astronaut, and shared insights about the importance of girls pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), among others.  

The guest lecture was hosted by Romana Akhtar Shanta, a journalism student from Chittagong University. 

Channel i, The Daily Star's youth publication Shout, Radio Bhumi and Aparejoyo  Bangla were partners of the event.  

Priya Esselborn, Program Director (Bangladesh) at DW Akademie delivered the welcome address at the session, while Michael Karhausen, Head of Asia and Europe delivered the closing address.  

The stream was watched over 50,000 times on the DW Bengali Facebook page (facebook.com/dw.bengali) in under 48 hours of its broadcast.  

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