With this phrase Gerd Graßhoff and Michael Meyer welcomed the new students in the name of the Excellence Cluster Topoi and of all members of the Topoi community. The official opening ceremony of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS) was held at the Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, on May 23th.

The guests of honour were Annette Schavan, the Federal Minister of Education and Research and Karlheinz Töchterle, the Austrian Federal Minister of Science and Research. Karlheinz Töchterle – as a Classical Philologist by profession – held the evening lecture.

Earlier the official greetings were spoken by Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and member of the managing committee of the Berliner Antike-Kolleg, by Peter-André Alt, the president of the Freie Universität, and the spokespersons of the BerGSAS, Cilliers Breytenbach and Therese Fuhrer. They addressed the members of the universities and their four partner institutions: the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science, the German Archaeological Institute, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and they gave a warm welcome all doctoral students and their families as well.

Wiebke Bebermeier and Jan Stenger, the chairpersons of the first two doctoral programmes Landscape Archaeology and Architecture (LAA) and Ancient Languages and Texts (ALT), gave a short introduction into the main ideas. The ceremony was closed with the enjoyable presentation of the 15 doctoral projects by the students Caecilia-Désirée Hein and Walter de Winter.