Meiosis is a defining feature of sexual reproduction. This specialized cell division program comprises a single round of DNA replication followed by two successive cell divisions, thereby reducing chromosome number by half. This reduction accommodates the later combination of two haploid gametes during fertilization to reconstitute a full diploid genome. The unique events of meiosis, including pairwise alignment of parental chromosomes, inter-homolog recombination, kinetochore attachment, cell cycle adaptations and error correction mechanisms, are intensely studied processes in numerous model organisms (fungi, protists, plants, and animals). The Meiosis field is driven by fascination in how evolution has implemented and perfected the meiotic program, and also by its significance to both plant breeding and human health. As a special topic for the 2021 EMBO Workshop, we have chosen homolog pairing. The recognition and physical pairing of homologous chromosomes is an essential feature of meiosis, and also occurs in other contexts. It is therefore timely to bring together the fields of meiotic and post-meiotic chromosome pairing to potentially uncover common principles and mechanisms.