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Public Online Panel Discussion on Sustainability

English-language panel discussion series “Berlin Talks” presented by the international short-term study programs FU-BEST and FUBiS of Freie Universität Berlin, broadcast live on February 18, 2021, at 7 p.m. (Central European time)

№ 026/2021 from Feb 15, 2021

The international programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) will present an online panel discussion entitled “Sustainability: From Buzzword to Guiding Principle” on Thursday, February 18. Four experts will discuss various aspects of this topic.

The notion or concept of “sustainability,” applied primarily to ecological matters, is not new perhaps, but it has truly acquired widespread usage in recent decades, often well beyond ecological or environmental discourse in a narrower sense. Used in a literal sense, the word might refer to the ability to perpetuate an activity or the existence of something. But it can also refer to how Earth’s species, especially humans, can share the planet and its resources in a more balanced way. More concretely, it indicates the necessity of making use of natural, renewable resources only in such a way that people can continue to rely on their availability in the long term.

Has the proliferating use of the term sustainability become too inflated, turning the concept into a buzzword and hence diminishing its usefulness? How can this term be meaningfully defined and applied? How can it serve as a useful guiding principle? The next “Berlin Talks panel discussion will address these and other questions from a variety of perspectives, ranging from a focus on local, institutional contexts (at a university), to economic pursuits, to political concerns and policy-making, as well as the role of activism on different levels – from local to European.

The event will be live-streamed in English and viewers are invited to participate virtually via the chat function.

Panel Members

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (moderator): Academic director, FU-BEST
  • Patrizia Heidegger: Director for Global Policies and Sustainability, European Environmental Bureau, Brussels
  • Andreas Wanke: Head of the Unit for Sustainability and Energy Management and coordinator of Sustainability and Energy Management at Freie Universität Berlin
  • Heike Mewes: FU-BEST instructor for the “Green Business” course
  • Dr. Andrzej Ancygier: FU-BEST and FUBiS instructor on environmental politics and policy

Panel Discussion Broadcast

Further Information

About Berlin Talks

This interactive and public online event series addresses social issues, discussed and examined from different perspectives by internationally recognized experts, and is organized by the international short-term study programs of Freie Universität Berlin, FU-BEST and FUBiS: www.fu-berlin.de/berlintalks.

About Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST) and Freie Universität Berlin International Summer and Winter University (FUBiS)

These international short-term study programs include German language instruction as well as a large selection of courses in a variety of subjects, many taught in English. Participants can choose between a semester-long program or the summer/winter program. For more information visit www.fubest.org and www.fubis.org. Both programs have been awarded the Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) quality seal by the Forum on Education Abroad. In 2019, they welcomed a total of 934 students from over 40 countries to Freie Universität Berlin.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the programs also offer academic online programs, awarding internationally recognized ECTS credits, as well as free online public lecture series. The online courses offered by FU-BEST and FUBiS were recognized in 2020 by the initiative “Germany ‘Land of Ideas’: Beyond Crisis.”

Online Initiatives

April 15, 2021 Digital Revolution – Opportunities, Challenges, Implications
June 17, 2021 Young Globalization – Role and Impact of Young Leaders in a Post-National (?) World


Friederike Zähringer, Coordinator Marketing & Communications, Freie Universität Berlin International Summer and Winter University FUBiS / Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST), Tel.: +49 30 838-66560, Email: friederike.zaehringer@fu-berlin.de