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Populism and the Future of Democracy in Europe

This live panel discussion was recorded on September 16, 2021, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

What forms of populism are there and why are we experiencing this phenomenon particularly strongly in our time? What role do dynamics such as globalization, migration, and nationalism play in this context? What effects do populist trends in politics and society have on the political cultures of the European countries concerned? How has the corona pandemic affected the phenomenon of populism? Should populism be seen primarily as a threat, or does it also open up new, useful insights into the dynamics of political development in Europe? These and other questions were the focus of the panel discussion by four experts, whose research and publications deal with the phenomenon of populism in politics and society.

Panel members:

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (moderator): Academic director, FU-BEST.
  • Dr. Catherine Fieschi: Director of Counterpoint and senior adviser to the macro-advisory firm MAP.
  • Nicole Loew: Research assistant and doctoral candidate at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin.
  • Prof. Dr. Sebastian Büttner: Assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, and guest professor of Macrosociology at the Institute of Sociology, Freie Universität Berlin.
  • Dr. Kai-Olaf Lang: Senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP).

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Young Globalization – Role and Impact of Young Leaders in a Post-National World

This live panel discussion was recorded on June 17, 2021, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.
It is frequently argued that “the world is a village”. As this “village” moves into the future, what roles can and do younger generations play, through their professional careers, as activists, as community leaders, as creative thinkers? The panel for this event features six younger-generation representatives from this “global village”, whose work, activism, and thinking touch on the topic of global governance, multilateralism, and the multifaceted role of younger generations in international affairs.

Panel members:

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (moderator): Academic director, FU-BEST.
  • Sophie Daud: Chief Executive Officer of the Future Leaders Network; 2021 Chair of the Y7, the official youth engagement group for the G7 Leaders' Summit.
  • Radha Kulkarni: Works at the intersection of finance, strategy, and policy with experience across the private sector, non-profits, and government and multilateral organizations; active in Young UN – Agents for Change.
  • Aniqah Zowmi: Community engagement and gender equality specialist at the Ontario Council for International Cooperation; chair of Girls Action Foundation; director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Leading Change Canada; Regional Focal Point for the United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth.
  • Nils Feller: Member of the Young Global Changers Working Group on Global Governance; active in the Youth Alliance for Multilateralism.
  • Nasrat Khalid: Founder of Awal, an international development company harnessing technology and innovation to improve the lives of those in underdeveloped or underrepresented countries; active in the initiative Young Global Changers.

Digital Revolution – Opportunities, Challenges, Implications

This live panel discussion was recorded on April 15, 2021, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

The societal, political, cultural, educational, and economic impacts of the Digital Revolution have been profound. Humanity is able to interconnect and communicate more rapidly and intensively than at any time previously. Digitalization continues to play a key role in the globalization of production and markets. Yet questions are also regularly raised about negative consequences of these revolutionary changes, such as information overload, social isolation, media saturation, threats to privacy and intellectual copyright, and the uncontrolled proliferation of questionable internet content. Fundamental concerns regarding the future of interhuman communication and societal cohesion have been raised. The panel members addressed the implications and concerns associated with the Digital Revolution from a diversity of perspectives.

Panel members:

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (moderator): Academic director, FU-BEST
  • Prof. Dr. Anabel Ternès von Hattburg: Digital entrepreneur, professor and expert on digital communication
  • Larissa Zeichhardt: CEO of LAT, Electrical engineer; Specialist in the fields of IT, traffic and mobility planning, urban development, networking
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Emmer: Founding Director at Weizenbaum Institute, Professor of Communication Science at Freie Universität Berlin
  • Dr. Bruno Gransche: Philosopher and futurologist, Post-doc research fellow in the interdisciplinary research college of the University of Siegen

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Sustainability - From Buzzword to Guiding Principle

This live panel discussion was recorded on February 18, 2021, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

The notion or concept of “sustainability”, applied primarily to ecological matters, is not new perhaps, but it has truly acquired widespread usage or application in recent decades, often well beyond ecological or environmental discourse in a narrower sense. Literally used, the word might refer to the ability to exist constantly, to a proper balance of species (esp. humanity) and the resources in its environment. More concretely, it can refer to the necessity of making only such use of natural, renewable resources that people can continue to rely on their yields in the long term. Has the proliferating use of the term sustainability become too inflationary, turning the concept into a buzzword with possibly reduced utility? How can this term be usefully defined and applied? How can it serve as a meaningful guiding principle? Berlin Talks offered a panel discussion focused on these and other questions and considerations, providing perspectives ranging from a more local, institutional context (a university), to the pursuit of business, the perspective of politics and policy-making, and citizen involvement spanning the spectrum from local to European activism.

Panel members:

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

Migration in Berlin, Germany, and Europe: Challenges and Prospects - Before, During, and After Corona

This live panel discussion was recorded on December 17, 2020, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

The four panel members for this edition of "Berlin Talks" entitled "Migration in Berlin, Germany, and Europe: Challenges and Prospects - Before, During, and After Corona" discussed the national and international dimensions of this theme. After a review of developments over the past several years, the focus shifted to the question of how the issue of migration has unfolded in Europe, Germany, and Berlin in the course of the year 2020 as a result of the pandemic. During the last part of the session, the panelists attempted to look into the pandemic’s aftermath: what changes will remain, what will change yet again, what pre-pandemic aspects will return to the forefront?

Panel members:

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

U.S. Elections 2020: Reflecting on the Domestic and International Dimensions and Implications

This live panel discussion was recorded on November 19, 2020, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

The five panel members for this edition of "Berlin Talks" entitled "U.S. Elections 2020: Reflecting on the Domestic and International Dimensions and Implications" reflected on the political, economic, and societal background and consequences of the elections, as well as their consequences for U.S. foreign and security policy.

Panel members:

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (Moderator): Academic Director, FU-BEST Program
  • Katrin Bennhold: Berlin Bureau of "The New York Times"
  • Prof. Dr. Lora Anne Viola: John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin; research emphasis on North American foreign and security policy
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Lammert: John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin; research emphasis on North American political systems
  • Dr. Klaus Scharioth: Retired German diplomat (Ambassador in Washington DC, 2006-2011)
  • Prof. Dr. Max Steinhardt: John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin; research emphasis on the economy of North America

German Unification 1990 – Retrospective and Outlook after 30 Years

This live panel discussion was recorded on October 8, 2020, as part of our ongoing series "Berlin Talks", a cooperation of international short-term study programs FU-BEST (European Studies) and FUBiS (International Summer and Winter University) at Freie Universität Berlin.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of German reunification, four experts discussed its cultural, political, social, and international dimensions, offering a retrospective as well as an outlook for the future. The audience participated via online chat during the live-stream broadcast. The panel discussion addressed questions on, for example, how the events from 1989 to 1990 should be seen in historical perspective – was it a case of reunification, unification, or accession of the GDR? What were (and perhaps still are today) some of the most important societal dynamics and consequences? Where can we still identify a lingering East-West divide in Germany? And to what extent does unified Germany have to grapple with a “return of the past”?

Panel members:

  • Dr. Dirk Verheyen (Moderator): Academic Director, FU-BEST Program
  • Dr. Marita Meyer: German studies expert; specializations include discourse on globalization and ecology in art and literature
  • Dr. Martin Jander: Historian and journalist; specializations include political opposition in the former GDR
  • Dr. Klaus Müller: Sociologist; specializations include post-communist transformations and international political economy
  • Rolf-Dieter Schnelle: Political scientist and former German diplomat; specializations include public diplomacy, foreign cultural policy, and transatlantic relations

Watch the recording on our YouTube channel.