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Still a Wall in the Minds – Has What Belongs Together Grown Back Together? by Elia Panskus

Author’s note: As we all look ahead to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, I was asked to look at whether there is still a wall in the minds (“Mauer im Kopf”) of former West and East Germans. I was born in West Germany and grew up there after 1989, and I moved to East Germany after high school. Although I have lived on both sides of the former border, it is not my place to explain any differences and divisions that remain. In fact, I think this is one of the main reasons causing problems and frustration – people from West Germany trying to explain former East Germans. Therefore I will draw on recent facts and figures to shed light on...

As Temperatures Rise, European Politics Heat Up

At the end of June, a heat wave struck western and central Europe, setting new temperature records for June in Germany and the Czech Republic. While temperatures have since cooled somewhat, European and German politics show no signs of doing the same. After marathon negotiations, European leaders broke with the “Spitzenkandidat process” whereby European political parties appoint lead candidates for senior positions ahead of the European elections to choose a new slate of leaders. Meanwhile, Germany is experiencing tectonic shifts in its party landscape. Let me take these developments in turn: Following the European elections in late May and weeks of speculation about who would get Europe’s top jobs, last week European leaders nominated German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as the next President of...

Climate Crisis, Growing Expertise, and Resistance to Populism — Three Reasons for the Success of the German Greens by Elia Panskus

The German Greens are on the rise. The polls see the Greens high up, even up to 26 percent[1]. That would make them the largest caucus in the German Bundestag. By comparison: In the election for the German Bundestag in 2017, the result for the Greens was only 8.9 percent, the smallest caucus in the Parliament. These are just polls; much will happen before the next election. But the German Greens will be strong in the next Bundestag for sure. And there are simple reasons why: the climate crisis, the Greens’ growing competence in policy, and the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). Climate Protection The Umweltbewusstseinsstudie 2018, a study developed by the German Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency, shows that 64 percent of Germans...

U.S. and German Civility and Cooperation Efforts Will be on Display in Nashville

Another effort fostering solutions is a panel discussion at Belmont University focusing on social disruption in the U.S. and Germany. By Patrick W. Ryan, President and Founder of the Tennessee World Affairs Council, Dr. Nina Smidt, Director of International Strategic Planning at ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, and Dr. Steven E. Sokol, President of the American Council on Germany in New York. In a period of increased polarization in domestic politics, fragmentation of society and social inequity, efforts to adapt and grow to meet the complex 21st century challenges of globalization and technological change should begin at the local level. Germany and the United States face many of the same domestic challenges, and local communities in both countries can learn from each other’s innovative approaches...

The Impact of Fossil-Fuel Divestment on Finance by Martin-Sebastian Abel

Under the auspices of the DZ BANK Fellowship on Transatlantic Business and Finance, Martin-Sebastian   Abel, a public affairs specialist at NRW.BANK, the state development bank of Germany’s largest state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is conducting research on divestment in the United States until July. He has interviewed professionals in finance, representatives from universities, as well as decision-makers on the local and state level about the impact of divestment, including fossil-fuel divestment, and the processes to divest pension or endowment funds in the U.S. and in Germany. Some of his initial findings follow here. “At $8 trillion in endowments and portfolios, divestment has been described as the biggest corporate campaign of its kind in history,” Bill McKibben said proudly. The environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org wrote the...
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