French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined forces in proposing a 500 billion euro EU recovery fund to help respond to the corona virus crisis. If other EU member states agree to the plan, it would be an important step forward for a more unified Europe – and it might bring the bloc closer together rather than fracturing it. But, the proposal is not without controversy. On Friday, May 29, the ACG hosted a webinar with Bundestag member Metin Hakverdi (SPD) who discussed the plans to help the EU recovery from COVID-19.
The spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing global lock-down as governments try to slow the spread of the corona virus has tested individuals and institutions around the world. Since March of 2020, the ACG has stepped up its digital programming by hosting webinars and video discussions which bring together policy makers and thought leaders from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss some of the key issues shaping transatlantic relations in an unprecedented time. In addition to organizing events on its own, the ACG has also partnered with other organizations such as 1014 and Atlantik-Brücke to launch new series designed to reach beyond the ACG community.
For the fifth session of Resilience and Adaption, on May 26, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Nina Lemmens and Daniela Kaisth on the ways in which civil society is coping with the current crisis and how the philanthropic community is responding.
Seemingly over night, education changed as restrictions related to COVID-19 went into effect. On May 22, the ACG hosted a webinar how the coronavirus has changed schooling on both sides of the Atlantic. Speakers included Susana O’Daniel, Director of Public Affairs for the Arkansas Education Association; Daniela Schneckenburger, Commissioner of the Department for School, Youth, and Family for the City of Dortmund; and Laura Ward, Vice President of Talent Development, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the virtual 2020 German-American Conference, on May 21, the ACG and Atlantik-Bruecke hosted a discussion with Ambassador Boris Ruge, Vice-Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, and Gregory F. Treverton, Professor of the Practice of International Relations and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California and former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, discussed whether or not we could have anticipated this pandemic with Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, Kissinger Chair on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress and a Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have closed. Many people are working from home – but not everyone is able to do so. An almost complete lock-down has magnified existing social inequalities and the digital divide. On May 19, the ACG hosted a discussion with thought leaders in the fields of digitalization and AI Gesche Joost, Professor for Design Research at the Berlin University of the Arts, and Mona Sloane of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, discussed the benefits and barriers created through digitalization in this unprecedented time. This event was held in partnership with 1014.
Federal, state, and local governments are having to manage the potential trade-off between individual freedoms and the greater good as they manage an unprecedented public health and public safety crisis. On May 18, the ACG and the RBFAA hosted a discussion with Caroline Fredrickson, Senior Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Arnd Henze, editor and reporter with WDR, on how to balance these interests in a conversation moderated by Cordell Carter, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Socrates Program.
As lockdown restrictions begin the lift, cities are faced with a new set of challenges. On May 15, the ACG hosted a discussion with William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, and Ullrich Sierau, Lord Mayor of Dortmund, on how their cities have coped with the pandemic – and how they are preparing for the future.
The international community has been faced with an unprecedented health and economic crisis in recent months. While global leadership seems to be divided by political differences and is struggling to find common ground, restrictions due to COVID-19 are still in place. In light of these challenges, our guests will explore possible coping strategies for the Western alliance. On May 14, the ACG and Atlantik-Bruecke hosted a discussion with Omid Nouripour, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the Green Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag; Member of the Board, Atlantik-Brücke, and Ambassador Victoria Nuland, former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. State Department; Senior Counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group. This event was part of the 2020 Virtual German-American Conference.
The current pandemic has slowed the global economy. It has exposed the interdependence inherent in global supply chains. Will things snap back when the concerns over the virus subside? On May 12, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with with Thorsten Benner, Co-Founder and Director of the Global Public Policy Institute, and Shannon O’Neil, Vice President, Deputy Director of Studies, and Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
On May 8, the ACG hosted a conversation about the future of mobility and transportation in cities – during and after the pandemic. Drawing on alumni from ACG programs, speakers include Laurin Spoetro, Public Policy Planner for Uber Germany; Jana Kugoth, Mobility and Transportation Reporter for Der Tagesspiegel; Brandie Lockhart, Director of Urban Design for Houston Metro; and Jesse Mintz-Roth, the Vision Zero Program Manager for the Department Transportation in San Jose, CA.
On May 7, the ACG hosted a discussion with German Ambassador to the United States Emily M. Haber and Ambassador John B. Emerson, ACG Chairman and former American Ambassador to Germany. This discussion was held in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of American as part of CxC: Amplified.
Are autocracies better positioned to fight pandemics than democracies? On May 6, the ACG and 1014 hosted a conversation with American political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama and Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, discussed how the current crisis is handled by different regimes.
The pandemic is the main topic in the news on both sides of the Atlantic – and indeed around the world. Citizens everywhere rely on the media to get critical information, as well as to ensure that leaders are being held accountable in how they address the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. How does coverage compare and differ in Germany and the United States? On May 4, the ACG and the Robert Bosch Fellowship Alumni Association hosted a discussion with Sumi Somaskanda from DW News and Daniel Lippman from Politico on the role of the media in a pandemic.
On April 30, the ACG hosted a Hot Topics Call (video edition) with Emily Schultheis, Fellow at the Institute for Current World Affairs and American freelance journalist based in Berlin. She discussed the impact of the pandemic on Europe’s far right parties, and on Germany in particular.
The pandemic is challenging democratic institutions and practices all around the world. Governments have an obligation to respect the basic rights of citizens in uncertain times – but are they? On April 28, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Stefan Kornelius, Foreign Editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and ACG Young Leader alumna Dr. Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, on how democracies respond to this unprecedented crisis.
On Friday, April 24, hosted a discussion with representatives from Cleveland, Heidelberg, Knoxville, and Leipzig on the impact of COVID-19 on cities in Germany and the United States. Speakers include Tobias David, Chief of Staff for the Lord Mayor, City of Leipzig; Blaine Griffin, City Council Member, City of Cleveland; Irmintraud Jost, Head of Higher Education and Research Department, City of Heidelberg; and Stephanie Welch, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief of Economic and Community Development, City of Knoxville.
On April 22, the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke hosted a discussion with Professor Dr. Andreas Dombret, Global Senior Advisor at Oliver Wyman and former Board Member of Deutsche Bundesbank; Sigmar Gabriel, former Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister; and ACG Board member Dr. John Lipsky, Distinguished Scholar at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and former First Managing Director of the IMF.
On April 16, the ACG hosted a Hot Topics Call with Bundestag Member Peter Beyer (CDU), who also serves as Coordinator for Transatlantic Cooperation in the German Federal Foreign Office, discussed the transatlantic partnership during – and after – the coronavirus.
On April 14, the ACG hosted a discussion with Dr. Evelyn Farkas, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, and Sarah Pagung, Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations’ Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, who discussed Russia’s involvement of the spread of disinformation during the coronavirus crisis.
On April 9, 2020, the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke hosted a video discussion with the Chairmen of the two organizations – Ambassador John B. Emerson and Sigmar Gabriel, and moderated by journalist Juliane Schaeuble. In conversation, they discussed the national and international responses to COVID-19, the future of multilateralism and globalization, as well as domestic politics in this unprecedented and uncertain time.