Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions make in-person events unfeasible, the ACG proposes to build on the successful town hall model focused on local communities to implement a new series of virtual meetings in 2020 entitled [Virtual] Transatlantic Town Halls, held under the auspices of Wunderbar Together USA 2020 is a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Goethe-Institut.
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected low income and minority communities, increased the digital divide, shown weakness in healthcare systems, and changed the nature of everyday life including work and education. Although Germany was able to suppress the infection rate, the pandemic has taken a toll on its social system. On August 18, the ACG hosted a webinar with Bundestag Member Ekin Deligoez (Green Party), who serves on the Bundestag’s Budget Committee and as Spokeswoman for the Bavarian Greens in the Bundestag, on the impact of the pandemic on German society.
There are a number of important issues on the transatlantic agenda. And, yet the relevance of the partnership between the United States and Germany has been called into question in recent years. From defense spending and the proposed U.S. military drawdown, to transatlantic trade and investment, to relations with other countries such as China and Russia, the German-American relationship has been charged. With the German presidency of the European Council, what can we expect for the transatlantic relationship in the months and years to come? On Tuesday, August 11, the ACG hosted a webinar with Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Senior Member of House Committee on Armed Services, and Bundestag Member Dr. Tobias Lindner (Die Grüne), Spokesman for Security Policy, Chairman of the Defense Committee; and moderated by Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Executive Director of The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Harvard Kennedy School and Co-Director of the ACG’s Eric M. Warburg Chapter in Boston.
Cities that were built on iron, steel, and coal have had to overcome deep economic challenges and structural changes in recent decades. Both Dortmund and Pittsburgh have rebuilt themselves as thriving metropolises. However, the spread of COVID-19 is forcing cities to confront a new set of challenges. On August 7, the ACG hosted a second webinar with William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, and Ullrich Sierau, Mayor of Dortmund, who provided an update on how their cities have developed sustainable strategies to meet the challenges of structural change, a public health crisis, and diversity and inclusion in their communities – and how they are preparing for the future.