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Revisiting “The City of Man”: The Future of Multilateral Politics

June 3, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

From the threat of pandemics to climate change, the rule of law, terrorism, and human rights, the world faces existential problems that nation-states cannot solve alone. But the necessary cooperation in a globalized world presupposes that certain principles and values are shared by all people. Multilateralism is as much a prerequisite as an instrument for all states to cooperate with each other and promote common goals, but also to balance and regulate competing interests.

As described in a recent study published by the Brookings Institution, the current malaise of the multilateral order goes deeper than the nationalistic aspirations of individual politicians. A logic of “you’re with us or you’re against us“ threatens to prevail in the international arena. It is time to ask: What is the future of multilateralism? And, what concrete measures can revive it today?

In today’s environment, what lessons can be learned from “The City of Man: A Declaration on World Democracy,” an initiative which Thomas Mann launched in 1940 together with Reinhold Niebuhr, Antonio Giuseppe Borgese, and others to outline their vision of a stable global system in which humanity would be the guiding principle for securing peace and social welfare.

Join the American Council on Germany and the Thomas Mann House for a virtual discussion with Ambassador Nina Hachigian, the first Deputy Mayor for International Affairs of Los Angeles, and 2021 Thomas Mann Fellows Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Marx of the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg and Prof. Dr. Michael Zürn of the Freie Universität Berlin; and moderated by attorney and civic leader Kimberly Marteau Emerson.

Kimberly Marteau Emerson (Moderator) is an attorney and civic leader. She hosts several events each week to maintain the friendship and mutual support between Germany and the United States. Formerly, she worked in the Clinton Administration as the Director of Public Liaison for the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). Currently, she serves on the International Board of Human Rights Watch and continues to be active with HRW in Berlin. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, ACG Chairman John B. Emerson, former U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, and their three children.

Ambassador Nina Hachigian was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the first Deputy Mayor of International Affairs in 2017. Her office seeks to expand Los Angeles’ global ties to help bring jobs, culture, and visitors to the city and to share L.A.’s values and experience. Prior to this, Ambassador Hachigian served as the United States Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (“ASEAN”). She was a Senior Fellow and a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress focused on Asia policy and U.S.-China relations and the director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy for four years. Ambassador Hachigian served on the staff of the National Security Council in the Clinton White House from 1998-1999. She received her B.S. from Yale University and her J.D. from Stanford Law School

Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Marx studied Linguistics, Literature, and Catholic Theology in Tübingen, Bonn, and at the University of Virginia from 1984 to 1989. In 1994, he received his doctorate in Bonn with a thesis on Goethe and Wieland; in 2000 he habilitated at the University of Wuppertal with a thesis on Christ Figurations in the Work of Thomas Mann. Since 2004, Friedhelm Marx has held the Chair of Modern German Literature at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg.

As a Thomas Mann Fellow, he is examining how the European visions of exiled writers of the interwar period have changed in the face of U.S. political reality. In doing so, he wants to explore which European debates took place in California’s exile community.

Prof. Dr. Michael Zürn is a political scientist. His research particularly focuses on the emergence and functioning of international and supranational institutions and their effects on the global political order. Prof. Zürn is Director of the Department of Global Governance at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and Professor of International Relations at Freie Universität Berlin. He has been a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and of the Academia Europaea since 2014.

Together with Christoph Möllers and Rainer Forst, during his Thomas Mann Fellowship Michael Zürn aims to describe the profound conflicts that characterize current societies and international institutions — including populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism — in an effort to reassess the legitimacy of normative orders in the state or supranational space.


June 3, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm