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Program Highlights

The 21 Eric M. Warburg Chapters host more than 100 events each year. Below are highlights from recent discussions. Topics range from climate change to the rise in populism to transatlantic trade to the German foreign policy. 

On October 8, the ACG’s Chicago Eric M. Warburg Chapter convened a Breakfast Briefing overlooking Lake Michigan with the former President of the German Bundestag, Professor Dr. Norbert Lammert, who now serves as the Chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The event was moderated by ACG President Dr. Steven E. Sokol and was held in conjunction with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, under the auspices of Deutschlandjahr – the Year of German-American Friendship. Dr. Lammert reflected on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the differing attitudes about unification in the United States and Europe. He also spoke about the ongoing importance of U.S.-European relations in the age of the rise of east Asia.

In October 2018, Stefan Schlüter, former German Consul General in San Francisco and now  Program Director at the Diplomatic Academy in Berlin, undertook a two-week, 12-city speaking tour in the southeastern and mid-western regions of the United States, engaging over 1,200 Americans in conversations about German-Jewish relations and Germany’s coming to terms with its past. Since his trip in 2018, populist trends have been on an upward trajectory in many European countries as evidenced by the continued issues surrounding Brexit in the United Kingdom and elections in Hungary, Italy, and the European Parliament. And, in recent German elections, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made significant gains in eastern German state elections.

From October 19 to November 4, 2019 Mr. Schlüter visited seven U.S. cities – Austin, Dallas, Devener, Kansas City, Phoenix, and San Francisco – meeting with World Affairs Councils, ACG Warburg Chapters, German-American heritage groups, Jewish organizations, and universities to discuss the rise of populism and nationalism in Germany and Europe.

Mr. Schlüter’s speaking tour was supported by Allianz and through a grant to the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) and the American Council on Germany to hold a series of public policy discussions with German decision-makers, opinion leaders, and policy experts in 18 communities across the United States as part of the Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/19 – Year of German-American Friendship.

Ambassador John Kornblum visited the Nashville and Charlotte Warburg Chapters in early September to discuss why Europe matters for the United States. He framed the current fracturing of multilateral institutions and an increasing inward focus of countries around the globe against the long-standing tradition of transatlantic relations dating back to the Spanish colonization of Central and South America and the arrival of the first Germans in what is now the United States in the late 1600s. He said the preeminent issue of our time is control of global digital networks, infrastructure, and supply chains. He underlined that Western democracies must act collectively to ensure openness, transparency, rule of law, and respect for privacy – or risk ceding domination to a China whose objectives are power and control. He was not optimistic that we are up to the task.

On August 14, in cooperation with Atlantik-Brücke, the ACG’s Los Angeles Warburg Chapter hosted Sigmar Gabriel, former Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany, who was visiting the United States in his new role as Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke. Joined by ACG Chairman John B. Emerson, Mr. Gabriel provided his perspectives on transatlantic politics and explained why he believes a flexitarian approach is essential for a successful multilateral world order. Prior to his trip out West, Mr. Gabriel held meetings in New York, including with ACG Board Member Henry A. Kissinger.

During the second week of September, Dr. Cornelius Adebahr, Political Analyst and Nonresident Fellow at Carnegie Europe, spoke at the Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco Warburg Chapters. He discussed German and European foreign policies and relations with Iran.

From May 21 to 23, Ricklef Beutin, Visiting Fellow in the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), spoke at Warburg Chapters in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and San Francisco. During the course of the week, he spoke with more than 100 individuals about the future of transatlantic relations. These events were conducted under the auspices of Deutschlandjahr 2018-2019. The St. Louis event was held in cooperation with the World Affairs Councils of America and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

On April 30, Peter Beyer, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office and Member of the German Bundestag (CDU), spoke in Los Angeles. He discussed  the importance of finding common ground between the United States and Germany, and why we should not focus on the drama in Washington. This event was held under the auspices of Deutschlandjahr.

The Los Angeles Warburg Chapter held a discussion and luncheon with James Kirchick, journalist and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution on April 13. He discussed his latest book, The End of Europe: Dictators, Demogogues, and the Coming Dark Age, and what it means for German-American relations.

On April 11, the Boston Warburg Chapter and World Boston co-sponsored a discussion and luncheon with Ricklef Beutin, Visiting Fellow in the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He discussed the some of the challenges to the transatlantic relationship today and in the future. This event was held in partnership with World Boston under the auspices of Deutschlandjahr, and in collaboration with World Affairs Councils of America.

On March 25, the Charlotte Chapter organized a series of events with Riprand Graf Arco, Founder and Chairman of the American Asset Corporation. He reflected on “American exceptionalism” and 35 years as an entrepreneur in the United States.

That same day, the Dallas Warburg Chapter and the ZEIT-Stiftung held a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Christian Martin, Professor of European and Mediterranean Studies and Max Weber Visiting Chair in German and European Studies at NYU, and Dr. Sokol. The discussion covered a wide variety of topics including the Grand Coalition in the Bundestag, the upcoming European elections, and NATO.

The Seattle Chapter held a discussion and reception with Boris Ruge, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Hans-Ulrich Südbeck, Consul General of Germany in San Francisco on March 21.

On March 14, 2019, Constanze Stelzenmüller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, offered her insights on the state of the transatlantic partnership at an event in Denver.

The ACG helped support the Heidelberg University Association with a series of four Heidelberg Lectures, which brought Nobel Laureates from the Universität Heidelberg to three different regions in the United States in the fall of 2018. The Heidelberg Lectures provided an opportunity to highlight the distinguished high level of research being conducted in German universities.

On November 13, 2018, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted the first Heidelberg Lecture with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle, who discussed “New Forms of Matter with Ultracold Atoms: Superfluids and Supersolids.” Since 1998, Dr. Ketterle has been the John D. MacArthur professor of physics at MIT. He leads a research group exploring new forms of matter of ultracold atoms, in particular novel aspects of superfluidity, coherence, and correlations in many-body systems. His observation of Bose-Einstein condensation in a gas in 1995 and the first realization of an atom laser in 1997 were recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 (together with E.A. Cornell and C.E. Wieman).  

In December, Heidelberg Lectures took place in San Diego and Seattle by Prof. Dr. Harald zur Hausen, a German virologist who has done extensive research on cancer of the cervix, where he discovered the role of papilloma viruses, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008. His research directly made possible the development of an HPV vaccine which was introduced in 2006.

From October 14 to 30, 2018, former German diplomat, Stefan Schlüter, undertook a two-week speaking tour of 12 cities in the southeastern and mid-western regions of the United States. The goal of this project – which was organized in collaboration with the American Jewish Committee – was to engage Jewish communities in smaller U.S. cities to examine German-Jewish themes, to openly discuss Germany today in the context of its history, and to provide opportunities to learn about contemporary Germany. Mr. Schlüter focused on a number of topics during the speaking tour, including Jewish life in Germany, Germany’s coming to terms with its past, German-Israeli relations, rising anti-Semitism, and populism in Europe. In addition, he had the opportunity to discuss a wider range of topics, such as transatlantic relations, migration issues and refugee policy, developments in the EU, Brexit, and the Middle East conflict.

Funding for this project was provided by the German Federal Foreign Office and Allianz and was administered under the auspices of the Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/2019 – Year of German-American Friendship.