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Policy Conferences

The ACG organizes Policy Conferences to bring together policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and analysts to share their expertise and exchange perspectives on issues of contemporary concern.

These conferences promote transatlantic understanding and strive to facilitate more effective policy coordination. The conferences have both taken a wide view of transatlantic relations and have focused on specific issues ranging from health care to NATO’s role to Russia and the global financial crisis. The participants look to create practical policy solutions to complex problems.

“Global Economic Disruptions and Transatlantic Alliances”

The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and climate change have created huge disruptions – with lasting implications at the global, national, and local levels. Particularly on the economic side, many parts of the world have been experiencing stagnation and inflationary trends, both of which have led to supply chain disruptions, food shortages, and rising prices for commodities like energy and food. As a result, economic fragility has highlighted – and exacerbated – alarming trends when it comes to economic welfare, social unity, and political cohesion.

At this critical juncture, the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke convened their annual transatlantic conference in Washington, DC to explore the recent economic impacts to the transatlantic partnership – and worldwide.

Ambassador John B. Emerson, Chairman of the American Council on Germany, and Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of Atlantik-Brücke, opened the conference by welcoming everyone back to Washington, DC since the last German-American Conference in the United States in 2018.

“Holding Together in Times of Crisis: A New Era for German-American Relations”

Mutual trust and a confident outlook on transatlantic relations in a time of war and crisis currently characterize the German-American partnership. This was made clear by the various panels at the 2022 German-American Conference of the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke at the Allianz Forum in Berlin on June 13 and 14. “There is no desirable alternative to the partnership with the United States,” emphasized former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of Atlantik-Brücke, in his opening speech. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the two organizations, Mr. Gabriel recalled that former wartime enemies had become friends in the course of just one generation. This was “a small miracle,” he said. With regard to the current global political situation, he noted that it had been a mistake to try to counter Russian power politics with economic integration. Germany needs to review and revise its policy toward Russia, he said. “Uncertainty and instability will define the next decade,” Mr. Gabriel said.

“Six Months into the Biden Presidency: Transatlantic Trends and Aspirations”

July 19 to 21, 2021 the American Council on Germany and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung USA will host a series of discussions on the current state of transatlantic relations under President Joe Biden. Speakers include Ambassador Emily Haber, Bundestag Member Peter Beyer; Molly Montgomery, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State; and more.

2020 [virtual] German-American Conference

The American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke had planned to hold the 2020 German-American Conference in May in Washington, DC. Due to COVID-19, an in-person conference could not take place. Instead, the two organizations have partnered to hold a series of online discussions on the issues shaping the transatlantic relationship.

“Strengthening Transatlantic Resilience in Uncertain Times”

On June 11 and 12, 2019 the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke held the annual German-American Conference titled “Strengthening Transatlantic Resilience in Uncertain Times” in Berlin. The annual transatlantic conference explored the durability of the transatlantic partnership and how the United States and the European Union can strengthen resilience in a variety of areas, including democratic and multilateral institutions, economic cooperation, cybersecurity, and collaboration in the face of an economic and technological race with China. The conference was supported by DZ BANK and Pfizer Inc.

“The Alliance in Question? The Transatlantic Relationship in an Era of Disruption”

On May 6 and 7, 2018 the American Council on Germany (ACG) and Atlantik-Brücke hosted the sixth annual German-American Conference at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. The conference, “The Alliance in Question? The Transatlantic Relationship in an Era of Disruption,” addressed the challenges facing the German-American partnership with a focus on foreign and security policy, trade and economic policy, as well as the socio-political challenges of digital disruption and the dissemination of fake news and declining trust in democratic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Smart Urban Futures: Data and Development”

Since 2011, every fall the American Council on Germany has partnered with Berlin Partner, the German Consulate General in New York, and New York International to host the Transatlantic Entrepreneur Partnership Conference – or TEP. The conference brings together startups from Berlin and New York, venture capitalists, business leaders, policymakers, government officials, and academics for several days of meetings, site visits, and carefully curated discussions in order to learn best practices and build bridges between the startup communities New York and Berlin. This year, more than 15 Berlin startups came to New York from October 9 to 12, 2017 to interact with peers from New York and around the world. Under the auspices of TEP, the ACG took the lead in organizing a series of panel discussions on October 10 focused on the challenges and opportunities facing cities in the digital age.

“Finding Common Ground: Confronting Challenges and Setting Priorities for Europe and the United States”
Continuing the partnership between the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke, the two organizations hosted the fifth annual German-American Conference in Berlin on May 16 and 17, 2017. The conference, “Finding Common Ground: Confronting Challenges and Setting Priorities for Europe and the United States,” covered a wide range of topics, from foreign policy to trade agreements, to national security and the rise of populism.

German Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel opened the conference with an address on the long-lasting importance of the Marshall Plan and the future of transatlantic relations. He noted that he is optimistic for a German-American partnership; however, there are many issues that are disconcerting with the new administration in Washington. Minister Gabriel stated that “we should do everything we can to renew our partnership and deepen it with new strength,” remaining committed to the partnership between the two countries.

“Global Digital Economy: Business in the 21st Century”
Each year, New York City plays host to the Transatlantic Entrepreneur Partnership (TEP) Conference. Organized largely by New York International and Berlin Partner, TEP provides a platform for entrepreneurs from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in dialogue about the most recent developments in the digital world and to meet with angel investors. More than 200 people took part in the three-day conference from October 10 to 12, 2016, which included sessions at various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn focused on issues such as managing data; developing talent; regulatory frameworks; business development; media in the digital age; smart cities, urban  technology, and transportation; as well as advanced manufacturing. The ACG has been involved with TEP since its inception in 2011.

“Toward a New Transatlantic Narrative: The German-American Partnership in Turbulent Times”
On May 23 and 24, 2016, the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke e.V. partnered to host a high-level policy conference in Washington, DC, titled “Toward a New Transatlantic Narrative: The German-American Partnership in Turbulent Times.” Nearly 200 American and German opinion leaders and decision-makers from government, business, media, and academia engaged in lively discussions concerning the most pressing issues on the transatlantic agenda.

Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States, helped set the stage for the conference by discussing the importance of the German-American relationship as the cornerstone of the transatlantic partnership. He said that in today’s complex global environment we need to work together to find solutions to myriad challenges – and he touched on many of the topics that conference participants would later address during the panel discussions.