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2020 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.

This year, the coronavirus crisis has shown that Europe and the United States face similar challenges – and has underscored how countries must work together to meet those challenges. With a new administration entering office in the United States in January and elections in Germany in the fall, there are opportunities to reinvent the transatlantic agenda to address the common challenges facing Europe and the United States. As part of the 2020 [virtual] German-American Conference, on December 2, the ACG and Atlantik-Brücke hosted a discussion with Ambassador John B. Emerson and Sigmar Gabriel, the Chairmen of both organizations, who provided insights into what 2021 might bring for transatlantic relations.

On October 29, the ACG and Atlantik-Brücke hosted a webinar as part of the [virtual] 2020 German-American Conference to discuss how transatlantic relations, and politics in general, can become more inclusive. The discussion featured Dr. Petra Bendel, Professor of Political Science, Erlangen-Nürnberg University; Congressman Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UNIDOS; Cem Özdemir, Member of the Bundestag (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Dr. Michael Werz (Moderator), Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.

Identity politics has long been thought to help members of disenfranchised communities create a voice for themselves. However, in recent years, identity politics has led to increased polarization between the left and the right, creating a rise of populism in the United States and Europe. Now in 2020, the call for social justice and racial equality have brought identity into the forefront of political debates on both sides of the Atlantic.

As part of the virtual 2020 German-American Conference, on September 10, the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Brücke hosted a virtual discussion with political scientist and Young Leader alumnus Dr. Francis Fukuyama (1985 Young Leader), Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Mosbacher Director of FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and Director of Stanford’s Master’s in International Policy Program; and moderated by German journalist Christiane Hoffmann (1997 Young Leader).

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.

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.

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 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.