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Resilience and Adaption: Life After The Corona Crisis

In an era of social distancing and sheltering in place, ACG and 1014 have launched a regular series of discussions about the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, national politics, and society. Each week, experts from both sides of the Atlantic share their insights on how we are adapting to current challenges and what the world will look like after the pandemic. 

As we head into the holiday season, we might find our travel plans impacted by Covid-regulations. On December 15, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Ricarda Lindner, Regional Manager for the Americas and Director of the U.S. Office of the German National Tourist Office, and Guy Martin (1991 ACG Journalism Fellow), Senior Correspondent for Conde Nast Traveler and Senior Contributor at Forbes, on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry.

As COVID-19 cases surge again in Europe and the United States, public health officials, healthcare workers, and hospital administrators are grappling with the challenges of providing care to patients. At the same time, the experiences battling the pandemic this year have started to shape mid- and long-term preparedness and emergency plans. On November 24, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Dr. David L. Reich, President and COO of The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and President of Mount Sinai Queens (both part of the Mount Sinai Heath System), and Prof. Dr. Eckhard Nagel who serves as Managing Director of the Institute for Health Care Management and Economics at the University of Bayreuth and practices medicine at the Erdhof Rehabilitation Center in Iselsberg-Stronach, Austria. Since 2018, he has been the German President of the Chinese-German Friendship Hospital of the Tongji Clinic Wuhan.

Public trust is critical in the functioning of democracies. Citizens do not need to agree with every government policy or trust each individual officeholder — but they do need to have confidence that democratic institutions and practices protect their interest, act responsibly, and uphold the rule of law. In recent years, in the United States and Europe public trust in government has declined.

On November 3, Election Day in the United States, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Thomas Carothers, Senior Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Laura Krause, Director of More in Common, Germany, on trust in democracy.

Border closures, regional lock-downs, and layoffs of migrant workers due to the pandemic have impacted the movement of people – and fundamentally changed the nature of global migration. What are the repercussions of the inability of migrant workers to travel to agricultural fields or other places of work? Will public opinion toward migrants change for the better given that labor migrants often serve as essential workers? Or will xenophobia and resentment increase in light of the economic crisis? How are governments in Europe and the United States addressing migration during a simultaneous public health and economic crisis?

On October 27, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Theresa Brown, Director of Immigration and Cross-Border Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center; Dr. J. Olaf Kleist, Senior Researcher, German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM); and Cristobal Ramón, Senior Policy Analyst, Bipartisan Policy Center, as part of the Resilience and Adaption series.

This fall, as students go back to school – in-person and online – colleges and universities are facing a new set of challenges. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, what is the future of higher education in Germany and the United States? On October 6, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with German and American educators and students to learn about how colleges and universities adapt – with possibly long-lasting changes that will shape higher education for years to come. Speakers include Carson Crochet, a Davidson College Junior, who works on the College Crisis Initiative; Dr. Chris Marsicano, Assistant Professor of the Practice in Educational Studies, Davidson College; and Dr. Uta G. Ploiger, Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities; Professor of History, Northeastern University.

Predicting the future is difficult under any circumstance – but it is especially hard during a period of unprecedented uncertainty. One thing is certain: The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of billions of people all over the globe. But, what are the lasting changes? What will our communities look like after the pandemic? Are there any lessons we can learn from this moment in history that can shape the world of tomorrow?

On September 16, the ACG and 1014 hosted a conversation with futurists Maria Bothwell, CEO of Toffler Associates, a future-focused strategic advisory firm based in Washington DC, and Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency in Zürich and a European speaker, film-maker and author who focuses on the nexus of humanity and technology, to learn what a post-COVID world might be like.

Journalism and the media play an indispensable role in democracies – especially in times of crisis. On July 14, the ACG and 1014 hosted a conversation with Sewell Chan (2014 ACG Young Leader), Editorial Page Editor for the Los Angeles Times, and Anna Sauerbrey (2018 ACG Kellen Fellow), Opinion Page Editor for Der Tagesspiegel and monthly contributor to the New York Times, on the challenges facing the media in Europe and the United States during the pandemic.

Social distancing requirements have abruptly put a halt to most cultural events. While museums and libraries in some communities in the United States and in Europe slowly start to re-open, concerts, performances, and many other cultural events are being cancelled for the rest of the year. On July 7, the ACG and 1014 hosted a virtual discussion with Elke Buhr, Chief Editor of Monopol, Germany’s largest contemporary art magazine, and Adrian Ellis, Chairman of the Global Cultural Districts Network and Founder/Director of AEA Consulting, on the unique challenges facing the arts and culture in this unprecedented time.

The corona crisis is affecting almost every aspect of civil society. It is having an impact on individuals, families, and organizations – with long-lasting reverberations for the institutions that shape civil society. Against the backdrop of simultaneous public health and economic crises, there are demands for greater social equity. What does civil society need to address the current challenges? How can institutions and practices adapt to best serve their communities? Practitioners and experts from Germany and the United States will take on these and other questions. On June 30, the ACG and 1014 hosted a video discussion with Brian Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way Worldwide, and Dr. Andreas Rickert, Founder and CEO of PHINEO.

The corona crisis demonstrates that nature ultimately cannot be controlled. It does not negotiate, nor does it abide by the rules of maximizing economic benefits. Climate change has long been on the global agenda – but it has not been taken seriously by everyone. Does the current moment provide an opportunity to address environmental concerns in a new way or does the pandemic make it more difficult to meet the challenges of climate change? On June 23, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and head of the Energy, Transportation, and Environment Department at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), and Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, on the impact of the pandemic on climate and environmental policy as well as how recovery funds can be used to push for a green transition in the United States and Europe.

The combined public health and economic crises have exacerbated social inequity in our societies. Social injustice and police brutality have led to widespread protests and unrest. From essential workers risking their lives on minimum wage to poor living conditions to inadequate access to health care and the digital world, we must right many existing wrongs in the United States and in Europe. On June 15, the ACG and 1014 hosted German sociologist Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger and American community leader Bill Strickland on how to heal and preserve the fabric of our communities. This event was held with support from the Thomas Mann House.

For the fifth session of Resilience and Adaption, on May 26, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Nina Lemmens and Daniela Kaisth on the ways in which civil society is coping with the current crisis and how the philanthropic community is responding.

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have closed. Many people are working from home – but not everyone is able to do so. An almost complete lock-down has magnified existing social inequalities and the digital divide. On May 19, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with thought leaders in the fields of digitalization and AI Gesche Joost, Professor for Design Research at the Berlin University of the Arts, and Mona Sloane of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, discussed the benefits and barriers created through digitalization in this unprecedented time.

The current pandemic has slowed the global economy. It has exposed the interdependence inherent in global supply chains. Will things snap back when the concerns over the virus subside? On May 12, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with with Thorsten Benner, Co-Founder and Director of the Global Public Policy Institute, and Shannon O’Neil, Vice President, Deputy Director of Studies, and Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Are autocracies better positioned to fight pandemics than democracies? On May 6, the ACG and 1014 hosted a conversation with American political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama and Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, discussed how the current crisis is handled by different regimes.

The pandemic is challenging democratic institutions and practices all around the world. Governments have an obligation to respect the basic rights of citizens in uncertain times – but are they? On April 28, the ACG and 1014 hosted a discussion with Stefan Kornelius, Foreign Editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung,  and ACG Young Leader alumna Dr. Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, on how democracies respond to this unprecedented crisis.