Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the TTIP Town Hall program?

The TTIP Town Hall program is a program organized by the Washington, DC-based Bertelsmann Foundation that seeks to foster greater awareness of and debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the free-trade agreement being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, and its impact on Americans. The program focuses on TTIP’s local and regional aspects, and expands the discussion beyond Washington, DC. The outreach and awareness-raising program focuses on five US cities over a two-year period. Through a series of meetings, presentations, and “Town Hall” gatherings, the Bertelsmann Foundation is providing opportunities to those whose perspectives are traditionally underrepresented in trade negotiations to express their intensity of interest in, priorities for and concerns about the TTIP agreement.

Q. What is the Bertelsmann Foundation and why is it organizing this program?

The Bertelsmann Foundation, established in 2008, is the North American arm of the Germany-based Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of Europe’s largest think tanks. As an organization, we are drivers of social change and are committed to promoting the freedom of individuals and societies and international understanding, particularly between the United States and Europe.

The Bertelsmann Foundation’s role as an international non-profit, non-partisan organization leaves it uniquely qualified to organize and encourage debate on the TTIP. With offices in Washington, DC and throughout Europe, the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Bertelsmann Stiftung are able to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to have a frank, informative and transparent debate on the TTIP and its potential impact on local US communities.

Q. Who is the intended audience?

The TTIP Town Hall program has four principal target groups: 1) businesses and local chambers of commerce; 2) key elected officials and policymakers in their constituencies; 3) local media; and 4) civil-society groups, including consumer associations, environmental and labor groups, and other non-government organizations (NGOs). Convening all four target groups in the TTIP Town Hall program is essential for ensuring a diverse and transparent TTIP debate.

Q. With whom is the Bertelsmann Foundation partnering on this program?
In organizing and implementing each TTIP Town Hall program, the Bertelsmann Foundation is partnering with local universities, businesses, local chambers of commerce, media outlets, civil-society groups and other NGOs, and local, state and federal elected officials.

Q. What is the end product of the TTIP Town Hall program?

Following the conclusion of the TTIP Town Hall program, the Bertelsmann Foundation will produce an “Impact Atlas”, a policy-oriented analytical document that will examine regional impacts, local perceptions and policy priorities in all TTIP Town Hall locations. The Atlas will include five chapters, one for each location, with TTIP-specific economic profiles and anecdotes from local industry, labor organizations, civil-society groups, NGOs and government.

Q. How is the TTIP Town Hall program funded?

The European Union places high importance on stakeholder participation in the TTIP on both sides of the Atlantic and the promotion of transparency and open debate, principles that the Bertelsmann Foundation supports. Funding for the TTIP Town Hall program is provided by a two-year grant from the European Commission under the "2014-2015 Research and Debate” grant program, which provides funding for think tanks, public-policy research centers, civil-society groups, and other NGOs for projects that encourage policy research and debate.