Transatlantic Perspectives on Global Challenges

Engaging both sides of the Atlantic with
stories, resources, and ideas.


Out Now! | Transponder Issue 6

The sixth issue of Transponder is dedicated to the seismic event that is the 2024 election year. Promising to be one of the most consequential election cycles in modern history, this issue takes you around the globe, exploring electoral topics and elections in Finland, Germany, Taiwan, India,...

New Episode | Leadership in Action | Bobi Wine

The Bertelsmann Foundation and Aspen Institute are pleased to announce the premiere of Season Three of the Leadership in Action series. In episode two, Bobi Wine, a beloved musician turned opposition political leader takes viewers inside his perilous fight for democracy in Uganda.

USA election website

The U.S. Election Hub has been created to provide clear, credible and nonpartisan information during a critical period for the United States and the transatlantic relationship. With podcasts, blogs, infographics and explanatory animations, the Bertelsmann Foundation's U.S. Election Hub is a resource...

Thematic Areas


Democratic decline in the U.S. and Europe is weakening the transatlantic relationship and undermining its influence around the world. America and its European allies need to recalibrate their values and practices at home in order to serve as beacons to aspiring democracies abroad. But disruptions to our democratic traditions keep emerging: from new technologies changing the way we communicate and work to pandemics and economic shocks. Our work analyzes how these disruptions are playing out, and it will be up to civil society, lawmakers, and the people to prepare our democracies for the future.

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Politics & Society

As crises and trade disputes escalate, accompanied by the ascendancy of populist movements and fraying international alliances, a notable geopolitical shift is underway, causing a growing divergence between the United States and its European counterparts. We closely monitor the evolving dynamics of the transatlantic relationship, analyzing how political landscapes and societal responses on both sides of the Atlantic are adapting to the complex global challenges of the 21st century. Our analysis, web-based tools, crowd-sourced forecasting and multimedia content from short explainer videos to full-length documentaries bring these challenges to the fore, conveying both the personal impact and the broader geopolitical implications of the forces shaping transatlantic politics and societies.

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Future Leadership

Leaders around the world have been forced to grapple with a series of unfamiliar threats to domestic and international stability. From the COVID-19 pandemic to right-wing populism and escalating state-sponsored and rogue cyberattacks, the need for effective leadership at this moment is critical. This can only be achieved through international exchange, idea-sharing, and learning from prior successes and failures of transatlantic leadership. Through research, polling, and our transatlantic legislative exchange program, the Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship (BFF), we seek to foster stronger transatlantic ties through a deeper mutual understanding.

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Digital World

Around the world, humanity navigates a digital revolution that’s upending life as we know it. And while the United States and Europe are the nexus of the world's data flows and digital trade for now, the rest of the world is expanding digital output exponentially. It’s now more essential than ever that the conversation about these changes be inclusive. A successful transition to a digital world requires input from all sectors of society. Through analysis, data visualization, and documentary storytelling, we bring you inside the issues shaping today's global digital economy and society.

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Politics & Society

Security over Scandal:

AfD Successes from Brussels to Brandenburg

Germany’s far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is no stranger to controversy. The party is regularly accused of xenophobic language and anti-migrant policies, and has repeatedly played down the significance of Germany’s Nazi past.

Politics & Society

The Gambler

“I’ve decided to give you once more the opportunity to decide your parliamentary future by vote, I therefore have decided to dissolve the National Assembly tonight.” In a televised address to 11 million of his citizens, French President Emmanuel Macron made the historic decision on the heels of the...

Politics & Society

France’s Litmus Test:

Macron’s Government and the European Elections

Of the 720 seats up for grabs in the upcoming European elections, 81 of those will be for French members of the European Parliament. For French voters, the stakes for this election are high, as this is the first time they are able to vote since the 2022 presidential elections.

Politics & Society

Addressing the Global Digital Skills Gap

U.S. and EU Member State Perspectives

Global labor markets face massive skill gaps and labor shortages that continue to grow with the onset of technological change and digital adoption. Given existing disconnects among skills development, workforce programs and postsecondary credentialing initiatives, the skills gaps will continue to...

Politics & Society

The Promise and the Challenge of AI in Education

Humankind has long prided itself on innovation, creativity and intellect as the singular advantages that have propelled it to its role as the dominant species on earth. The rapid ascent of artificial intelligence (AI) is now testing these longheld convictions, challenging not only the natural order...


Macron’s Millennial Minister: Winning Over the Next Generation

French President Emmanuel Macron had to shake things up. His government was unable to secure parliamentary majorities for two hot-button issues, pension reform and immigration, each a major setback. “La Macronie”, as the French have nicknamed his political brand, now finds itself at a difficult...


On the Fringe

28% of French citizens chose not to vote in the second, and final, round of the April 2022 French presidential election. This was the highest rate of abstention in over 50 years and the second highest rate in the history of the Fifth Republic.

Digital World

Where Online Meets Offline

Social Media's Double-edged Sword

Young people have grown up alongside social media platforms and many have never known a world without them. Teens and young adults are often very intentional about what they post on social media and how they present themselves on each platform. Social media allows users to carefully curate content...


Dialogue with Professor Carol Anderson

New York Times best-selling author and professor of African American studies at Emory University

On September 7, 2022, the Bertelsmann Foundation, Humanity in Action and Emory University hosted the premiere of the Foundation’s new documentary, “I, Too”, at the Carter Center in Atlanta. The film, which features New York Times best-selling author and renowned African American studies scholar...


What's a City Worth?

Cities hold riches of memory, but they are also wonders of forgetting.This paradox is key to their magic, the endless possibility they promise to those who seek it and to the democracies they push to evolve.

Digital World

Democracy Needs Tech Support

Technological development offers seemingly endless benefits and convenience. Internet connectivity was critical for personal and professional interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, more broadly, everyday emerging technology is saving lives, whether from 3D printed organs or automatic brakes...

Digital World

E-Stonia Rewired

A Nation Transformed from Cyberattack Victim to Cybersecurity Leader

In April 2007, the Estonian government approved a controversial plan to relocate a statue from the center of its capital, Tallinn. Soviet authorities had unveiled the monument, a life-sized World War II Russian soldier with a clenched right fist and a bowed head, 60 years earlier, after their forces...

Digital World

Growing Audiences and Influence: Russian Media in Latin America

Russia’s first move against Ukraine on February 24 was not the full-scale military invasion covered in the news. Several hours before its troops crossed the border, Moscow launched a round of destructive cyberattacks aimed at weakening Ukraine’s digital infrastructure. These cyberattacks were...

Digital World

The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) In Detail

During the TTC’s inaugural meeting in Pittsburgh on September 29, U.S. and EU leaders identified five issue areas that the various working groups will focus on until their next meeting in spring of 2022. To learn more about the structure of the TTC and its working groups, read The U.S.-EU Trade and...

Digital World

Our Post Pandemic Future of Work Part 2 of 2

Policy Approaches for a Contested World

To many, the future of work is a question of technology and its impact on jobs, workers, the economy, and work itself. This way of looking at it has resulted in policy solutions focusing on workers and what they can do to prepare for the inevitability of technological disruption.


Uncivil War

U.S. Elections Under Siege


Voter Suppression

How Making It Harder to Vote Undermines Democracy in the United States


Season 5, Episode 15 | Jacob Heilbrunn

In conversation with Andrew Keen, the American journalist Jacob Heilbrunn, outlines the continuous history of the close association of conservative views and the Republican Party in the early to Mid-Twentieth Century. He describes the party's support of strong anti-immigrant racial differences in...


Season 5, Episode 14 | James Kirchick

For this episode, host Andrew Keen sits down with James Kirchick journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington. They discuss the historical exclusion of gay individuals within American democracy, with a particular emphasis on the...


Episode 6 | The Near Future of Transatlantic Relations

Last episode I spoke with guests about how younger generations will shape the transatlantic relationship in years to come, this time we take a look just down the road ahead. In the European Union, Spain took over the presidency of the Council of the EU through the end of this year, and in 2024, both...


Episode 5 | Transatlantic Generational Divide

How the transatlantic relationship looks in the future depends in large part on the younger generations who will inherit it. Millennials and Gen Z already exert their political influence through voting—and in some cases as legislators or even heads of government—but for the most part the...

BFNA Docs Highlights

Bobi Wine: A Dream of Democracy

Leadership in Action (2024, 15 minutes)

The Bertelsmann Foundation and Aspen Institute are pleased share this latest collaboration in the Leadership in Action series. In this film, Bobi Wine, a beloved musician turned opposition political leader takes viewers inside his perilous fight for democracy in Uganda.


Six Stories of Resilience in Athens (2023, 28 minutes)

From laundry for the homeless, to drug recovery programs, to new employment opportunities, this documentary tracks NGOs in Athens that organized to help their neighbors survive, ultimately teaching the government a few lessons along the way.

I, Too

A Documentary Film from the Mind of Carol Anderson (2023, Coming Soon)

For Carol Anderson, the January 6th insurrection was a predictable coda to more than two centuries of American mythology. What happens, she asks, when we discover that the history we teach our children is comprised of fables, not facts?

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