Updates

Here you'll find all our work in one place, from short articles to long reports, infographics, expert interviews, animated videos, and full-length documentaries.

Politics & Society

Cleantech Entrepreneurship Education

Building a Transnational Initiative

Francesco Matteucci is an innovation manager with 20 years of experience spent as a researcher in materials science, as a Corporate R&D Manager within the field of technologies for renewable energy production and storage, and as an intermediary of knowledge trying to exploit the research results...

Politics & Society

System Updates

Resetting the Future of Work

System Updates is a reflection of the conversations and debates that spanned the Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship (BFF) in 2023. Our eleven fellows and two guest authors lay out how the EU and the U.S. can build a future of work that works for all.

Politics & Society

Transponder Issue 5

The fifth issue of Transponder features a range of compelling articles that illuminate the many facets of citizenship and electoral politics leading up to a momentous year of major parliamentary and presidential elections.

Future Leadership

Class of 2024

Learning Innovative Approaches to Defending our Democracies

The BFF Class of 2024 is focusing on defending democracy.

Digital World

Hotspots

The Internet and Collective Action in Authoritarian Settings

Over the last decade, a degree of cynicism has set in regarding how society views the internet’s impact on democracy. What is the impact of digital tools on non-democracies when a majority of the global population lives in far less than “full democracy.” Does the internet offer repressed citizens an...

Politics & Society

Europe once stretched into Algeria

The French Empire’s bid for a European Algeria—and the French Republic’s crusade against an Algerian France

“We had French nationality, but not French citizenship. We were part of Europe, but we were not European. We were immigrants, but not foreigners.” Sitting in a Parisian café, my great-uncle reminisces about when he and his brother answered France’s call for cheap manual labor in the 1950s.

Politics & Society

Shifting Identities: From Victims to Changemakers

An interview with José Luis Loera

José Luis Loera is the co-founder of Programa Casa Refugiados, a UNHCR-backed non-profit organization in Mexico that works to promote the rights of people displaced by violence. He is the head of the organization’s board of directors and leads the “Education for Peace” team, supporting the long-term...

Politics & Society

(N)ostalgia

On October 3, 1990, the carefully negotiated Unification Treaty took effect, and over four decades of divided Germany came to a legal end. Reunification also meant the dissolution of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a socialist workers’ state born out of the Soviet Union’s occupied zone...

Democracy

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.

Politics & Society

The Changing Spirit of the Fifth Republic

In March, French President Emmanuel Macron invoked Article 49.3 of his country’s constitution to push through an increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64 over the next seven years. The provision allows the government to bypass a parliamentary vote and force a bill into law, and it is deeply...

Politics & Society

Turning the Key to Maltese Identity

The blue waters surrounding the Maltese archipelago run as deep as the nation’s multicultural roots. Located approximately 60 miles from the southern coast of Sicily and 186 miles from the northern coast of Libya, Malta is commonly referred to as the stepping stone between the European and African...

Politics & Society

The Past, Present, and Future of Transatlanticism

Five transatlanticists tell us what drives their commitment to their work

Friendship and strong relations between the United States and Europe have been a foreign policy mainstay on both sides of the Atlantic for the better part of the last 70 years.

Politics & Society

Home Game

Our Identities as Sports Fans

Last October, my father, oldest brother, and youngest brother came to visit me in Washington, DC. This was not normal. In fact, it was the first time they had come to visit all at once, and it would mark the only time we would all be together in 2022.

Politics & Society

Jalil's Journey

For over four decades, Afghanistan has been fraught with conflict. The country, known for the bustling capital city of Kabul — the “Paris of Central Asia” — and the ruggedly beautiful natural landscape, was once a destination for artists, adventurers, and tourists. But the nation was plunged into...

Politics & Society

There and Back Again

My junior year of college, I arrived in London on the way to Cambridge — where I would spend the next six months as a visiting student immersed in poetry — on an early January day of classically, delightfully awful weather. My umbrella broke almost immediately, and I was soaked through by the time I...

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...

Digital World

Hidden Layers | Section 230, Chat GPT & the TikTok Hearing

Welcome back to another edition of Hidden Layers. In this issue, we discuss two cases heard by the Supreme Court at the end of February that may decide the future of Section 230. We also look at a bill from Congress that could ban Chinese apps such as TikTok from the U.S. market. Finally, we cover...

Democracy

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...

Democracy

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.

Politics & Society

Local Environmental Activists in Bor, Serbia

A photo essay

Over the last year, Sam George has been working on a film investigating the impact of Chinese investment in the Balkans. Such investments help China secure access to commodities, and they fill the coffers of the Balkan governments. But the projects can put significant stress on locals, who often...

Politics & Society

Emerging Ties

Essays on Transatlantic Engagement in the Developing World

Emerging Ties is a reflection of the conversations and debates that spanned the Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship (BFF) in 2022. Our nine fellows and guest author lay out the ways in which the EU and the U.S. can further engage with developing countries and encourage positive global change.

Politics & Society

This Is (Not) Our War

For Belarusians, the regime of President Aleksandr Lukashenko leaves few options but to flee the country if they want to stand with Ukraine.

Like many others running from war or severe repression, I no longer have a home. But there is a vast difference between me, who had a choice, and those who woke up to bombs. What unites us is a great fear of, a long struggle with, and an intense hatred for those who have dared to claim our freedom...

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...

Politics & Society

Interview with John Blackburn

Former Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (Retired)

Blackburn spoke with the Bertelsmann Foundation in August 2022 about the need to foster resilient societies in a time of geopolitical and environmental upheaval, and about possibilities for the transatlantic partnership to work with Australia on a green energy transition. He highlighted in the...

Democracy

What's Past is Prologue

Teaching History to Strengthen Democracy

In the heart of Wilmington, North Carolina, sits a neo-classical building with imposing columns and a whitewashed façade. Thalian Hall doubles these days as a performing arts center and city hall. But the building is the November 1898 site of the only successful coup d’etat in American history.

Politics & Society

The Resilience of Truth

Despite the vast amount of broadcast and online Russian disinformation, Western audiences have been transfixed by the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine has been waging its own information war, and it is winning in that arena.

Politics & Society

Diary of War

This is a story—based on the diary entries of and interviews with those who have survived the war in different parts of Ukraine—chronicling the swift and brutal destruction of people’s lives and the country they call home. It is an ongoing story of bombs and silence, fire and snow, family and loss....

Politics & Society

Transatlantic Trends 2022

Public Opinion in Times of Geopolitical Turmoil

The geopolitical turmoil of 2022 presents a multitude of challenges for the transatlantic community. From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s geostrategic ambitions to the worsening climate crisis and democratic backsliding, greater transatlantic cooperation is of paramount importance. In the...

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...

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | April 2022

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Legislative News

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we’ll provide an overview of the impact of Russian illicit financial networks in the West, a brief snapshot of what’s been happening on the Hill, Europe’s approach to energy security as well as a fun fact on the history of the internet in France.

Democracy

Autocratization and the decline of international cooperation

The last decade has not been favorable to democracy worldwide. The rise of right-wing populists and the hardening of autocratic rule have left clear imprints. The Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index (BTI) traces this development for 137 developing countries and emerging economies, or...

Democracy

Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power

Disrupting Democracy Volume IV

In this fourth and final installment of our Disrupting Democracy series, "Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power," we will look at how three authoritarian regimes undermine the prospects for democracy and stability in their respective regions. Drawing from the more than 15 years of data from...

Democracy

Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power

Disrupting Democracy Volume IV

In this fourth and final installment of our Disrupting Democracy series, Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power, we will look at how three authoritarian regimes undermine the prospects for democracy and stability in their respective regions. Drawing from the more than 15 years of data from...

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

Hidden Layers | Facebook Whistleblower Hearings & Pittsburgh Outcomes

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Technology News | Issue 1

In this inaugural edition, we discuss some of the main tech policy discussions that occurred at the end of 2021 and early 2022, including the U.S. and EU’s approach to regulating Big Tech and Facebook whistleblower hearings, the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, privacy legislation, and a debate...

Politics & Society

Cross-Cutting Currents

Transatlantic Primer 2022

The U.S. and Europe have an opportunity to engage closely on a broad range of challenges in 2022. To that end, the Bertelsmann Foundation has produced Cross-Cutting Currents, a transatlantic primer, as a foundational and introductory resource for those who seek a better understanding of the...

Politics & Society

Transponder Issue 1

The first issue provides insight into a past and present that bodes well for the future, while exploring the question, “What is rocking the transatlantic relationship today?” Topics include Angela Merkel’s legacy, climate security and action, transatlantic trends, diplomacy, democracy, and how film...

Politics & Society

A Transatlantic To-Do List

Assessing Year One of the Biden Administration

In our latest B|Brief, Sara Leming examines the transatlantic relationship one year after the European Commission released, “A new EU-U.S. agenda for global change”, which provided a “to-do” list for the Biden administration to follow for a reinvigorated EU-US relationship.

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism, November 2021

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Legislative News

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we’ll give you a quick run down of the Trade and Technology Council, a brief snapshot of what’s been happening on the Hill, Europe’s approach to preserving media freedom as well as the history of climate activism in the transatlantic relationship.

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | November 2021

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Legislative News

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we’ll give you a quick run down of the Trade and Technology Council, a brief snapshot of what’s been happening on the Hill, Europe’s approach to preserving media freedom as well as the history of climate activism in the transatlantic relationship.

Politics & Society

Green Ideas

Incentivizing Innovation: Sustainable Solutions

Wildfires. Blistering temperatures. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Melting Ice Caps. The natural disasters that will be exacerbated by climate change are numerous. The statistics coming out of every report about what has been dubbed the anthropogenic era describe a very dark future—one that might cause...

Politics & Society

Coalitions of Convenience

The US, France, and the Politics of Winning

In November 1988 at a campaign rally, President Ronald Reagan famously claimed: “I’m a former Democrat, and I have to say: I didn’t leave my party; my party left me.” The 2020 presidential election flipped the slogan, with many Republicans, disillusioned by their party under Trump’s leadership,...

Politics & Society

Italy’s Modern-Day Renaissance

From the Euro Cup to the G20

Italy is on a winning streak this year. The country’s national soccer team won the European championship. Måneskin, Italy’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, took home the top prize and has since dominated global charts. And Italian Matteo Berrettini… well, he almost won the gentlemen’s singles...

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | August 2021

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Legislative News

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we explain the diverging transatlantic approach to China. In D.C., we explore infrastructure and making the bipartisan bill a potential soon-to-be reality. In Strasbourg, the ways in which AI have been regulated are highlighted. And finally, is the French...

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | August 2021

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Legislative News

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we explain the diverging transatlantic approach to China. In D.C., we explore infrastructure and making the bipartisan bill a potential soon-to-be reality. In Strasbourg, the ways in which AI have been regulated are highlighted. And finally, is the French...

Democracy

When States Go Rogue

How the US and EU Can Strengthen Democracy at Home to Bolster its Prospects Abroad

Political unions, like healthy marriages, require a fair bit of give and take. Interests, priorities, and values may diverge, but mutual understanding about lines never to be crossed is a must. In the United States and the European Union, some family members have lost sight of this basic principle...

Politics & Society

Transatlantic Trends 2020

Transatlantic opinion on global challenges before and after COVID-19

2020 has been marked by an unprecedented series of political, economic, and societal shocks that have tested the resilience of the transatlantic relationship.From the Covid-19 pandemic and its global implications, to regional issues such as the risk of military escalation with Iran, to purely...

Politics & Society

Transatlantic Trends 2021

Transatlantic opinion on global challenges

2021 opens a new chapter for the transatlantic relationship. The change of the U.S. administration as well as the political, economic, and societal implications of the coronavirus pandemic have redefined transatlantic policy dialogues. New priorities have emerged, as the calls for increased...

Politics & Society

Trouble Brewing in Saxony-Anhalt’s Elections

How Nostalgia is Challenging Germany’s Political Future

The eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany is often overlooked. In a 2018 poll, Deutsche Welle users voted it the German state that they would least like to visit, ranking just below Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Saarland.

Democracy

Out to Vote

A Movement to Restore Voting Rights in Maryland

When has an individual convicted of a felony fully repaid their debt to society? When should they be welcomed back into the fabric of civic life as a contributing and engaged citizen? In the United States, the answer has often been long after being released from prison or, in some cases, never.

Politics & Society

The Transition Compendium

European Perspectives on a New Transatlantic Agenda

From the election of Joe Biden as the 46th American president to his 100th day in office, we provided monthly briefings offering the new administration European perspectives on the issues that will define a new transatlantic agenda in a period of significant volatility in the US, Europe, and beyond.

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.

Digital World

Our Post-Pandemic Future of Work Part 1 of 2

Making Sense of the Debate

More than a year has elapsed since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The news presaged a public health crisis that generated massive unemployment and upended the world of work as we know it. As the pandemic metastasized, it forced workers, employers, and policymakers into...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | March 2021

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

After a bumpy four years in transatlantic relations, EU allies have warmly embraced the Biden administration. In addition to working with the White House to reaffirm the importance of the transatlantic alliance in global affairs, the EU is looking inward as it works to rebuild the economy...

Politics & Society

The 535 | March 2021

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

Trump’s failure to accept the election results and his refusal to concede led to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Since then, more than 400 Americans have been arrested on charges ranging from breaking and entering to conspiracy. A large, protective fence now encircles the...

Politics & Society

From Sea Shanties to Sustainable Commerce

Using Trade as a Force for Good

A sea shanty revived from the 1800s has gone viral this year, garnering millions of views worldwide and catapulting a young Scot to international stardom. The Wellerman tells a tale of men on a long and treacherous sea journey. The story follows a whaling vessel that has speared — but not killed — a...

Politics & Society

The Steady Decline of Alternative for Germany

Incitement, Infighting, and Inquiries

Nearly a year ago, the far-right, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged victorious from an unprecedented political scandal in Thuringia. The party’s nationwide approval rating hovered around 14 percent, higher than the 12.6 percent it garnered in the most recent federal election more than...

Politics & Society

Federalism in Crisis

U.S. and German Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the United States and Germany, two countries with federal systems of government, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have varied considerably. While conflict and dysfunction have embodied the U.S. response, cooperative and unified strategies have underpinned Germany’s approach. Federalism in...

Politics & Society

Stars Align for German Foreign Policy

Merkel Takes Action on the EU-China Investment Deal and Bosnia’s High Representative

Just around the time Jupiter and Saturn converged in the night sky in mid-December 2020, it seems the stars also aligned in Berlin’s halls of power. With the end of Germany’s six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union and the sun setting on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign,...

Digital World

Transatlantic Digital Trade

Is the Data Flows Conundrum Fixable?

With the European Court of Justice’s ruling striking down the transatlantic Privacy Shield program, U.S. and EU companies, government agencies and people who need to do business with virtually anyone across the Atlantic were sent into legal limbo.

Digital World

10 Questions That Will Determine the Future of Work

In the span of a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rethink not only of how workers work, but of long-term policies that respond to disruptions being unleashed by technology and automation.

Politics & Society

The 535 | December 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

With the highest voter participation rate since 1900 and the most votes ever cast in a U.S. election, incumbent President Donald Trump lost the November 3rd election to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Digital World

Two Sides of the Same Coin

The Overdevelopment of American Magnet Cities, the Decay of the American Town, and How the Digital Economy Can Help

The White House in Washington, DC and City Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, are just 40 miles apart. Barring much traffic, a trip between the two takes but an hour. Though Baltimore is older, the two cities share similarities. Neither features many skyscrapers, for example. Instead, their streets have...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | December 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

As The New York Times puts it, “Donald Trump’s presidency was marked by exceptional contempt for European allies and the NATO alliance.” After a bumpy four years in transatlantic relations, the EU certainly has many tough problems ahead, from fine tuning its goals of strategic autonomy to the...

Politics & Society

Nord Stream 2

The German-American Honeymoon May End Soon, Then the Real Work Begins

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris serves as a breath of fresh air for transatlanticists on both sides of the ocean. But of all the European countries heaving a sigh of relief, Germany’s exhalation may be the loudest. Berlin has been, after all, the proverbial punching bag for the Trump...

Digital World

Toward Deeper Cooperation on EU-US Digital Trade

Over time and in conjunction with technological developments, the nature of international trade has evolved. Trade is no longer just about the exchange of goods or the provision of simple services. It increasingly involves actions related to various dimensions of the digital economy.

Digital World

President Biden's Future of Work Plans

The future of work was on a lot minds during the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Candidates proposed retraining truckers, instituting modified forms of universal basic income and reconstituting jobs in post-industrial cities decimated by automation.

Digital World

An Alternative Take on Trade

Adding to the Menu of Agriculture Trade Options

In hundreds of thousands of years, evidence of civilization will not be decaying skyscraper spires, nor meticulously painted canvasses at archeological dig sites. Instead, humans’ imprint on fossil layers will be the trillions of chicken bones left from conventional agriculture. Rather than cultural...

Politics & Society

The 535 | October 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

With the unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent, Americans are bracing for a winter filled with economic and election uncertainty. While September and the beginning of October promised to be action-filled, few could anticipate the deluge of news that unfolded in mere weeks.

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | October 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

It seemed like Washington spent the summer looking longingly toward Europe: freedom of movement abounded, and holidays proceeded, albeit it under unique circumstances. Now, however, the European Union is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic, eliciting fresh questions about the efficacy of the...

Politics & Society

Clean Network’s Summer Tour

EU in the Middle of U.S-China Rivalry Over 5G

Dueling diplomatic trips in Europe this summer by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi sought to sway the European Union’s stance on the China-U.S. rivalry. Among other goals, Pompeo would like to convince more countries to pledge not to use parts made...

Digital World

Learn to Code

The Challenges of Creating Mass Employment in Our Digital World

In January 2019 internet trolls took to Twitter to taunt recently fired journalists with some advice: “Learn to Code!” It was a shot at American “elites” who were deemed dismissive of blue-collar workers whose jobs are disappearing. The trolls caustically suggested a more promising future could be...

Democracy

Graphic Images

Disrupting Democracy Vol. III

For this third edition of the series, we decided to turn everything you’ve come to expect from Disrupting Democracy on its head. Through the use of carefully constructed algorithms by our partners at the Institute for Competitiveness, we have collected more than 10,000 data points that are the...

Politics & Society

The Transatlantic Relationship’s High Noon

The end of the film High Noon, a 1952 Western that rendered Gary Cooper's image synonymous with that of the lonesome, gun-slinging frontiersman, was equal parts controversial and iconic. Playing Sheriff Will Kane, Cooper’s town selfishly leaves him alone to face a band of outlaws. After he...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | August 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

In late July, following tense negotiations that echoed divisions of the financial crisis, the European Union at last agreed to a massive bailout of $857 billion. When countries and their economies were forced to shut down during the pandemic, countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and...

Politics & Society

The 535 | August 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

In what has been one of the tensest periods in modern history for the American public and lawmakers alike, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed stark political divisions among the country’s two main parties. Congress and the Trump Administration were able to agree on the initial bailout package, the...

Politics & Society

The Geopolitics of TikTok

Once the domain of teenage dancers, pranksters, and aspiring influencers, TikTok has become a lightning rod in disputes among global powers. The Chinese video app is in the crosshairs of policymakers whose options to move against Beijing are limited.

Digital World

American Workers Need More Than Just Another Stimulus

Today, July 9th, American workers awoke to improving jobs news, with unemployment rising less than expected to 1.4 million new claims. In June, payrolls rose by 4.8 million and unemployment fell to 11.1 percent. Still, lashed by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn, 45 million Americans...

Democracy

Cyber Democracy

Regulating the 21st Century Internet

As the debate regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act highlights, tech platforms, left to their own devices, are in many ways helping to codify what is increasingly an internet bifurcated by political and philosophical beliefs: you’re either in the “Dorsey” or “Zuckerberg” camp.

Politics & Society

COVID-19 and Germany’s Political Transformation

In February, a political earthquake in the small eastern state of Thuringia sent shockwaves across Germany.[1] After the state-level Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) broke political taboo by collaborating with the populist far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD),...

Digital World

How Can Automation Accelerate Economic Recovery from Coronavirus?

As COVID-19 courses through the United States, technology and automation are often touted as primarily positive forces that unlock home grocery delivery and the flexibility to work from home. But for many low-wage workers, COVID-19 has catalyzed a pernicious chain reaction that will impact their...

Politics & Society

EU Enlargement Talks Stalled by COVID-19

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron shocked his European Union counterparts by vetoing the start of EU accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania. It was a bitter pill to swallow; both countries have been waiting for over a decade since applying for EU membership to proceed to...

Politics & Society

Grassroots Tech Offers Hope in the Age of Coronavirus

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, more than 500 million people worldwide were infected with the virus and around 675,000 people died in the United States. More than a century later, we are in the middle of another pandemic that has already infected 4.2 million people worldwide, killed over 80,000...

Democracy

When the Levee Breaks

Can Institutions Save Liberal Democracy?

With liberal democracy already mired in a slump, democratic institutions face a massive challenge in mustering a response to the novel coronavirus of 2020. How these institutions perform in the coming months will have long term ramifications for democracy in the 21st century. Is the West’s...

Democracy

Remote Control

Legislating in an Empty Chamber

The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the habits of ordinary citizens the world over. We don masks and gloves in supermarkets, and follow one-way arrows up and down the aisles in search of that elusive box of pasta. We interact with pixelated versions of our families, friends and colleagues on...

Digital World

COVID-19’s Future of Work Wrecking Ball

As COVID-19 cuts its path across the world, attention is shifting away from the immediate need to contain a public health crisis and toward the crisis’s long-term impact on jobs, workers, and the “future of work.” What was once a long-term, wonk-dominated discussion centered on upskilling and...

Digital World

The US-German Economic Relationship

Trends in bilateral trade and investment

According to the realist school of thought, the world is a brutal, dangerous arena. It is anarchical. No government of governments enforces rules. The motives of other countries are unpredictable, and the threats they pose are potentially existential. In such an environment, one country cannot...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | April 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

The European Union started 2020 out with a bang. It announced grandiose promises of digital sovereignty, ambitious climate change mitigation plans, and a futuristic optimism about the direction of the continent. The outbreak of COVID-19 has suddenly shifted legislative agendas and forced countries...

Politics & Society

The 535 | April 2020

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

In what likely would have been a period of legislative stalemates and election year politicking, the COVID-19 pandemic has instead forced those in the capital to cross party lines and work together. Despite an increase in bipartisanship, the pandemic has brought to light numerous systemic problems...

Politics & Society

Privacy and Pandemics

In bucolic China, a child has braved cold temperatures for some fresh outdoors air. Overhead, a drone hovers. Its loudspeaker, a haunting combination of human direction in the machine age, chides him for being outdoors. “Hey kid! We’re in unusual times… The coronavirus is very serious… run!!” it...

Democracy

Third Parties Won’t Win the White House

But They Could Decide the Election

Given the polarized state of American politics, it can be easy to assume that Americans have a binary decision to make this November. They do not.

Democracy

Common Enemies

Coalition Building in America’s Major Political Parties

In countries with parliamentary systems, like Germany, consensus is built after the election. Parties work together to form coalition governments and craft platforms that represent their values. In the United States, the elections themselves are consensus building exercises, as the parties undergo a...

Politics & Society

Battle Won, War Lost?

The Downward Trend of Germany’s Social Democrats

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) triumphed in the recent Hamburg state election, held last Sunday, February 23. However, this victory is no reason to celebrate for Social Democrats across Germany. While the party has won a battle, it is losing the war – and pretty severely.

Politics & Society

Trade War 2020

What Iowa Tells us About Trump’s Chances in the Presidential Election

The United States’ ongoing trade war could be President Donald Trump’s biggest liability in the 2020 elections. Many of those bearing the brunt of the conflict are Trump supporters, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, which could impact his chance of reelection later this...

Politics & Society

E3 in the Middle

Europe’s Awkward Position between the U.S. and Iran

Though it may be hard to remember how close we felt to the brink of war earlier this month in the wake of the American-ordered assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, tensions between the United States and Iran are far from resolved. Conflict could flare back up at any moment, making an...

Politics & Society

The 535 | December 2019

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

The world of Trump trade policy has been turbulent and unrelenting. After an anxious summer in trade affairs, Europeans are able to breathe easier now that the Trump Administration missed its own deadline to impose auto tariffs.

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | December 2019

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

The first woman elected to lead the European Commission took office on December 2, a month after the European Parliament settled in and a month after the presidency was intended to begin.

Politics & Society

Powerfrauen?

How Germany’s Political Parties are Approaching the Question of Female Representation

This weekend, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans were named the new leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) after a runoff election against Klara Geywitz and Olaf Scholz. The candidates partnered up in male-female duos as part of the center-left party’s efforts to address...

Politics & Society

Edge of a Precipice

Understanding French President Macron’s EU Vision

In an interview with The Economist released November 7, French President Macron laid out a grand strategic vision for the EU. He called for the creation of an EU military, stronger technological sovereignty, and reforms to deepen the political unity of the EU instead of just growing the single...

Politics & Society

Trick or Treat

The Rule of Law Comes Knocking

In a week dominated by ghouls, goblins, and the forces of darkness, there is some reason for optimism on the streets of Washington and London. For the better part of three years, President Trump has sidelined norms and legal precedent to further his stated objective to “make America great again.”...

Politics & Society

Shared Values No More?

Climate Change and the Transatlantic Relationship

Pundits have wrung their hands about the deterioration of the transatlantic alliance, as U.S. President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum and attacked the Federal Republic for its limited defense spending. However, the alliance may be careening toward another – and likely much...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | August 2019

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

Heading into the European Parliament elections in May, many pundits and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic cautioned that Europe would soon bear witness to a new era of Euroskeptics elected into the European government. However, the elections’ results brought far less change than many had...

Politics & Society

The 535 | August 2019

Quarterly Newsletter on the U.S. Congress

Summer in the “swamp” has been anything but quiet. From increased calls for President Trump’s impeachment to drama within the Democratic ranks and the ongoing border crisis, Congress heads into its August recess with many unanswered questions and a mounting workload for the fall. Here are some key...

Digital World

Britain’s AI Power Play

In the 1980s British sitcom Yes Minister, civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby remarks that diplomacy is about surviving until the next century, whereas politics is about surviving until Friday afternoon. Sir Appleby’s wry observation rings especially true today, with U.K. watchers caught up in the...

Democracy

Six Steps

Recommendations for Building Resilient Democracy in the 21st Century

In April 2019, the Bertelsmann Foundation convened two dozen international leaders from the fields of business, politics, nonprofits, and the arts for the Washington Symposium, which asked how to make democracy resilient enough to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Politics & Society

A Transatlantic Perspective on China’s Belt Road Initiative

At the end of World War II, the U.S. Embassy in Prague requested that General Eisenhower permit U.S. troops to proceed fifty miles further east to liberate Prague. Caving to congressional constituent requests that their boys come home for Christmas, Eisenhower deferred, and Czechoslovakia welcomed...

Democracy

Washington Symposium

Liberal democracy as we’ve come to understand it over the last century is vulnerable from every angle. Democratically-elected leaders with autocratic leanings are using the very tools of democracy – elections, constitutions, political parties, the media – to undermine the system.

Democracy

Liquid Democracy

Transforming Democracy for the Digital Age

In the recent European Parliament election, the influence of populism was once again evident. It remains a worrying force, just as it has been in a slew of other elections in the last several years, and is a major threat to the functioning of liberal democracies around the world. While many in the...

Politics & Society

Brussels & Berlin | May 2019

Quarterly Newsletter on the European Parliament and German Bundestag

The European Parliament plays an important role in translating the interests and will of the bloc’s 500 million citizens into real policy. It is one of three institutions involved in creating EU legislation and the only one whose members are elected through direct universal suffrage. The European...

Politics & Society

Red Notice in Rip City

For NBA player and Turkish national Enes Kanter, life used to be simpler. There was a predictable routine: pass, dribble, shoot, defend, repeat. But as the lines between entertainment and politics continue to blur, there are occasions in which the two collide, drawing attention to issues that would...

Democracy

The Populist Uprising and its Victims

There is a famous passage in The Economic Consequences of the Peace1 where Keynes, writing a year after the end of World War I, paints a vivid picture of a globalized world at the pinnacle of the gold standard. He nostalgically reminisces of the time when his countrymen, through the convenience of...

Democracy

Disrupting Democracy Vol. II

Election Series

In 2018, for our second instalment of the Disrupting Democracy project we turned our attention to elections. From the rise of Five Star and Lega in Italy to U.S. Democrats’ success winning the U.S. House of Representatives, and from to Morena and Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s victory in Mexico to a...

Democracy

Disrupting Democracy Vol. I

Point. Click. Transform

Beginning January 2017, the Bertelsmann Foundation embarked on a journey to explore how digital innovation impacts democracies and societies around the world in a series called "Disrupting Democracy." In volume one, we focused on key challenges that have emerged as a result of technological...

Future Leadership

Class of 2023

Learning from our Transatlantic Partners on the Future of Work

The BFF Class of 2023 focused on the future of work.

Future Leadership

Call for Applications 2024

The 2024 Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship will convene individuals from European Institutions, German Institutions, U.S. Institutions, and select participants from the private sector for a hybrid format spanning four months centered around defending democracy. Fellows will explore how the...

Politics & Society

Transponder Issue 4

The fourth issue of Transponder features a collection of written and visual works that explore the diversity and breadth of identity on both sides of the Atlantic, revealing themes of citizenship, belonging, personhood, heritage, and online persona.

Digital World

Hidden Layers | TTC Edition June 2023

A fourth meeting in Sweden brings wide-ranging progress

U.S. and EU officials gathered May 30-31 for the fourth ministerial meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Luleå, Sweden. The meeting focused on transatlantic cooperation on emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and 6G, export controls and investment...

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | March 2023

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we’ll provide the latest update on President Zelenskyy’s speeches around Europe and the U.S., a brief snapshot of the 118th Congress, and Europe’s response to the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, before finishing with a quick fact on the NORAD.

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | November 2022

In this edition of The Policy Prism, we’ll provide the latest update on the debate around the future of nuclear energy in Poland, a brief snapshot of midterm election results, and Europe’s criticism to the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, before finishing with a quick fact on the...

Politics & Society

Transponder Issue 3

The topic of the Third Issue of the Transponder Magazine is Resilience, featuring a collection of written and visual works that explore how members of the transatlantic community can remain resilient in the face of new and old challenges.

Politics & Society

Transponder Issue 2

In this second issue of the Transponder, we explore how transatlantic cities confront global challenges and bolster the transatlantic relationship. As more than half of the world’s population currently resides in metropolitan areas, we see that cities are becoming the epicenter for political,...

Politics & Society

The Policy Prism | August 2022

In this issue, Section I on the war in Ukraine and its impact on global food security is meant for all readers. Those in Europe may wish to continue to Section II, which provides the latest from Capitol Hill as U.S. voters gear up for autumn’s midterm elections. American readers may want to skip to...

Digital World

Hidden Layers | US-EU Meeting in Paris & Congress' New Digital Platform Commission

Your Quarterly Transatlantic Technology News | Issue 2

In this issue, we discuss tech legislation making headlines in the first half of 2022, including the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), Digital Services Act (DSA), Digital Governance Act (DGA), and the U.S. Congress’ proposed Digital Platform Commission Act. We also cover the latest on the U.S.-EU...

Politics & Society

Past the End of History

Transatlantic Cooperation in Security and Diplomacy

Democracy

Uncivil War

U.S. Elections Under Siege

Democracy

Voter Suppression

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

Politics & Society

Cowboys in Krakow

A Short History of the Transatlantic Relationship

Democracy

Germany’s Basic Law

An Introduction to the German Government's Founding Document

Politics & Society

Whatever it Takes

Germany and the US Tackle Economies on Lockdown

Politics & Society

Migration | Aachen

Views of Migration in the German City Aachen

Democracy

Harmony

Latvian Democracy at Russia’s Doorstep

Democracy

Season 5, Episode 10 | Carol Anderson

In this episode, host Andrew Keen speaks with Dr. Carol Anderson, Professor of History at Emory University. They discuss America in the post-World War II years when America emerged as the world's leading democratic country. That claim was belied by the reality of a flawed and unfulfilled democracy...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 9 | Kevin Baker

In this episode, host Andrew Keen discusses with writer and editor, Kevin Baker, the multifaceted changes and growth of American democracy. Significant cultural innovations, technological advancements, and societal shifts occurred between the two World Wars. Baker emphasizes America's transformation...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 8 | Jill Watts

In this How to Fix Democracy episode, host Andrew Keen talks to Jill Watts, author of The Black Cabinet, about the untold story of African Americans and politics during the age of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That history, from the end of World War I deep into the years of the New Deal, reveals high...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 7 | Allida Black

Allida Black speaks with host Andrew Keen about the history of women in politics and the impact of their noteworthy political and social activism, which dates back a time well before the Women's Right to Vote. Dr. Allida Black is a historian, author, and editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. You...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 6 | Richard Norton Smith

In this episode of How to Fix Democracy, host Andrew Keen engages in a conversation with the author and historian Richard Norton Smith, delving into a discussion about the Hoover presidency and its profound relevance for the United States during a time of upheaval and economic depression. Author...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 5 | Paul Sparrow

Paul Sparrow, former Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, speaks with Andrew Keen about the immense challenges and legacies of FDR and his administration. Sparrow maintains that Roosevelt saved American democracy from an existential crisis caused by the Great...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 4 | Derek Leebaert

In this episode of How to Fix Democracy, author and historian Derek Leebaert provides a revisionist account of President Franklin Roosevelt and four members of his Cabinet. According to Leebaert, the 1920s were beset by economic distress and labor unrest that culminated in the Great Depression....

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 3 | Robert Kagan

In this 3rd episode of the season, host Andrew Keen talks to Robert Kagan, the distinguished Brookings Institute scholar of foreign policy, about America’s dramatically changing place in the world during the Twenties and Thirties. According to Kagan, at the end of World War I Europe expected...

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 2 | Edward Larson

In 1924, John Scopes, an instructor in a public school in Dayton, Tennessee, was indicted for violating the Tennessee Butler Act for teaching evolution in a publicly funded school. Strong personalities and strong beliefs clashed in the courthouse as they engrossed and even inflamed the country....

Podcasts

Season 5, Episode 1 | Adam Hochschild

American Democracy in the Aftermath of World War I | In the first episode of Season 5, How to Fix Democracy host Andrew Keen sits down with Adam Hochschild, historian, journalist, and award-winning author of “American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis."...

Podcasts

Season 4 Special Episode | Moisés Naím

How Authoritarian Leaders Wield & Maintain Power | On October 20, 2022, Moisés Naím joined host Andrew Keen for a live episode of How to Fix Democracy in the Bertelsmann Foundation office in Washington, DC to discuss how authoritarian leaders wield and maintain power in contemporary politics. Author...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 11 | Larry Diamond

The state of American democracy in the shadow of January 6th | Nearly two years on, the January 6th insurrection is still lingering over Washington, DC like a dark cloud. The events leading up to the Capitol insurrection, as well as the attack itself, have signaled a major threat to American...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 10 | Michael Thorning

Is Bipartisanship Possible in the United States? | The 2020 Presidential Election clarified the need for a unified, authoritative understanding of elections and election systems in the United States. In recent weeks, Democratic legislators have been working to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act to...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 9 | Dana Milbank

The Transformation of the Republican Party | Throughout the last thirty years, the Republican Party in the United States has undergone a great change. How did the party come to adopt such a polarized platform in which white supremacy, conspiracy theories, and authoritarianism are no longer off...

Podcasts

Season 4, Midterm Elections Special | Rebekah Caruthers

Midterm Elections Special | Many Americans are preparing to head to the polls on November 8, 2022 for the US Midterm Elections. Following the elections of 2020, many are worried about the rise of election denial and the growing distrust of electoral systems. Rebekah Caruthers, the Vice President of...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 8 | Darrell M. West

American Ideologies and Trumpism | “Trumpism'' has emerged as a powerful force in American political ideology since the 2016 election. It is characterized by a philosophy that leans heavily on populism, ultra-nationalism, and religious fundamentalism – all part of the platform that bolstered Former...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 7 | Dahlia Lithwick

The legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court | The popularity of the U.S. Supreme Court has been in sharp decline throughout the last two years. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, many Americans, feeling unheard and unseen by the court’s decision, have been asking the question, “Why...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 6 | Katherine Stewart

Religion and American Conservatism | The American far-right has, in many ways, become inseparable from religious conservatism and fervor. Religious movements and organizations provide the foundation, funding, and voting base of the extreme right in American politics, explains our latest guest....

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 5 | Cynthia Miller-Idriss

The Health of American Democracy | The erosion of democratic values in the United States has led many to refer to American democracy as “sick” and in need of healing. Extremism, disinformation, and civic illiteracy have fueled radical beliefs and led to grave polarization within American society....

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 4 | Andrea Young

Andrea Young, the executive director of the ACLU in Georgia, is a lifelong advocate of voting and civil rights in the United States. Having participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches with her parents at nine years old, she has dedicated her life to ensuring the protection of civil liberties for...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 3 | Mónica Guzmán

Bridging the Partisan Divide | What does it mean to engage with someone on the other side of the political aisle? Mónica Guzmán has made it her mission to answer this question and facilitate thoughtful, constructive dialogue between the political left and right in the United States. In her latest...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 2 | Peter Wehner and Jonathan Rauch

In the latest episode of How to Fix Democracy, Peter Wehner and Jon Rauch join host Andrew Keen to discuss the history and implications of the stark transformation undergone by the Republican Party during and after Donald Trump’s presidency. As conservative researchers, they have a unique position...

Podcasts

Season 4, Episode 1 | Cheryl Welch and Arthur Goldhammer

Host Andrew Keen kicks off Season 4 with a discussion of Tocqueville's famous observational text, "Democracy in America." Our fourth season of the podcast will focus on just that: democracy in the United States. Harvard University professors Cheryl Welch and Arthur Goldhammer are world-renowned...

Podcasts

The Great Tech Policy Debate: Should Innovation be Regulated? - 3

In this third episode of Wisdom of the Crowd we take a look at technology. Specifically, we’ll hone in on the relationship between the U.S. and EU in the world of tech and trade policy. We’ll discuss how transatlantic partners are working together to tackle the biggest challenges in this field,...

Podcasts

Are democracies a dying breed? - 2

In this second episode of *Wisdom of the Crowd* we take a look at the state of global democracy. More specifically, we discuss why some democratic societies are on the decline, and whether democracies are equipped to face the challenges that arise in this particularly volatile period. Our guests...

Podcasts

Intro to crowdsourced forecasting - 1

Welcome to *Wisdom of the Crowd*, a podcast miniseries that explores the future of transatlantic relations. From democracy and geopolitics to climate change and technology, we take a closer look at the most pressing issues impacting the transatlantic alliance by interviewing top experts and using a...

Podcasts

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...

Podcasts

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...

Podcasts

Episode 4 | Change Beyond Climate

Earlier this year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius was no longer feasible. A summer of wildfires and droughts from the west coast of the United States to southern Spain kept the impact of climate...

Podcasts

Episode 3 | Transatlantic Security

Vladimir Putin has brought war back to Europe, presenting transatlantic security with the massive challenge of supporting Ukraine and shoring up their own defenses. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shifted the conversation from whether EU countries will spend more on defense, to how can they spend...

Podcasts

Episode 1 | What Are Transatlantic Relations Today?

This episode reaches back into the past to one of the most important artifacts of transatlantic history. Then, Rachel Rizzo, nonresident senior fellow at the [Atlantic Council's Europe Center](https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/programs/europe-center/), explains the foundations of the Euro-Atlantic...