The German Symposium 2017 took place from 28 February to 2 March 2017. The guiding motto “Risking Transition” served as a springboard to launch into detailed discussions on a variety of current affairs. Transition in the political, business and cultural landscape is the all-pervasive feature of our time. The kind of transition we witness today is faster than ever before. Countless opportunities await. However, transition also involves risk – changing the status quo is always a leap into the unknown.

The concepts of ‘transition’ and ‘risk’ hence allowed us to explore the many current events shaping Europe, ranging from the new Anglo-German relationship in a post-Brexit environment, Germany’s role in Europe and the global economy, as well as the impact of disruptive technologies on various European markets.


Tuesday, 29 February

Opening Address
Prof. Julia Black, LSE Director
Dr. Peter Ammon, German Ambassador

Opening Keynote: Transition in democracies
Walter Thurnherr, Federal Chancellor of Switzerland

The UK and Europe after Brexit: A relationship in transition
Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of the British Council
Konstantin Kuhle, Chairman of Junge Liberale
Florian Ranft, Senior Policy Researcher at Policy Network
chair: Stephanie Bolzen, Die Welt

Collateral Damage in Air Warfare
Dr. Janina Dill, LSE & Oxford

Adressing The Philosophical Crisis Of Our Era
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Club of Rome Co-President
Jonathan Krude, Apotheosis International

SOTS Workshops



Europe in Crisis
Gregor Gysi, Die Linke
chair: Prof. Joachim Wehner, LSE

SOTS Symposium Dinner

Wednesday, 1 March

Enough Establishment? Ursachen der Unzufriedenheit mit den politischen Eliten (und was jetzt zu tun ist)
Hans-Christian Ströbele, MdB, Bündnis90/ Die Grünen
Julia Klöckner, MdL, Vice Chairwoman of CDU
chair: John Jungclaussen, Die Zeit

From the Ivory Tower to the Parliament building: Comparing Academic Policy advice in Germany & Anglo-Saxon countries
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt, German Council of Economic Experts Chair
Prof. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, Professor of Economics at the LSE

How Will Fintech Change the Future of Banking?
Robin Buschmann, Giromatch Founder and CEO
Christoph Rieche, iwoca Founder and CEO
chair: Prof. Martin Oehmke, LSE

Investing in Europe – Has the Perspective changed?
Dorothee Blessing, J.P.Morgan EMEA Vice Chairwoman of Investment Banking
Wilhelm Molterer, Managing Director of the European Fund for Strategic Investments
Johannes Beerman, German Bundesbank Board Member
chair: Dr. Christian Busch, LSE

Feminismus & Islamismus – von Teheran 1979 bis Berlin & London 2017
Alice Schwarzer, feminist, journalist, publisher
chair: Dr Brigitte Steger, Downing College, Cambridge

Organised Love
Kübra Gümüşay, feminist, journalist, blogger
chair: Dr Brigitte Steger, Downing College, Cambridge

Late Night Comedy: Risking Merkel
Django Asül

Thursday, 2 March

Right Wing Populism in European Democracies
Dietmar Bartsch, Die Linke, Leader of the Opposition in the German Bundestag
chair: Dr Olaf Cramme, LSE

Sustainability: Economic paradigm of the 21st century
Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, CSU
chair: Markus Häflinger, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Work in transition – The future of work in a digitalised age
Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, SPD
chair: Yvonne Esterházy, Wirtschaftswoche

Civil Rights and Public Security – Do we have to trade one to achieve the other?
Ferdinand Kirchhof, German Constitutional Court Vice President
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Vice Chairwoman of FDP
chair: Christoph Scheuermann, Der Spiegel

Opportunity or threat? Facing the digital transition of business and work
Dr Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO ThyssenKrupp AG
Carsten Kratz, Boston Consulting Group CEO for Germany
chair: Nina Trentmann, Wall Street Journal

Future Mobility in India – sustainability versus growth?
Günter Butschek, CEO of Tata Motors
chair: Dr. Philipp Rohde, LSE

The European Banking Sector – Growing Together and Growing Apart?
Sabine Lautenschläger, ECB Executive Board Member
chair: Prof. Ricardo Reis, LSE

Symposium Afterparty

The German Symposium 2016 took place at the London School of Economics and Political Science between the 29th of February – 4th of March 2016. Henry Kissinger’s famous quote: ‘Poor old Germany – too big for Europe, too small for the world?’ served as a guiding question.

Overview of Programme & speakers

MONDAY, 29th February

Welfare states and freedom of movement in Europe

Peter Ammon (Introduction) is the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Kingdom. Prior to that he served as an Ambassador to the USA. He is a supporter of free trade and as Director General for Economics at the German Foreign Office from 2001 to 2007, he helped prepare the G8 world economic summits for German chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel.

Olaf Scholz is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, has been Mayor of Hamburg since March 2011 and delegate of Germany for cultural affairs under the Treaty on Franco-German Co-operation since January 2015. From May to October 2001 he was Minister of the Interior (Innensenator) of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and from 2002 to 2004 he was general secretary of the SPD. In 2005 Scholz was elected a member of the sixteenth Bundestag, and succeeded Franz Müntefering as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, when the latter left office in 2007.


Germany’s media in the refugee crisis – Responsible or biased reporting?

Peter Frey is a German journalist and serves as the editor in chief of the ZDF since April 2010. From 1998 until 2001 he led the editorial department for foreign affairs and moderated the “Auslandsjournal”, the ZDF special broadcast regarding the Kosovo war, as well as “ZDFroyal”. In addition, he developed the daily broadcasted “heute – in Europa”. From 2001 until 2010 Peter Frey led the ZDF’s main studio in Berlin where he moderated several special broadcasts including the death of pope Johannes Paul II, the 2005 election of pope Benedikt XVI, as well as the nine hour long broadcast in relation to the 2008 elections of Barack Obama.


Capitalism in the 21st century – Where it went wrong and what we can learn from it

Rainer Brüderle is a German politician and member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). He served as Minister of Economics and Transport of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1987–1998. In 2009, he was appointed Federal Minister of Economics and Technology in the second Merkel cabinet. Brüderle resigned as Federal Minister for Economics and Technology in May 2011. He holds a Diploma in Economics from the University of Mainz.

Gerald Hörhan is an Austrian investor, author, and manager of the Viennese investment company Pallas Capital Holding. He is best known for his controversial theses regarding personal asset planning and his critique of the European Union. Among his best known works are the books “Investment Punk: Warum ihr schuftet und wir reich werden”, as well as “Gegengift – Europa stiehlt euch die Zukunft. Wie ihr euch wehrt”. He studied in Harvard and worked as investment banker for JPMorgan Chase & Co in New York and as a consultant for McKinsey & Co in Frankfurt.

Marcus Theurer (Chair) reports for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) from London since the beginning of 2009. Prior to the London office of FAZ Marcus worked as a reporter in Munich, at the Frankfurt news desk of the paper and for the Business newswire Dow Jones. He holds an economics degree from University of Cologne.


TUESDAY, 1st March

“4th Industrial Revolution – Threats and opportunities”

Philipp Rösler is a German politician who was the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and the Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2011 to 2013. He was also Chairman of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) from 2011 to 2013. Following the 2013 federal election in which the FDP left the Bundestag, Rösler announced his resignation from the chairmanship. In January 2014 Philipp Rösler became Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum. Born in Vietnam, Rösler was also the first cabinet minister of Asian background in Germany.

Roland Koch is a German jurist and former conservative politician. He was Minister-President of Hesse from 7 April 1999, immediately becoming President of the Bundesrat, completing the term begun by his predecessor as Minister President, Hans Eichel, until his resignation on 31 August 2010. In October 2010, he was also announced as designated chief executive officer of Bilfinger Berger, Germany’s second-largest builder.

Margret Suckale is a member of the board of BASF SE. Before that, she was responsible for the Human Resources department at Deutsche Bahn AG. She was an executive at Mobil Oil, also working in the HR sector. She became Global Head of Human Resources at BASF SE in July, 2009 and was appointed to the Executive Board of BASF SE in 2011. As Industrial Relations Director and Site Director of Ludwigshafen she is currently globally responsible for Human Resources, Engineering & Maintenance, Environment, Health & Safety and Verbund Site Management Europe.

Nina Trentmann (chair) is a reporter with German newspaper “Die Welt”, covering business, finance and politics. Currently, she focuses on business and finance in the United Kingdom. Before that, she reported on China; the rise of China; international companies and their performance in China and Chinese companies expanding abroad. In addition,  she covered business in Asia, the US and the UK; Social Media; future technologies and their impact on development.


“Europe as a Global Player ”

Jürgen Trittin is a Member of Parliament for the German Green Party. He was Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1998 to 2005. Before his political career he studied social economy at the University of Göttingen and worked as a PR Spokesperson and journalist.

Eva Ladipo is an author and journalist based in London. She received her undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciene at Cambridge University and went on to write her PhD thesis about the Russian tax system. She started as a journalist with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and has since been working as a correspondent or editor for Financial Times Deutschland, Vanity Fair and the British FT. She currently writes for German daily Die Welt. Her first novel „Wende“ was published last autumn. It is a political thriller based on the German Energiewende – a policy which is rightfully considered the legacy of Jürgen Trittin’s party Die Grünen.


“Germany’s technology sector – Finding its competitive edge”

Andreas Dengel is a member of the Management Board as well as Scientific Director at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) in Kaiserslautern where he is leading the Knowledge Management research department. In 1993 he was appointed Professor at the Computer Science Department of the University of Kaiserslautern where he holds the chair “Knowledge-Based Systems”. Since 2009 he is also Professor (Kyakuin) at the Department of Computer Science and Intelligent Systems, Graduate School of Engineering, at Osaka Prefecture University.

Frank Schmiechen is the current editor-in-chief of “Gründerszene” and was the former deputy editor-in-chief of the renown “Die Welt” and “Welt am Sonntag”, two of the most distinguished German newspapers. With a wealth of experience in journalism, Schmiechen has established himself as an incredibly experienced professional in the press and media industries.


“Germany – too strange for Europe?”

Django Asül is a Turkish-German cabaret artist and actor renown for his sharp-witted comedy sketches on German political issues. Perhaps most notable for his satirical take on Turkish communities in Germany and Bayern, he continues to push forward political comedy both on stage and on camera, taking audiences from his works in “Paradigma” to “Fragil”.


WEDNESDAY, 2nd March

“European/ American relations – Obsolete tradition or indisputable necessity?”

Ralf Stegner is a German politician and functions as the vice chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2014. In addition to his degree in Political Science, History and German from Freiburg (1980-7), he earned a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1987-9) and a doctor degree from the University of Hamburg (1992). He is member of the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein, Chairman of its parliamentary group, and also Chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein-SPD.

Gerlinde Groitl (chair) serves as Assistant Professor of International and Transatlantic Relations at the University of Regensburg. She spends January to March 2016 as a visiting fellow at LSE IDEAS in London. From October to December 2015 she was based as a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations in Washington, DC. Her main interests are US, German and European foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Western intervention policy and global power shifts. Dr. Groitl has received several awards and grants for her work.


“Minimum wage and quota for women – Is Germany’s labour market too influenced by social policies?”

Katarina Barley is a German lawyer, politician and member of the 18th German Bundestag. Holding a doctoral degree in law and having worked as a lawyer, Barley later pursued a political career with the SPD (Social Democratic Party). In December 2015, she was elected the General Secretary of the party. Currently representing the constituency of Trier, she also sits on the parliamentary body in charge of appointing judges to the highest German courts. Recently, this included the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Administrative Court.

Klaus Ernst has been a left-wing German politician for ‘Die Linke’ in the Bundestag since 2005, and as of 2010 has been co-chairing the party with Gesine Lötzsch. Having initially founded the “Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative” Party in 2005 as a disenchantment with the then prevailing Red-Green coalition government, the party was eventually absolved in the formation of ‘Die Linke’ in 2007. Ernst is also an avid member of IG Metall, the German Metalworkers Union, of which he has been an active member in since 1972.

Jörn-Steffen Pischke (Chair) is an Economics professor at the London School of Economics and senior research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance. His fields of study revolve mainly around Labour Economics and Econometrics. After studying at the University of Konstanz in Germany, the State University of New York in Binghamton and Princeton University, Pischke later went to work as an associate Professor at MIT before coming to the LSE.


“Digitization of the Banking Industry”

Urs Rohner is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group AG and chairs the Chairman’s and Governance Committee. Before his appointment to Chairman, Urs Rohner was full-time Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group AG. Prior to that, he was a member of the Executive Board, where he served as Chief Operating Officer and Group General Counsel. Mr. Rohner is a member of the Board of Directors of GlaxoSmithKline plc as well as of the Institute of International Finance and other industry groups in financial services. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Mr. Rohner served as Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of ProSiebenSat.1, one of the largest independent media corporations in Europe. This followed a number of years in private practice at major law firms in Switzerland and the USA.


“Germany and the UK – Different Visions on Europe”

Otmar Issing is a German economist, former Chief Economist and Member of the Board of the European Central Bank (ECB). After studying and working as a research assistant that the University of Würzburg from 1955 to 1965, he was elected member of the German Council of Economic Experts and in 1990 he became a member of the board of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Since June 2006 Issing has been president of the Center for Financial Studies (CFS) at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and since 1 January 2007 he has been an international advisor to Goldman Sachs.

Lord Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury is a former Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of its Monetary Policy Committee from 2003 to 2013. He had been Deputy Governor from 1998 to 2003, Chief Economist and Executive Director from 1991, and a non-executive director of the Bank from 1990 to 1991. King left his office as the Governor of the Bank of England on 30 June 2013, and was replaced by Mark Carney. He was appointed a life peer by Queen Elizabeth II for ‘contributions to public service’.

Charles Goodhart is an economist and former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. He had worked at the Bank of England for seventeen years as a monetary adviser, becoming a Chief Adviser in 1980. In 1997 he was appointed one of the outside independent members of the Bank of England’s new Monetary Policy Committee until May 2000. Until his retirement in 2002, he had been the Norman Sosnow Professor of Banking and Finance at LSE since 1985.


THURSDAY, 3rd March

“Developments in the banking industry – How to stabilize our system?”

Carl-Ludwig Thiele is a German lawyer and former politician for the Free Demotractic Party (FDP). He currently sits on the board of the central bank of the Federal German Republic, the Deutschen Bundesbank, a position he holds since May 2010. As Board Member, his particularly responsibility lies with the ‘Cash Management Department’. Prior to joining the Bundesbank, Thiele was Deputy Chairman of the FDP Parliamentary Group for 8 years, as well as being Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee of the German Bundestag.

Ferdinand Kirchhof is a German judge, jurisprudent and tax law expert. Since 1 October 2007, he is a sitting Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in the court’s first senate, succeeding Udo Steiner. In March 2009, he was elected vice president of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in the court’s first senate. Having adjudicated on several of the biggest judicial cases in the last decade, Kirchhof has established himself as an eminent legal figure amongst scholars and jurists alike.

Johannes Haas has been General Manager of London Branch of DZ Bank since July 2014. He joined DZ BANK in 1988 and has held senior positions in Frankfurt, Dublin, New York, and Singapore. He has extensive banking experience including corporate finance, capital markets, risk management, business development as well as private banking. He holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is an alumnus of Pforzheim University. He has also been elected as a Councillor of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce.

Philipp Paech (chair) joined the LSE in 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Financial Law and Financial Regulation. He is the Director of the LSE’s Law and Financial Markets Project and a research fellow at the Institute for Law and Finance in Frankfurt. Before joining the LSE, Philipp spent many years at the heart of international legal and regulatory reform of the financial sector, working from 2007-2010 for the European Commission’s directorate for financial services in Brussels and from 2002-2006 for UNIDROIT in Rome.


“German Angst – Resurgence of extremism?”

Michael Wolffsohn is a German historian. Since 1981, Wolffsohn has served as a professor at the Bundeswehr University Munich as a professor in Contemporary History. His major interests are Israeli history, international relations, and German Jewish history. Having written over a dozen books on Israel, German-Jewish relations and anti-semitic politics, he stands out as a leading academic on the Jewish State, modern history and international relations.

Wolfram Eilenberger is a German writer, journalist and philosopher. Since 2011 he has been the editor-in-chief of Philosophie Magazin, a German bimonthly with a print-run of 100 000 copies. He is the author of seven books, all of which have been translated into several languages, and one of which is the best-selling novel Finnen von Sinnen. Having written for Cicero, die Zeit and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Eilenberger has consistently stood out as a leading mind in the German philosophical scene.

Stefanie Bolzen is the UK and Ireland Correspondent for WELT and WELT am Sonntag. From 2009 until 2012 she was their Europe Correspondent in Brussels covering EU and NATO affairs. Until 2008 she was a foreign news reporter and editor for Die WELT in Berlin covering issues including Eastern Europe and energy policy. Stefanie trained at Axel Springer Journalist School having studied modern history at the Universities of Cologne and Seville.


“Managing Europe – What is Germany’s Responsibility?”

Wolfgang Schäuble is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) who has served as Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance in the second and third Merkel cabinets since 2009. Involved at the centre of the crisis management efforts to save the euro, the Wall Street Journal called Schäuble “Germany’s second most powerful person after Chancellor Merkel”. Between 1998 to 2000 he was CDU party chairman, and served again as Federal Minister of the Interior in the First Merkel cabinet from 2005 to 2009.

Kevin Featherstone is Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics.  He is the long-term Director of the Hellenic Observatory and Co-Chair of LSEE: Research on South-East Europe within the European Institute. His research has focussed on the politics of the European Union and the politics of contemporary Greece; his work has been framed in the perspectives of comparative politics, public policy, political economy and processes of ‘Europeanization’.


“Troubled Europe – How to move on?”

Gregor Gysi is a German attorney and key politician of the political party The Left (Die Linke), a party which emerged in part from the old East German Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). He was the last leader of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, and led the effort that transformed it into the post-Communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), forerunner of The Left.

Waltraud Schelkle is an Associate Professor of Political Economy at the European Institute and has been at LSE since autumn 2001, teaching courses on the political economy of European integration at MSc and PhD level. She is an Adjunct Professor of economics at the Economics Department of the Free University of Berlin where she did a post-doctorate degree (Habilitation) in 1999 with a thesis on “The new theory of monetary integration” (published in German in 2001).


FRIDAY 4th March

“How Innovation Changes Culture”

Ranga Yogeshwar is an Indian-Luxembourger author and journalist with several years of experience in science journalism, TV-series production and as a moderator. He studied Physics at RwTH Aachen.

The German Symposium 2015 took place at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 9th to 13th March 2015. Under the guiding motto “Facing new responsibilities: Germany’s new role in Europe and beyond?” we explored what role Germany can and must fulfil in the decades to come throughout a week of speeches and discussion panels.

Monday, 9 March

Opening speech: Germany’s role in the world – Opportunities and Challenges

Christian Wulff served as the President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 2010-2012. He was Minister-President of Lower Saxony as a Member of the Christian Democratic Union from 2003-2010. Wulff studied law with a specialisation in economics at the University of Osnabrück. After his time as President of Germany he has been working as a lawyer and is involved in several charities.

Introductory remarks by Prof. Craig Calhoun, Director of the LSE


Capital Markets in Transition: Europe & Beyond

Axel Hoerger is currently Chief Executive Officer at UBS Germany. Axel Hoerger was previously employed as the Head of Germany and Austria and General Manager at Goldman Sachs Investment Management GmbH. He heads German Region Institutional Business Development and Marketing.

Martin Wiesmann was named Senior Country Manager for JP Morgan in Germany in February 2014. Wiesmann has been with JP Morgan since 2007, working on a large number of M&A and capital market transactions in the transport, industrials and financial institutions sectors. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Wiesmann worked in the investment banking division of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt for 12 years.

Dr. Martin Reitz is Managing Director of Rothschild Germany with responsibility for Rothschild’s Investment Banking activities in German speaking Europe. He joined Rothschild after working for UBS where he was Co-Head of German Investment Banking.

Dr. Yasmine Chahed (chair), LSE Department of Accounting, in her research explores new areas in corporate financial reporting at the interface between capital markets and law, focusing on narrative reporting and executive pay.


The Optimisation Trap: Economics and Ethics

Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin is one of the most renowned German philosophers. He is currently teaching Philosophy and Political Theory at LMU University Munich. After studying Philosophy, Mathematics, Physics and Political Sciences he held numerous academic positions in different areas such as teaching Ethics in Life – Sciences at the Tübingen University or being Director of the Geschwister-Scholl Institute for Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich for four years.


The United States of Europe: Dream or Reality?

Dr.h.c. Joschka Fischer  is a German politician and member of the German Green Party. He served as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1998 – 2005. Fischer has been amongst the most popular German politicians according to opinion polls. He is supporting the Spinelli Group, which was founded to reinvigorate efforts towards federalisation of the European Union.


Tuesday, 10 March

The Spread of Populism and Extremism in Europe

Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering is a German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union. He was the 23rd President of the European Parliament from 2007 to 2009 and is known as a European Federalist. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament continuously since the first elections in 1979 and thus is its longest-serving member. He is now an honorary member of the European parliament and since 2010 chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

Kenneth Harry Clarke CH QC MP is a British Conservative politician who has represented Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire as a Member of Parliament since 1970. Clarke, one of the UK’s best-known and popular politicians, was dubbed by the press with the affectionate nickname of “Big Beast”. He served in various British Cabinets as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Education Secretary, Health Secretary and Minister without Portfolio. He has been the President of the Tory Reform Group since 1997, and contested the Conservative leadership three times in 1997, 2001, and 2005.

Jonathan Peet (chair), Europe Editor at The Economist, was previously Business Affairs Editor (from 1998). Prior to this he had been Brussels Correspondent, Executive Editor, Surveys Editor, Finance Correspondent, Washington, DC, Correspondent and Britain Correspondent. He is the co-author of “Unhappy Union: How the Euro Crisis – and Europe – Can Be Fixed”, publised by Profile Books May 2014.

Europe as a Global Player: The viability of an EU Foreign Policy

Douglas Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd of Westwell CH CBE PC  is a British Conservative politician who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. He served as Minister for Europe (1979-83), Home Secretary (1985–89), and Foreign Secretary (1989–95).

Dr. Peter Ammon is the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Kingdom. Prior to that he served as an Ambassador to the USA. He is a supporter of free trade and as Director General for Economics at the German Foreign Office from 2001 to 2007, he helped prepare the G8 world economic summits for German chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel.

Prof. Michael Cox is a British academic and international relations scholar. He is currently a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, where he is Co-Director of LSE IDEAS. As a writer, Cox has authored many books on international politics, the Cold War, US foreign policy, and the behaviour of superpowers. He has contributed to many academic journals and has been the editor of the Review of International Studies, International Relations and International Politics. He is also the General Editor of Rethinking World Politics, a Palgrave book series.

Rachel Tausendfreund (chair) is the editor at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Before joining ECFR, Rachel worked at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). She was part of the editorial team of the bi-monthly foreign policy magazine Internationale Politik and ran IP–Journal, an online magazine covering German and European foreign policy. Previously she was a research associate at the European University Institute and worked and taught at the European University Viadrina in Germany, in the fields of the European Union studies, international trade, and political economy. She earned her B.A. in her native state of Michigan (in English literature and French) before moving to Germany where she got her M.A. in European Studies and Politics.


A Multicultural Europe: How do we deal with the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks?

Dr. Alexander Gauland  is a German jurist, journalist and politician. He possesses two juristical Staatsexamen and a Doctorate. Gauland is a leading politician of the right-wing AfD. Since the parliamentary elections in the state of Brandenburg, Gauland leads the AfD faction in the Brandenburger Landtag.

Sebastian Borger is a graduate of the Hamburg School of Journalism “Henri Nannen” and the LSE (BSC Econ in International Relations). He worked as a crime reporter for “Abendzeitung” in Munich before joining “Der Spiegel”, the biggest news magazine in Europe. Since moving to London, Borger has reported on British and Irish politics and business as well as European and international politics for leading German- speaking media, including Berliner Zeitung, Der Standard (Vienna) and Basler Zeitung (Switzerland). He is a regular pundit on BBC radio and the author of “Verzockt – Kweku Adoboli und die UBS”, published in 2013.

Khola Maryam Hübsch is a German journalist and publicist of Indian descent, who actively promotes the importance of inter-religious dialogue. Hübsch studied German and Psychology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and writes for many of Germany’s most prominent newspapers including Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt and Frankfurter Rundschau. She has been described as “the face of muslim women in Germany” and regular appears on German television to discuss the role of Islam in German and European society.

Hans Kundnani is the research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations, where he specializes in German foreign policy. He is also an associate fellow at the Institute for German Studies at Birmingham University. He previously worked as a full-time journalist and was a Berlin correspondent for the Observer. He is the author of Utopia or Auschwitz. Germany’s 1968 Generation and the Holocaust (London/New York: Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2009). He studied German and philosophy at Oxford University and journalism at Columbia University in New York.


An evening of Kabarett

Urban Priol is a German comedian and Cabarett-artist. He hosted one of the country’s most popular TV shows, “Neues aus der Anstalt”. He won numerous awards for his programs and is famous for his imitations of German politicians, like Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder or Angela Merkel.


Wednesday, 11 March

The Energiewende: A role model for Europe?

Joe Kaeser is the Chief Executive Office of Siemens AG. Before that he had been Chief Financial Officer for 7 years. Kaeser has been with Siemens since 1980, after his Business Science Studies in Regensburg, working for the company in different parts of the world like Malaysia and the USA .

Torsten Albig is a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. In 2012 he became Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein. From 2006 to 2009 he was the spokesperson of the German Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück and head of communications at the Ministry of Finance.

Nina Trentmann (chair) is a reporter with German newspaper “Die Welt”, covering business, finance and politics. Currently, she focuses on business and finance in the United Kingdom. Before that, she reported on China; the rise of China; international companies and their performance in China and Chinese companies expanding abroad. In addition,  she covered business in Asia, the US and the UK; Social Media; future technologies and their impact on development.


Immigration in Germany: Prospects and Challenges

Wolfgang Kubicki is a German politician and member of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. He was member of the German Bundestag and is currently leader of the Free Democratic Party in the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein.

Stephan Weil is a German politician and leader of the Social Democratic Party in Lower Saxony. In 2013 he was elected Minister-President of Lower Saxony and also was President of the German Bundesrat until October 2014. After being awarded his law degree in 1986 he worked as a lawyer, prosecutor and judge and also worked for the Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony.

Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth is a German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union. In 1988 she became President of the Bundestag. She held the post for 10 years. Prior to that she was member of the German Bundestag and Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. She is Member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation to prepare recommendations to European governments and NGOs on fighting xenophobia and anti-semitism.

Prof. Dr. Carola Frege (chair) is a Professor of Comparative Employment Relations in the Management Dept at the LSE. Frege’s research has focused on the transformation and workings of employee representation and voice in Western and Eastern Europe; union revitalization strategies; and the quality of working life in Germany and the US. She is currently working on 2nd generation migrants in the US and writes a book on xenophobia and racism in Germany.


The Nation State’s Relevance in the 21. Century

Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan is a German Political Science professor and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany. The party has nominated her twice as a candidate for the federal presidential elections. Moreover, Gesine Schwan was Co-Founder of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin in 2009.  

David Owen, Baron Owen, CH PC FRCP MB BChir is a British politician. He served as British Foreign Secretary from 1977 to 1979. In 1981, Owen left the Labour Party to co-found the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Owen led the SDP from 1983 to 1987 and from 1988 to 1990. He sat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher until March 2014, and now sits as an “independent social democrat”.

Prof. Dr. Brendan Simms is an Irish historian and Professor of the History of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. Simms’s research focuses on the history of European foreign policy. He also serves as the president of The Henry Jackson Society, which advocates the view that supporting and promoting liberal democracy and liberal interventionism should be an integral part of Western foreign policy.

Dr. Mareike Kleine (chair), is an Associate Professor of EU and International Politics in the LSE’s European Institute. Her research interests include-theories of international organisation and International Political Economy, informal and formal governance, the interplay of domestic politics and international institutions, negotiation theories and normative questions of global governance.


Europe’s Last Chance: Ideas for Reform

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is a French political leader who served as the President of the French Republic from 1974 to 1981. Giscard was elected to the French National Assembly in 1956 and was a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (1956–58). He served as the secretary of state for finance  from 1959–62, and as finance minister from 1962-1966 and again from 1969-1974. Giscard was elected to the presidency in a runoff election against the leftist candidate Francois Mitterand on May 19, 1974. One of the notable achievements of his presidency was France’s role in the strengthening of the European Economic Community. He was defeated in another runoff with Mitterrand on May 10, 1981. In 2001 Giscard was appointed by the European Union to chair a convention charged with drafting a constitution for the organization. In 2003, he was elected to the French Academy as one of “the immortals” for his contributions to French literature. Among his several published works are Démocratie française (1976; French Democracy) and three volumes of memoirs. In October 2014, Giscard published the book Europa: la dernière chance de l’europe in which he presents a concrete agenda for reforming the European Union. It is this latest work which will form the centerpiece of his speech at this year’s LSE German Symposium.

Dr. N. Piers Ludlow (chair) is an associate professor in the international history department of the London School of Economics. Dr Ludlow studied for his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Oxford before moving on to St Antony’s College Oxford to study for his D.Phil. He was then a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford until he joined LSE in 1998. In 2009, Dr Ludlow completed a six month spell as a visiting fellow at the History Department, Princeton University. Dr Ludlow’s main research interests lie in the history of Western Europe since 1945, and in particular in the historical roots of the European integration process and the early stages of development of the EU. He is also interested in the history of the Cold War in Europe (he is an editor of Cold War History) and in the links between Western Europe and the United States throughout the Cold War period. 


Success in a Volatile World

Frank Mattern is a German business economist. He was CEO of McKinsey Germany from 2007 – 2014 and became responsible for Functional Practices at McKinsey after that. He graduated from London School of Economics and University of Münster and holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.


Thursday, 12 March

New Ideas for European Policymaking: Regulation, Investment and Innovation

Prof. Dr. Claudia Maria Buch is a German economist and Deputy President of the Deutsche Bundesbank where she is responsible for the areas Financial Stability, Audit and Statistics. She was professor at the University of Tübingen and member of the German Council of Economic Experts. She is specialized in research on regulation and supervision of banking.

Martin Blessing is a German banker and chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second largest bank. Blessing is a graduate of the University of Frankfurt and the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. From 1989 to 1996, he worked for McKinsey including two years as partner.

Carsten Kratz has been The Boston Consulting Group’s Head of the Management Team for Germany and Austria since 2013. He belonged to the company’s management for Germany & Austria in 2006, and also to the European management team from 2010 to 2012. Carsten Kratz studied industrial engineering at TU Darmstadt, Germany, specialising in electrical engineering.

Helene von Roeder is a German Investment banker and since September 2014, managing director and chief executive officer of the German branch of Credit Suisse in Frankfurt. Roeder studied physical astronomy in Munich and at the University of Cambridge. She worked among others for Deutsche Bank and UBS and was board member of Morgan Stanley. She has more then 20 years work experience in banking.

Marcus Theurer, (Chair), reports for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) from London since the beginning of 2009. Prior to the London office of FAZ Marcus worked as a reporter in Munich, at the Frankfurt news desk of the paper and for the Business newswire Dow Jones. He holds an economics degree from University of Cologne.


Germany as a Business Location in the European Context

Rainer Brüderle is a German politician and member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). He served as Minister of Economics and Transport of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1987–1998. In 2009, he was appointed Federal Minister of Economics and Technology in the second Merkel cabinet. Brüderle resigned as Federal Minister for Economics and Technology in May 2011. He then went on to serve as the chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag and led the FDP in the 2013 federal elections. He holds a Diploma in Economics from the University of Mainz.

Dr. Henning Meyer is a German social scientist, consultant and analyst. He is Director of the network consultancy New Global Strategy, Editor of Social Europe Journal, a Research Associate of the Public Policy Group at the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, commerce and manufacture (RSA). He is also a member of the German Social Democratic Party’s basic values commission.

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schwenker is a German business consultant. He served as CEO of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants from 2003 until July 2010 when he was appointed head of the supervisory board of the firm. He served as CEO again from May 2013 to July 2014. In September 2010, Schwenker was additionally appointed the head of the Roland Berger foundation.

Marcus Theurer, (Chair), reports for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) from London since the beginning of 2009. Prior to the London office of FAZ Marcus worked as a reporter in Munich, at the Frankfurt news desk of the paper and for the Business newswire Dow Jones. He holds an economics degree from University of Cologne.


Muddling through or growth acceleration? Market perspectives on European and German growth dynamics

Dr. Jörg Kukies is a German banker who, alongside Wolfgang Fink, has succeeded Alexander Dibelius as the CEO of Goldman Sachs Germany. Kukies studied economics and finance at the University of Mainz, Sorbonne and Harvard, before receiving a PhD from the University of Chicago. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2001 and was named partner in 2010. Before being appointed CEO, Kukies served as Managing Director for structured products.


Friday, 13 March

Anglo-German Relations: A Cornerstone of European Cooperation

David McAllister is a German politician of the conservative Christ Democratic Union (CDU). In July 2010, McAllister was elected Minister-President of the state of Lower Saxony. In the 2014 European elections, McAllister was elected a Member of the European Parliament at the top of the CDU’s list of candidates in Lower Saxony. A lawyer by profession, he has served as the chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in the Landtag (Parliament) of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010 and was elected chairman of the state party in 2008.

Hans Eichel is a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He has been mayor of Kassel as well as prime minister of Hesse. From 1998 – 1999, Eichel was president of the German Bundesrat and federal minister for finance from 1999-2005.

Sir Simon McDonald KCMG, is a British diplomat who is ambassador to Germany. McDonald was educated at De La Salle College, Salford, and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1982 and served at Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn and Washington as well as at the FCO. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary 2001–03; Ambassador to Israel 2003–06; Director for Iraq at FCO 2006–07; Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the Overseas and Defence Secretariat at the Cabinet Office 2007–10; and was appointed Ambassador to Germany from October 2010.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament of Kensington for Kensington. He served in various roles as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland (1986–1990), Defence Secretary (1992–1995) and Foreign Secretary (1995–1997). Rifkind was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 – 1997 and he became Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons during the 2005–2010 parliament. Rifkind stood for the Kensington seat and was elected at the 2010 general elections. In 2010 he was appointed chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons by Prime Minister David Cameron, and served in this position until 2015. In 2014 he was appointed Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Nuclear Security Council. In January 2015 he was appointed by the OSCE as a member of their Eminent Persons Panel on European Security.

Thomas Kielinger OBE (chair) is a German journalist and author based in London. Kielinger studied English, German and philosophy at the universities of Muenster and Bochum, as well as at the University College of Cardiff. In 1971 he joined the German newspaper Die Welt as a literary critic, and remained in this position until moving to Washington to become the paper’s Washington correspondent in 1977. In 1985 he left Die Welt in order to become the Editor-in-Chief of the Rheinischer Merkur where he remained until 1994. In 1998, Kielinger returned to Die Welt to become the paper’s London correspondent, a position he holds until now. Parallel to his work as a journalist, Thomas Kielinger has authored several books on Anglo-German topics in particular. Following his book Crossroads and Roundabouts, he published a biography of Queen Elizabeth II. in 2011 and most recently a biography of Winston Churchill. Kielinger regularly appears as a political commentator on a range of topics in both British and German media.


Closing Speech: International Security in the 21st Century- A Litmus Test for Europe

Peter Altmaier (keynote) is a German politician who has served as the Head of the German Federal Chancellery and  Federal Minister for Special Affairs since December 2013. Previously, he was Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from May 2012 to December 2013. Altmaier, a member of the German Bundestag since 1994, is widely seen as one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s most trusted advisors. Before his time in cabinet, Altmaier served as Secretary of State in the Interior Ministry from 2005 to 2009 and Chief Whip of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group from 2009 to 2012.

Prof. Dr. Michael Wolffsohn is a German historian. His parents were German Jews who fled in 1939 and moved back to Germany in 1954. Wolffsohn began his studies at the Free University of Berlin, obtaining a PhD in History. From 1967 to 1970, Wolffsohn served in the Israeli Defence Force. From 1975 until 1980, Wolffsohn taught at the University of Saarland. After a 31 year long tenure at the Bundeswehr University Munich from 1981 until 2012, Wolffsohn was granted the title of Emeritus Professor for Modern History and retired from active teaching. He continues to write prolifically on a wide range of subjects and appears regularly in German and Israeli media to discuss current events. His major interests are Israeli history, international relations, and German Jewish history.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Rödder is a German historian and Professor for Modern History at the  Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz since 2005. He studied History and German philology at the University of Bonn, University of Tübingen and University of Stuttgart. He is an expert in Germany’s post-war history and gained widespread acclaim with his book on German reunification (Deutschland einig Vaterland: Die Geschichte der Wiedervereinigung) in 2009.

Dr. Aino Rosa Kristina Spohr (chair) is a specialist in the International History of Germany since 1945. She is also researching the global end of the Cold War and interested in the theory and practice of Contemporary History. Dr Spohr gained her B.A. (1997) from the University of East Anglia – with a year abroad at Sciences Po, Paris – where she read European Studies, Economics, French. She then moved to Cambridge University where she completed her M.Phil. in Historical Studies (1998) and Ph.D. in History (2000) at Peterhouse. In 2001 she worked as a Research Fellow in the Secretary General’s Private Office at NATO headquarters in Brussels. She was a Junior Research Fellow in History at Christ’s College, Cambridge (2001-4), before joining the LSE in 2004.


For more than a decade, the German Symposium has had the privilege of welcoming some of the most influential leaders in modern history. Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German Ambassador to the United Kingdom in London, highlighted our Symposium as playing a “key role in the strategic dialogue between Germany and Great Britain”.

Below is a selection of notable guests of past years:

Willy BognerCEO of Bogner; Olympic Skier; Film Producer2002
Thomas de MaizièreChief of Staff and Head of the German Federal Chancellery2006
Alexander DibeliusHead of Germany and Eastern Europe, Goldman Sachs2004, 2010, 2011
Heinz Otto DürrChairman, Dürr AG, former CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG and AEG AG2011
Edelgard BulmahnFormer Minister for Education and Research, Vice President of the German Bundestag, SPD2006, 2014
Joachim GauckFormer Head of the Stasi Files Releasing Agency2004
Thomas GottschalkTV Host2002
Otto Graf LambsdorffFormer Minister of Economics2007
Andrew GowersChief Editor, Financial Times2005
Ursula von der Leyen**Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth2007
Jürgen GroßmannCEO RWE2008
Jens LehmannFC Arsenal, German National Football Team2008
Peter GrussPresident, Max-Planck Society2006
Angela Merkel**Chairwoman of the CDU2003
Dirk NotheisCEO Morgan Stanley Germany and Austria2011
August OetkerChairman, Dr. August Oetker KG2010
Cem ÖzdemirBündnis 90/ Die Grünen (Green Party)2004, 2006
Peter RamsauerFederal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development2011
Claudia RothHead of Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen (Green Party)2010
Thilo SarrazinAuthor, Former Central Banker, Former Finance Senator in Berlin2011
Otto SchilyFormer Minister of the Interior2007
Ulla SchmidtFormer German Federal Minister of Health, Vice President of the German Bundestag, SPD2005, 2014
Gerhard SchröderFormer Chancellor of Germany2007
Robin StalkerCFO Adidas Group2008
Harald SchmidtLate Night Talk Host2003, 2013
Peer SteinbrückFormer German Minister of Finance2010
Axel StrotbekCFO, Audi (Volkswagen Group)2011
Gesine SchwanSPD Candidate for President of Germany2009
Günter VerheugenEU-Commissioner for Enlargement2003
Hannelore KraftMinister-President of North-Rhine-Westphalia2014
Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert President of the German Bundestag2013
Archbishop Robert ZollitschChairman of the German Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church2009
Heide Simonisformer Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein2013
Hans-Heinrich WredeAmbassador of Germany to the UNESCO in Paris2006
Ulrich WickertAuthor, Journalist2010
Guido WesterwelleChairman, FDP2007
Renate KünastCommittee Chair for Justice and Consumer Rights of the German Bundestag2014
Norbert WalterChief Economist, Deutsche Bank AG2003, 2005, 2006, 2009
Christian VeithHead of BCG Germany2011
Prof. Bernd Lucke AfD Party Leader2014
Daniel BahrFederal Minister of Health2013
Wolfgang ThierseVice-President of German Parliament2010
Wilhelm SimsonCEO, E.ON2002
Dr. Nikolaus SchneiderPresident of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany EKD2014
Bernd Stecher Chief Economist, Siemens AG2003
Malu DreyerMinister-President Rhineland-Palatinate2014
Nikolaus SchmejaColonel, retired2005
Sir Geoffrey OwenFormer Chief Editor, Financial Times; LSE Managerial Economics and Strategy Group
2003, 2007
Annegret Kramp-KarrenbauerMinister-President of the Saarland2013
Hans EichelFormer German Minister of Finance2011
Jens HofmanManaging Director Finance Group, Goldman Sachs2007
Carsten KengeterPartner and Co-Head of FICC Distribution Europe, Goldman Sachs2005
Peter Bofinger German Council of Economic Experts2012
Jürgen KlugeHead, McKinsey Germany2004
Berthold KohlerEditor Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)2009
Wolfgang MayrhuberChairman and CEO, Lufthansa AG2007
Andrea Nahles General Secretary of the SPD2012
Kai DiekmannEditor in Chief, BILD2014

* At time of most recent attendance

** individual talk