Skip to content

Bilateral Social Cohesion Forum 2020

Fostering social cohesion among communities in Germany and the United States.

The Foundation EVZ and Humanity in Action will hold a Bilateral Comparative Social Coehsion Forum from October 27 to 28, 2020. Delegations from Germany and the United States will explore the complex and contested relationship among aspects of “Social Cohesion and Combustion.”

About the Bilateral Forum

Together the participants will explore the complex and contested aspects of “Social Cohesion and Combustion.” The Forum addresses issues of social unrest, economic instability, transatlantic vulnerability and disarray and the ever greater need and determination to realize social justice in Germany and the United States. Participants will reflect on their personal and their organization’s beliefs and practice and consider policy implications through the cohesion-combustion prism on a wide range of issues.

Multiple facets of social cohesion and fractures propel populism, nationalism and endanger the future of our liberal, pluralistic democratic countries. It is our hope that through these two days of discussion we will better understand the complexities of these forces that make more just and inclusive societies.

The goal of the Forum is to provide participants with the opportunity to learn, explore and clarify their own positions and to map shared spaces of agreement and disagreement. Through this process – and by sharing insights with others committed to building social cohesion in Germany, the USA and beyond – we hope to contribute to the promotion of more cohesive and just societies.

Program Agenda

>>Tuesday, October 27, 2020

3.00 pm – 3.15 pm CET // 10.00 am – 10.15 pm EDT

Welcome & Introduction to the Program with Marianna Matzer (Teamlead, Foundation EVZ), Dr. Judith S. Goldstein (Founder & CEO, Humanity in Action) and Antje Scheidler (Intl Director of European Programs, Humanity in Action)


3.20 pm – 3.55 pm CET // 10.20 am – 10.55 am EDT

Working Groups: The Challenges of Social Cohesion and Combustion as Part of our Professional Lives


4.00 – 5.00 pm CET // 11.00 am – 12.00 pm EDT

Plenary: Input Talk plus Q&A: Social Cohesion and Combustion Seen Through the Lens of Class, Jan Sowa (Associate Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw)


5.00 pm – 5.15 pm CET // 12.00 – 12.15 pm EDT: Screen Break


5.15 pm – 6.10 pm CET // 12.15 pm – 1.10 pm EDT

Plenary: Introduction, Film Screening and Q&A: Film “The Boogaloo Ballad of Henry Graves”, Introduced by Irene Braam (CEO, Bertelsmann Foundation North America)


6.10 pm – 6.55 pm CET // 1.10 – 1.55 pm EDT

Working Groups: Discussions about Social Cohesion and Combustion

  • History & Remembrance, facilitated by Cornell Brooks (Professor, The Harvard Kennedy School; Director, The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice) (tbc)
  • Identities & Community Building, facilitated by Yasmeen Akhtar (Founding joint Chief-Executive of TrustLab)
  • Religion, facilitated by Anne Snyder (Editor-in-Chief of Comment Magazine)
  • Radicalization, facilitated by Dr. Julian Junk (Project Director at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (HSFK/PRIF))

6.55 – 7.00 pm CET // 1.55 – 2.00 pm EDT:   Wrap-up of the day


>>Wednesday, October 28, 2020

3.00 – 3.10 pm CET // 10.00 – 10.10 am EDT

Welcome to the Day, Antje Scheidler (Intl Director of European Programs, Humanity in Action)


3.10 – 3.30 pm CET // 10.10 – 10.30 am EDT

Opening Remarks: Observations from the US, Dr. Mariko Silver (President of the Henry Luce Foundation)


3.30 – 4.10 pm CET // 10.30 – 11.10 am EDT

Plenary Session: Summaries from Yesterday’s Working Groups

  • History & Remembrance
  • Identities & Community Building
  • Religion
  • Radicalization

4.10 – 4.20 pm CET // 11.10 – 11.20 am EDT

Introduction: The Product, Dr. Judith S. Goldstein (Founder & CEO, Humanity in Action)


4.20 – 5.00 pm CET // 11.20 am – 12.00 pm EDT

Working Groups: Ideas for Strengthening Cohesion and Resisting Combustion


5.00 – 5.15 pm CET // 12.00 – 12.15 pm EDT:  Screen Break


5.15 – 6.00 pm CET // 12.15 – 1.00 pm EDT

Working Groups: Preparing Input from the Working Groups


6.00 – 6.45 pm CET // 1.00 – 1.45 pm EDT

Plenary Session & Discussion: Summaries from the Working Groups


6.45 – 7 pm CET // 1.45 – 2 pm EDT:  Next Steps & Farewell

Our Partner and Supporter

This Forum is generously supported by the Foundation EVZ.