International Congress for Democracy and Freedom

From September 8–10, 2017, alongside the international literature festival, a convention organised by the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kunst und Politik e.V. (PWS) will bring together prominent international thinkers from various disciplines to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities faced by freedom and democracy today, and to engage in an open dialogue with the public.
This congress is taking place in a spirit of resistance and is inspired, among others, by the 1935 International Congress of Writers in Defence of Culture, which was directed against the rise of fascism. The goal of the congress is to analyze recent political upheavals, revitalise the discourse on democracy, and exchange ideas and strategies for the future. Underscoring this endeavour is the conviction that liberal democracy is worth fighting for.



      Illustration: Paula Bulling

WITH: Arjun Appadurai [India], Seyran Ateş [D], Alberto Barrera Tyszka [Venezuela], Gerhart Baum [D], Wolf Biermann [D], Bora Ćosić [Serbia/ D], Selma Dabbagh [Palestine/ GB], Jón Gnarr [Iceland], Ulrike Guérot [D], Xiaolu Guo [China/ GB], Stefanie Lohaus [D], Geert Mak [Netherlands], Pia Mancini [Argentina/ USA], Lorenzo Marsili [Italy], Adam Michnik [Poland], Sharon Dodua Otoo [GB/ D], Laurie Penny [GB], Annika Reich [D], Edward Snowden [USA/ Russia] via Skype, Shashi Tharoor [India],  Barbara Unmüßig [D], Marina Weisband [D], Harald Welzer [D] and others


Tickets for the congress are available here. Please select event type "Konferenz" to see the congress tickets.




The 21st century began with severe political upheavals. Today, it does not seem as though global instabilities will quiet down anytime soon. The instrumentalisation of religion and of resentment against outsiders through political movements, the enforcement of authoritarian regimes on nearly every continent, the widening gap between rich and poor, the hopelessness felt by the younger generations, the criminalisation of homosexuals and transgender individuals, the continuous extinguishing of hope even in post-colonial states in Africa, the wars and destruction in the Middle East, the economic crimes by once renowned [auto-manufacturing] companies, whose boards care as little about climate change as does the current US President, and above all the massive number of people who are dying in conflicts or are journalists being murdered – all of these things are the opposite of what a frivolous Francis Fukuyama envisaged only 25 years ago, when he spoke of the end of history after the dissolution of the Eastern bloc.

Enormous efforts are needed to alleviate the injustices and the suffering of so many people, a precondition for which, as we see it, would be to refine our sense of the causes of political developments and to find ideas for the future that also give the »common people«, as the Italian Antonio Gramsci once expressed, more influence over their own destinies. That will not be enough, but, with this Congress, we hope to at least help to bring some light to the darkness in our days and to spark hope that democracy and freedom – as much as they, in their current forms, may be in need of reform – are still capable of evolving and that it is worthwhile to work toward and, when necessary, to fight for change. The attitude of self-sufficiency that we perceive much too often not only in politicians and journalists, but also in our own surroundings, must yield to an attitude of self-criticism, doubt, and curiosity – simply for reasons of self-preservation, because otherwise we will never be able to tackle the challenges we face.

I would like to thank all those who have committed to contributing to this Congress as well as our supporters, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Ulrich Schreiber



08.09.17 FRIDAY


In many places, democracy has been put on the defensive. How can it be revitalized? International thinkers share their perspectives.

With: Priya Basil GB/ D [Moderation], Arjun Appadurai INDIA, Daphne Büllesbach D, Amit Chaudhuri INDIA, Victor Erofeev RUSSIA, Ralf Fücks D, Isabell Hoffmann D, Ivan Krastev BG/ A, Pia Mancini ARGENTINA/ USA, Eva Menasse A/ D, Maaza Mengiste ETHIOPIA/ USA, Lina Meruane CHILE, Adam Michnik PL, Zhanna Nemtsova RUSSIA/ D, Peter Schneider D, Edward Snowden USA/ RUSSIA [via Skype], Eliot Weinberger USA



09.09.17 SATURDAY


How can we realign our world in the face of increasing mobility and migration flows? What alternative forms of affiliation and belonging exist beyond that of the nation state?

With: Bernd Pickert D [Moderation], Ulrike Guérot D, Lorenzo Marsili I, Michael Zürn D



What can be said of human rights in and around Eastern Europe and how can the authoritarian trend be countered?

With: Volker Weichsel D [Moderation], Felix Ackermann D, Boris Chersonskij UKRAINE, Jevgenij Demenok UKRAINE/ CZ, Artur Klinau BELARUS, Tomas Venclova LITHUANIA/ USA



Have neoliberalism and growing inequality helped to promote the rise of populist movements and demagogues? How can these challenges be approached?

With: Thomas Meaney USA [Moderation], Ivan Krastev BG/ A, Jasmin Siri D, Ellen Ueberschär D


11:30am FOCUS USA

The election of Donald Trump represents more than the shattering of the American democratic system. How can its influence be limited?

With: Christian Lammert D [Moderation], Nancy Foner USA, Maaza Mengiste ETHIOPIA/ USA, Eliot Weinberger USA



Authoritarian policies at home and provocative actions in the fragile balance of international relations: How can democracy withstand this level of pressure?

With: Volker Weichsel D [Moderation], Ralf Fücks D, Victor Erofeev RUSSIA, Zhanna Nemtsova RUSSIA/ D, Michail Ryklin RUSSIA/ D



Digital technologies are increasingly having a massive effect on the formation of opinions and on social behaviour. Can this development be countered at all on an individual level?

With: Thomas Meaney USA [Moderation], Sarah Diefenbach D, Jeanette Hofmann D, Eva Menasse A/ D



How can the different conflicts in the Middle East be resolved so that long-term stability and a democratic future can be created?

With: Stefan Weidner D [Moderation], Selma Dabbagh PALESTINE/ GB, Leyla Dakhli TUNISIA/ F, Bashshar Haydar LEBANON, Khaled Khalifa SYRIA



How can we approach rampant youth unemployment and create better prospects for the younger generation?

With: Vincent-Immanuel Herr D [Moderation], Marie Rosenkranz D, Saraya Gomis D, Patrícia Carreira P



How can the rights of linguistic minorities be protected and at the same time a common discourse be established?

With: Marko Martin D [Moderation], Vladimir Arsenijević SERBIA, Boris Chersonskij UKRAINE, Bora Ćosić SERBIA/ D, Gábor Schein H



How can the role of (inter)national legal institutions be strengthened in the face of abuse of power and unpunished crimes?

With: Julia Eckert CH/ D [Moderation], Gerhart Baum D, Wolfgang Kaleck D, Geert Mak NL



With the support of large numbers of its citizens, Turkey is heading towards a dictatorship. How can this alarming development be countered from within and from the outside?

With: Doris Akrap D [Moderation], Ramazan Aksoy TURKEY/ KURDISTAN, Hayko Bagdat TURKEY/ ARMENIA, Edhem Eldem TURKEY, Peter Schneider D



Where does democratic self-protection end and anti-democratic censorship begin? What freedom do we mean exactly with regard to the right to a difference of opinion?

With: Wolfgang Herles D [Moderation], Esra Küçük D, Ulrich Schreiber D, Bernd Stegemann D



Raging political disenchantment and feelings of powerlessness – what can be said of participatory democracy and how can new spaces for its practice be created?

With: Julia Eckert CH/ D [Moderation], Tanja Gabriele Baudson D, Jón Gnarr ICELAND, Florian Köhl D, Pia Mancini ARGENTINA/ USA, Claus Martin D, Andre Wilkens D



The EU remains in crisis: How could a truly open and united Europe look? And how can citizens be given more of a stake in shaping its design?

With: Daphne Büllesbach D [Moderation], Carlo Galli I, Stefan Hertmans B, Ivana Sajko CROATIA/ D, Daniel Röder D



What kind of democracy and freedom do we mean when we are talking about them? And who are the enemies, who are the friends of an open society?

With: Ulrich Schreiber D [Moderation], Wolf Biermann D



In his speech, Frank A. Meyer considers omissions of civil politics and pleads for recapturing the bourgeois via radical thinking.

With: Frank A. Meyer CH/ D


10.09.17 SUNDAY


How can democracy be better practised in schools and how can educators give students the tools for resisting populism?

With: Martin Spiewak D [Moderation], Saraya Gomis D, Rebecca Raue D, Marina Weisband UKRAINE/ D, Daniel-Pascal Zorn D



How can the phenomenon of »groupthink« be overcome and differing interests be reconciled?

With: Priya Basil GB/ D [Moderation], Julia Eckert CH/ D, Aladin El-Mafaalani D, Mohsin Hamid PAKISTAN, Bashshar Haydar LEBANON



What could a constructive interaction between the Western and the Islamic worlds look like, and how can democracy be strengthened in both?

With: Stefan Weidner D [Moderation], Seyran Ateş D, Azouz Begag F, Esra Küçük D



Human actions are having grave consequences for our environment and climate. Can the challenges be dealt with democratically?

With: Christiane Grefe D [Moderation], Stefan Rahmstorf D, Barbara Unmüßig D, Harald Welzer D



In Nigeria the liberal struggle for a more functional, progressive democracy is met with anything from revulsion to violence. Who does this "democracy" work for?

With: Elnathan John NIGERIA



How can rising inequality and its anti-democratic effects be combated?

With: Christiane Grefe D [Moderation], Christian Felber D, Susan George USA/ F, Vincent-Immanuel Herr D



What do the protectionist measures and the restrictions on migrants proposed by Trump mean for Mexico and the border nations in Central America?

With: Michi Strausfeld D [Moderation], Arnoldo Gálvez Suárez GUATEMALA, Alberto Ruy Sánchez MEXICO



A look at Venezuela and Colombia and their current challenges and opportunities.

With: Michi Strausfeld D [Moderation], Alberto Barrera Tyszka VENEZUELA, Sérgio Álvarez COLOMBIA



How can the general insecurity caused by complex global problems be approached in a constructive way?

With: Stefan Willer D [Moderation], Gerd Hofielen, Ralf Fücks, Carlo Strenger



China’s economy and prosperity are growing while democratic freedom is nowhere to be seen. How sustainable is this model?

With: Volker Stanzel D [Moderation], Xiaolu Guo CHINA/ GB, Tienchi Martin-Liao CHINA/ D



Reactionary and chauvinistic attitudes are once again resurgent. Must women take the lead in defending the achievements that seemed secure?

With: Stefanie Lohaus D [Moderation], Ines Kappert D, Laurie Penny GB, Sharon Dodua Otoo D, Sadaf Saaz BANGLADESH



In his talk on India Shashi Tharoor explores the path that has led from colonialism to Hindu chauvinism under Prime Minister Modi.

Mit With: Michi Strausfeld D [Introduction], Shashi Tharoor INDIA



What is going on in Saxony? How can Pegida & Co. be stopped and the right-wing hegemony be broken?

With: Heike Geißler D, Heike Kleffner D



How can art and culture have an impact on society and be an effective means of defending democracy? Followed by music set by TM.

With: Priya Basil GB/ D [Moderation], Catherine Banner GB/ I, Katharina Grosse D, Elnathan John NIGERIA, Tameka Norris USA, Annika Reich D, A. L. Steiner USA, Tameka Norris



What is life really like under an authoritarian regime? Double reading and discussion with Nurcan Baysal and Engin Önder.

With: Georg Diez [Introduction], Murat Suner [Moderation], Nurcan Baysal, Engin Önder



Haus der Berliner Festspiele
Schaperstraße 24
10719 Berlin

+49 30 254 89-100, Monday to Friday, 2pm – 6pm


Single Ticket: 6€
Whole congress: 25€
Pupils and unempolyed for free, please register at



All events will be in English. Events in German are indicated by [D].




FELIX ACKERMANN [D] is an historian and urban anthropologist with a focus on Eastern Europe. The author of »Mein litauischer Führerschein« [2017, tr. My Lithuanian Driving License] also developed the »Geschichtswerkstatt Europa« funding programme.

DORIS AKRAP [D] is a journalist and since 2008 an editor at »taz«. She co-organises the anti-racist reading show »Hate Poetry« and is actively involved in the campaign for the release of Deniz Yücel.

RAMAZAN AKSOY [Turkey/ Kurdistan] is a theatre producer and author. He is actively involved in the independent »Association of Bridging Peoples« as an advocate for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

SERGIO ÁLVAREZ [Colombia] is a writer and journalist. He writes for »La Vanguardia« and »El País«. His novels tackle themes of violence and the Colombian drug trade.

ARJUN APPADURAI [India] is an anthropologist and a professor at the New York University in New York. He is a visiting professor at the Department of European Ethnology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and has published extensively on the topic of globalisation.

VLADIMIR ARSENIJEVIĆ [Serbia] is an author and cultural worker. He won the NIN Award for his first anti-war novel »In the Hold« [1994]. Since then he published ten more books.

SEYRAN ATEŞ [D] is a lawyer who opened the liberal Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosche in Berlin in 2017. She is spokeswoman of the European citizen’s initiative »Stop Extremism!«, which was founded in July 2017 and calls for a European anti-extremism directive.

HAYKO BAGDAT [Turkey/ Armenia] is a journalist and staff member of the independent Turkish internet magazine »Diken«. He lives in exile in Berlin, where he, together with Can Dündar, founded the bilingual journalist platform »Özgürüz«.

CATHERINE BANNER [GB] is an author. In 2016, she published her first novel »The House at the Edge of Night«, which tells the story of the financial crisis from the perspective of an Italian family.

ALBERTO BARRERA TYSZKA [Venezuela] is a journalist, screenwriter, and author. His novel about the dictatorship in Venezuela, »Patria o muerte« [2015], was nominated for the 2017 »Internationaler Literaturpreis«.

PRIYA BASIL [GB/ D] is a novelist and essayist. A co-founder of »Authors for Peace«, she has been engaged in various political initiatives, most recently launching a campaign for a European Public Holiday. She worked with the ilb to conceptualize and curate the »International Congress for Democracy and Freedom«.

TANJA GABRIELE BAUDSON [D] is a psychologist and literary scholar. She specialises and has published widely in the area of talent research. She is a co-initiator of the »March for Science« in Germany.

GERHART BAUM [D] is an author, lawyer, and politician. The former Federal Minister of the Interior and leader of the German delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is an advocate for citizen rights and opposes mass surveillance.

NURCAN BAYSAL [Turkey] is a columnist and author of several books. She is a committed activist and has recently been active in making the voices of people heard in demolished cities of Kurdistan.

AZOUZ BEGAG [F] is a writer, sociologist, and economist. He has published numerous novels and non-fiction books. From 2005 to 2007 he was France’s Delegate Minister for Equal Opportunities.

WOLF BIERMANN [D] is a poet, singer-songwriter. Most radical critic of the one-party dictatorship in the GDR, exiled in 1976. He provokingly weighs in on daily politics with his sharp-tongued essays.

DAPHNE BÜLLESBACH [D] is director of »European Alternatives«, an organisation that promotes transnational politics and culture. She actively supports efforts to promote inter-culturalism and fight right-wing extremism.

PATRÍCIA CARREIRA [P] is a member of the »Academia Cidadã«, which was founded by the organizers of the »Geração à rasca« [»distressed generation«] protest, on the 12th of March 2011, being convened without any political party or union supports.

AMIT CHAUDHURI [India] is a writer and musician. He has a PhD in English and taught at the Oxford, Cambridge, and Columbia universities. His novels have won numerous awards.

BORIS CHERSONSKIJ [Ukraine] is a psychiatrist and writer. In his poetry collection » Semejnyj Archiv« [tr. family archive, 1997], he tells the story of a 20th century Russian Jewish family.

BORA ĆOSIĆ [Serbia/ D] has published more than thirty novels. In 2002 he was awarded the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding.

SELMA DABBAGH [Palestine/ GB] is a writer and human rights attorney. Her literary work focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

LEYLA DAKHLI [Tunesia/ F] is an historian who specialises in the history of Arabic culture and society. She works at The National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris. She is currently based at the Centre Mark Bloch in Berlin.

JEVGENIJ DEMENOK [Ukraine/ CZ] is a writer and journalist who has published numerous texts and books. He is the founder of the literature studio »Zelenaya Lampa« and the »Filosofsky Parohod« philosophy club in Odessa.

SARAH DIEFENBACH [D] is Professor of Economic and Organisational Psychology at the LMU in Munich. She co-authored the book »Digitale Depression: Wie neue Medien unser Glücksempfinden verändern« [2016, tr. Digital Depression: How New Media Change Our Sense of Happiness].

GEORG DIEZ [D] is a columnist for »Spiegel Online«, co-founder of the digital journalism platform, and author of »Martin Luther, mein Vater und ich« (2016, tr. Martin Luther, My Father, and I].

SHARON DODUA OTOO [GB/ D] is a writer, activist, and editor of the book series »Witnessed«. Her texts focus on themes of feminism and racism. She won the 2016 Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize.

JULIA ECKERT [CH/ D] is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. Her research interests are in legal anthropology and the anthropology of democracy.

EDHEM ELDEM [Turkey] is a historian focusing on late Ottoman history, with a particular emphasis on Westernization and modernity. He teaches at the Department of History, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul.

ALADIN EL-MAFAALANI [D] is Professor of Political Science at the Fachhochschule Münster. His research focuses on migration, integration, education, and youth.

VICTOR EROFEEV [Russia] is a writer and critic of contemporary Russian politics. His novel »Russian Beauty« [1990] has been translated into more than 20 languages.

CHRISTIAN FELBER [A] is a political activist and author and founding member of Attac Austria. In 2010, he initiated the international »Economy for the Common Good« movement as well as the project »Bank for the Common Good«.

NANCY FONER [USA] is a sociologist and Professor of Sociology at Hunter College in New York, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author of numerous books. The focus of her research is on immigration.

RALF FÜCKS [D] is a politician [Bündnis 90/Die Grünen] and was on the board of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for many years. His book »Freiheit verteidigen - Wie wir den Kampf um die offene Gesellschaft gewinnen« [tr. Defending Freedom – How We Can Win the Fight for an Open Society] was published in 2017.

CARLO GALLI [I] is a philosopher, sociologist, and politician. He was a member of the »Partito Democratico« until 2015, when he switched to the »Sinistra Italiana - Sinistra Ecologia Libertà«. Since 2017, he has been actively engaged in the »Movimento Democratico e Progressista« [tr. Democratic and Progressive Movement].

ARNOLDO GÁLVEZ SUÁREZ [Guatemala] is a writer and communications coordinater for »interpeace«, an international peace-building organisation. His novel »Die Rache der Mercedes Lima« [German translation, original »Puente adentro«] is being released in Germany in 2017.

HEIKE GEISSLER [D] is a writer and translator. She received much attention for her 2014 reportage novel »Saisonarbeit« [tr. Seasonal Work] about the working conditions at Amazon. In 2015, she addressed the public in Saxony in a fictional inauguration video as the new Minister-President.

SUSAN GEORGE [USA/ F] is a political scientist, activist and author of 17 books on global inequality, most recently »Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations Are Seizing Power« [2015]. She is president of the Transnational Institute [TNI] and honorary president of Attac-France.

JÓN GNARR [Iceland] is a comedian and writer who reached international recognition as Mayor of Reykjavík [2010-2014] with punk-rock roots.

SARAYA GOMIS [D] is a secondary school teacher and teaches at the Ernst-Reuter-Schule in Berlin-Wedding. She is actively engaged in education policy and fights against discrimination in schools.

CHRISTIANE GREFE [D] is reporter and editor for »Die Zeit« and author of numerous non-fiction books. Her last publications: »Global Gardening« and, together with 4 other authors, »Was tun? Demokratie versteht sich nicht von selbst«.

KATHARINA GROSSE [D] is an acclaimed artist and Professor of Painting at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Her work with spray-painting challenges spatial boundaries and has been exhibited worldwide.

ULRIKE GUÉROT [D] is Professor of European Policy and the Study of Democracy at the Danube University Krems and founder of the »European Democracy Lab« [EDL] in Berlin. Her book »Warum Europa eine Republik werden muss! Eine politische Utopie« [tr. Why Europe Must Become a Republic! A Political Utopia] was published in 2016.

XIAOLU GUO [China/ GB] is a writer and filmmaker and has lived in London since 2002 to escape Chinese censorship. She is acclaimed for both her literary and film work.

MOHSIN HAMID [Pakistan] is a writer and journalist who regularly contributes to international newspapers. His award-winning novels have been translated into over 30 languages.

BASHAR HAYDAR [Lebanon] is Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut. He specialises in moral theory, applied ethics, and aesthetics.

WOLFGANG HERLES [D] is a television journalist and a writer. For many years, he moderated the ZDF programme »Aspekte«.

VINCENT-IMMANUEL HERR [D] is part of the »Herr & Speer« team of writers and researches European youth and generational justice. As an activist, he initiated the projects »Young European Voices« and »FreeInterrail«.

STEFAN HERTMANS [B] deals with the history of Europe in his novels, eg. his most recent novel »The Convert« [2016]. He has published numerous texts and essays commenting current affairs and contemporary issues.

ISABELL HOFFMANN [D] is the project manager of »eupinions«, the European opinion research project of the Bertelsmann Foundation. She used to be a newspaper editor, e.g.  for the political resort of »DIE ZEIT«.

GERD HOFIELEN [D] is a researcher of ethical business models and a consultant with a focus on the ethical development of companies. He is an activist of the »Economy for the Common Good« and organizes conferences for humanistic management practices.

JEANETTE HOFMANN [D] is a political scientist and Professor of Internet Politics at the FU Berlin. She also heads the WZB project group »The Internet Policy Field« and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

ELNATHAN JOHN [Nigeria] is a lawyer, writer, and satirist. Among other things he explores pastoralism and gender. In 2017 his first novel »Born on a Tuesday« is forthcoming in German.

WOLFGANG KALECK [D] is a lawyer specialising in Human Rights and international criminal law and author [»Unternehmen vor Gericht. Globale Kämpfe für Menschenrechte«,tr: Taking corporations to court: Global struggles for human rights]. He is founder and General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin.

INES KAPPERT [D] directs the Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Previously she was an editor at the »taz«.

KHALED KHALIFA [Syria] lives in Damascus and writes screenplays, novels, and poetry. His novel »No Knives in the Kitchens of This City« [2016] won numerous prizes.

HEIKE KLEFFNER [D] writes as an expert on neo-Nazi violence for the »taz«. She is a research associate for the Linke [Left] faction of the German Parliament and was an advisor for the NSU-Untersuchungsausschuss.

ARTUR KLINAU [Belarus] is an architect, writer, chief editor and publisher. He organises the literature festival »Kaptaruny« and publishes and edits »pARTisan«, the only magazine for modern art in Belarus.

FLORIAN KÖHL [D] is an architect and actively supports the continued critical discussion on urban development. He designed and helped build the new three-storey structure »Die Laube«– which has been described as a »political provocation« - for the community-run Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin.

IVAN KRASTEV [BG/ AU] is a political scientist. He chairs the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and is a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences [IWM] in Vienna. His book »After Europe« was published in 2017.

ESRA KÜÇÜK [D] is on the board of the Maxim Gorki Theatre and director of the Gorki Forum. She initiated and directs the Germany-wide educational programme »Junge Islam Konferenz«.

CHRISTIAN LAMMERT [D] is Professor of North American Politics and Policy at the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin.

STEFANIE LOHAUS [D] is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the feminist magazine »Missy Magazine«. She is a freelance journalist and author. In 2015, she published »Papa kann auch stillen« [tr. Dad Can Breast-Feed Too] together with her partner.

GEERT MAK [NL] is an historian, writer, and publicist. He has written numerous non-fiction books, including »In Europe« [2004], and is known for his vivid writing style. In 2008 he was awarded the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding.

PIA MANCINI [Argentina/ USA] is an expert on »liquid democracy«. She co-founded the online app »DemocracyOS«, which helps Argentinian citizens take an active part in democratic processes.

ROBERTO MANGABEIRA UNGER [Brazil/ USA] is a Professor at the Harvard Law School. From 2007 to 2009 and in 2015 he served as Brazil’s Minister for Strategic Affairs.

LORENZO MARSILI [I] is an author and co-founder of European Alternatives. In 2010, he initiated the »Transeuropa Festival« and co-founded, with Yanis Varoufakis amongst others, the »Democracy in Europe Movement 2025« [DiEM25].

CLAUS MARTIN [D] is a director, actor, and composer and, together with Tanja Baudson, initiator of the »March of Science« in Germany.

MARKO MARTIN [D] is a writer and publicist who writes, among others, for »Die Welt« and the »Neue Zürcher Zeitung«. As a member of the PEN Centre for German-speaking authors abroad, he is actively involved in the »Writers in Prison« committee.

TIENCHI MARTIN-LIAO [China/ D] is an author, translator, and publicist. Since 2009 she has chaired the PEN Centre in Taipei. She is an advocate for human rights in China.

THOMAS MEANEY [USA] earned his doctorate in history from Columbia University. He is a Fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam and writes for »The New Yorker«, the »London Review of Books«, and the »Guardian«.

EVA MENASSE [A/ D] is a novelist and politically active journalist. She is a supporter of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union.

MAAZA MENGISTE [Ethiopia/ USA] is a novelist and essayist whose themes include migration, war, photography, and human rights. Her second novel, set during Fascist Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, is forthcoming.

LINA MERUANE [Chile] is a fiction writer and essayist who teaches at New York University. In 2012 she received the Anna Seghers-Preis. She is currently a grant recipient of the Berlin artist programme of the DAAD.

FRANK A. MEYER [CH/ D] is regarded as the sharpest analyst of the Swiss political field. For 36 years he was host of the 3Sat discussion format » Vis-à-vis «. His column on German politics is published in the magazine »Cicero«. Along with his wife, cultural journalist Lilith Frey, he lives in Berlin.

ADAM MICHNIK [PL]  is a journalist, essayist, and editor-in-chief of the largest Polish daily newspaper »Gazeta Wyborcza«. The former dissident has been recognized numerous times for his political engagement.

ZHANNA NEMTSOVA [Russia/ D] founded the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom in 2015 in memory of her murdered father. Since 2015, she has been a journalist for »Deutsche Welle« in Bonn.

TAMEKA NORRIS [USA] is a multimedia and performance artist whose work engages with gender, race, and identity issues. She has studied at Yale University School of Art.

ENGIN ÖNDER [Turkey] is the editor and founder of »140 journos«, a Turkish citizen journalism organization on Twitter. »140 journos« is now launching an English-language service for journalism institutions.

LAURIE PENNY [GB] became internationally known for her book »Meat Market. Female Flesh Under Capitalism« [2011]. The journalist and author has published six books and writes for the »Guardian« and the »Independent«, among others.

BERND PICKERT [D] is an editor for foreign affairs at »taz«. His specialty areas are the USA, Latin America, and human rights.

STEFAN RAHMSTORF [D] is a Professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He is one of the authors of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

SHALINI RANDERIA [India] is Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology in Geneva, where she directs the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. She researches the anthropology of globalization, modernity and the state focussing on law, dispossession and the commons in a post-colonial perspective.

REBECCA RAUE [D] is an artist from Berlin whose work has been exhibited internationally. She has realized various projects and workshops connecting the art world, schools and children.

ANNIKA REICH [D] is a writer and co-founder of the initiative »WIR MACHEN DAS«, which approaches migration as a gain for society. In her work, the writer and columnist examines the crisis-laden everyday life of affluent society.

DANIEL RÖDER [D] is a lawyer and founder of the organisation »Pulse of Europe«, which advocates for a democratic Europe.

MARIE ROSENKRANZ [D] is project manager for the »Demokratie braucht Dich« [tr. Democracy needs You] campaign by Polis180, a grassroots think tank for foreign and European policy.

ALBERTO RUY SÁNCHEZ [Mexico] is a writer, essayist, and editor who has written award-winning essays on literature, art, philosophy, erotica, and film.

MICHAIL RYKLIN [Russia/ D] is a writer and Professor of Philosophy at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow. His publications are dedicated to the analysis of systems of terror in Russia.

SADAF SAAZ [GB/ Bangladesh] is a poet, writer, women’s rights advocate, and entrepreneur. She is the director and co-founder of the literary festival »Dhaka Lit Fest«.

IVANA SAJKO [Croatia/ D] is a writer, dramaturge and performer. Her work addresses social issues, merging political theory and art. She is a part of a Croatian initiative of cultural workers against right wing revisionism.

GÁBOR SCHEIN [H] is a writer, translator, and teacher of Hungarian literary history. He has published numerous collections of poetry, prose texts, plays, and works of literary scholarship.

PETER SCHNEIDER [D] is a writer of fictionbooks, essays and screenplays. He has published twenty novels and non-fiction books, some of which have been translated into 25 languages. He teaches at American universities.

ULRICH SCHREIBER [D] is the founder and director of the »internationales literaturfestival berlin«. Together with Priya Basil, he curates the »International Congress for Democracy and Freedom«.

JASMIN SIRI [D] is visiting Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bielefeld. Among other topics, she researches social media as a political space.

EDWARD SNOWDEN [USA/ Russia] is an expert on cybersecurity and former intelligence officer of the CIA, NSA, and DIA. In 2013 he revealed the NSA’s private records on billions of individuals. He has received awards for courage, integrity, and public service, and sits on the board of Freedom of the Press Foundation.

MARTIN SPIEWAK [D] is a scientific journalist and member of the »Zeit« Berlin office. He specialises in education policy, science, and research.

VOLKER STANZEL [D] is a former Political Director at the Federal Foreign Office and former German Ambassador to China and Japan. Since 2005 he has been working at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

BERND STEGEMANN [D] is an author and Professor of Dramaturgy at the Hochschule Ernst Busch in Berlin as well as a dramaturge [as of 9/2017 for the Berliner Ensemble]. His book »Das Gespenst des Populismus. Ein Essay zur politischen Dramaturgie« [tr. The Ghost of Populism. An Essay on Political Dramaturgy] was published in 2017.

A.L. STEINER [USA] is a multimedia artist, author, teacher, member of the collective »Chicks on Speed«, and co-curator of »Ridykeulous«, which supports the dissemination of queer and feminist art.

MICHI STRAUSFELD [D] is a passionate mediator between Germany and Latin America. She is an editor of numerous anthologies of Latin-American literature.

CARLO STRENGER [CH] is a philosopher, practicing psychoanalyst, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Tel Aviv. He has published numerous books and articles, among others in Israel’s leading liberal newspaper »Haaretz«.

MURAT SUNER [D] is co-founder of the digital journalism platforms and He oversees the publishing programme »60pages Istanbul 2017«.

SHASHI THAROOR [India] is a writer and politician. After 29 years at the UN, culminating as Under-Secretary-General from 2002 to 2007, he was elected a Member of Parliament and twice served as government. He has authored 16 books, fiction and non-fiction, and won numerous awards.

ELLEN UEBERSCHÄR [D] is the President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. She previously served as General Secretary of the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag for 11 years.

BARBARA UNMÜSSIG [D] is the President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. In addition to publishing numerous books and newspaper articles, she is an active advocate for global justice, climate policy, and gender policy.

TOMAS VENCLOVA [Lituania/ USA] teaches Russian literature at Yale University. His essays and poems have won many awards.

VOLKER WEICHSEL [D] is a political scientist, translator and editor of the magazine »Osteuropa«, a monthly dealing with politics and culture in Central and Eastern Europe.

STEFAN WEIDNER [D] is an Islam scholar, writer, and translator of Arabic poetry. His numerous works focus on themes of the Arabic world. Until 2016, he was the editor of »Fikrun wa Fann«.

ELIOT WEINBERGER [USA] is an award-winning essayist and translator. He gained recognition in Germany for his works »Karmic Traces«, 2000], »What I Heard About Iraq«, 2005], and »An Elemental Thing«, 2007], and performances at the ilb and his publications in Lettre International.

MARINA WEISBAND [Ukraine/ D] is a psychologist and was the manager of the Pirate Party. In her book »Wir nennen es Politik« [2013, tr. We Call It Politics] she develops new possibilities for democracy via citizen participation.

HARALD WELZER [D] is a social psychologist. His book »Die smarte Diktatur. Der Angriff auf unsere Freiheit« [tr. The Smart Dictatorship: The Attack on Our Freedom] was published in 2016. He is co-founder and director of the non-profit »FUTURZWEI. Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit« and on the board of the »Die offene Gesellschaft« initiative.

ANDRE WILKENS [D] is an author [»Der diskrete Charme der Bürokratie. Gute Nachrichten aus Europa«, 2017]. He is co-founder and director of the initiative »Die Offene Gesellschaft«.

STEFAN WILLER [D] is Professor at the Institute for Cultural History and Theory, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Associate Director of the Center for Literary and Cultural Research.

MATHIAS ZEISKE [D] works at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. He is an editor of literary magazine »Edit« as well as visiting lecturer at various colleges.

DANIEL-PASCAL ZORN [D] is a philosopher who focusses on dialectical conversation techniques. In his book 'Logics for Democrats' he analyses populist forms of argumentation

MICHAEL ZÜRN [D] directs the research unit »Global Governance« at the Berlin Social Science Centre. The Professor of International Relations specialises in denationalisation and globalisation.


Foto Credits

Felix Ackermann © Jan Zappner, Ramazan Aksoy © Denis Bauer, Arjun Appadurai © Unbekannt, Vladimir Arsenijevic © Marija Piroški, Catherine Banner © Philip Hunton, Lukas Bärfuss © Frederic Meyer, Alberto Barrera Tyszka © Christina Marcano, Priya Basil © Hartwig Klappert, Tanja Gabriele Baudson © Claus Martin, Gerhart Baum © Wolfgang Prange / Gerhart Baum, Fethi Benslama © Laurence Geai, Wolf Biermann © Hans Scherhaufer, Daphne Büllesbach © Jakob Weingartner, Patrícia Carreira © Shady Issa, Amit Chaudhuri © Geoff Pugh, Boris Chersonskij © Zhvalevskyi Bogdan, Clarisse Cossais © Bettina Straub, Bora Ćosić © Bogdan Pedović , Can Dündar © Claude Truong-Ngo, Selma Dabbagh © Rowan Griffiths, Leyla Dakhli © Caroline Garrido, Sarah Diefenbach © Daniel Ullrich, Georg Diez © Marcus Gaab, Edhem Eldem © Sedef Eldem, Aladin El-Mafaalani © FH Münster / Wilfried Gerharz, Victor Erofeev / Viktor Jerofejew © Karina Orlova, Christian Felber © Robert Gortana, Nancy Foner © Unbekannt, Arnoldo Gálvez Suaréz © Sandra Sebastián, Philip Geisler © Luise Schmidt, Heike Geißler © Adrian Sauer, Susan George © TNI, Jón Gnarr © Jóhann Páll Valdimarsson, Christiane Grefe © Die Zeit, Katharina Grosse © Stefan Klüter, Ulrike Guérot © Donau Universität Krems, Xiaolu Guo © Christian Sinibald, Mohsin Hamid © Ed Kashi, Bashshar Haydar © Ammar Haydar, Vincent-Immanuel Herr © Lea Städler, Stefan Hertmans © Michiel Hendryckx, Isabell Hoffmann © Bertelsmann Stiftung, Jeanette Hofmann © David Aussenhofer, Elnathan John © Alla Sieg, Wolfgang Kaleck © ECCHR / Nihad Nino Pušija, Ines Kappert © Stephan Röhl, Khaled Khalifa © Aiham Dib, Artur Klinau © Taciana Arcimovic, Florian Köhl © Unbekannt, Ivan Krastev © IWM, Christian Lammert © Kerstin Petermann, Stefanie Lohaus © Paula Winkler, Geert Mak © Merlijn Doomernik, Pia Mancini © Joao Pina, Lorenzo Marsili © Valeria Tomasulo, Claus Martin © Tanja Gabriele Baudson, Tienchi Martin-Liao © Tienchi Martin-Liao, Thomas Meaney © Stephen Wertheim, Eva Menasse © Jürgen Bauer, Maaza Mengiste © Simon Hurst, Lina Meruane © Daniel Mordsinski, Frank A. Meyer © Geri Born / Ringier AG, Adam Michnik © Bartosz Bobkowski, Sharon Dodua Otoo © Ralf Steinberger, Laurie Penny © Jon Cartwright, Stefan Rahmstorf © Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Shalini Randeria © Dejan Petrovic, Rebecca Raue © Gerhard Kassner, Marie Rosenkranz © Johannes Sternberger, Annika Reich © Peter-Andreas Hassiepen, Alberto Ruy Sánchez © Nina Subin, Mikhail Ryklin © Jürgen Bauer, Sadaf Saaz © Syed Latif Hossain, Ivana Sajko © Hassan Abdelghani, Gábor Schein © Sophie Kandaouroff, Peter Schneider © Hartwig Klappert, Edward Snowden © Laura Poitras / ACLU, Ulrich Schreiber © Ali Ghandtschi, Jasmin Siri © Jasmin Siri, Martin Spiewak © Moritz Küstner, Bernd Stegemann © Katrin Ribbe, A.L. Steiner © Matthew Leifheit, Michi Strausfeld © Hartwig Klappert, Carlo Strenger © Ofer Chen, Murat Suner © Dominik Wojcik, Shashi Tharoor © Seamus Murphy, Ellen Ueberschär © Stephan Röhl, Barbara Unmüßig © Bettina Keller, Tomas Venclova © Tatiana Milovidova-Venclova, Volker Weichsel © David Oliveira, Eliot Weinberger © Nina Subin, Marina Weisband © Lars Borges, Harald Welzer © vhw, Andre Wilkens © Gerlind Klemens, Daniel-Pascal Zorn © Anette Hausschild, Michael Zürn © David Ausserhofer