I work at the point where policy- making and history intersect. As a historian, I bring academic study together with decisions about practi- cal policymaking. Here at the Kissinger institute we look for topics or moments in the past whose research will be of benefit to the present. This is known as ap- plied history.
But of course, in recent months an impor- tant role has also been played by the cultivation of trans atlantic relations. Wir geben keine Hand- lungsempfehlungen, wie es die Politikberatung tut. Nur wer gut informiert ist, kann auch gut entscheiden. Welches Ziel verbindet sich mit der Professur? Sie soll Expertinnen und Experten aus unterschiedlichen Be- reichen zusammenbringen und Netzwerke zwischen What distinguishes applied history from conventional policy advice?
We do not recommend specific measures in the same way that policy advisors do.
We provide a historical context, without which the people in charge are unable to take meaningful decisions. You can only make good choices if you are well-informed. In our research, for example, we examine strategies and analyse statecraft in an attempt to show what has led to good negotiation outcomes and compromises. What is the objective of the professorship? It aims to bring together experts from different fields and to create networks of policymakers, historians, political scientists and experts in international relations.
The 9. Gelingt Ihnen das? Es ist auf jeden Fall viel zu tun. Es wird schon in der Schule viel weniger Weltge- schichte unterrichtet.
Das interessiert mei- ne Studierenden sehr. Sie saugen das regelrecht auf. E overarching philosophy is applicability, which is why my DAAD postdoctoral students and I also organ- ise many events with active and former politicians, not only in Washington but also in Brussels or Berlin.
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Some of these are public, while others are intended for our students or the think-tank scene. Overall, it is im- portant to be visible and to ensure that our research findings are noticed — especially in areas where they are relevant to current policymaking. Will you succeed in that? There is certainly a lot to be done. To me, American students seem far more ahistoric than their European counterparts. Much less world history is even taught at school here. For many, Europe is sim- ply a block.
It is up to me to educate them about national differences, borderlines and historically neuralgic issues. I try to explain why Germans behave the way they do, for example when it is a question of military operations. My students find this very interesting and really lap up all the information I can give them. Welches Bild haben Ihre Studierenden von Deutsch- land? Das speist sich sehr aus der Presse.
One that is fed to a large extent by the press.
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Es fehlt schlicht an Vorwissen. Quite simply, they lack background knowledge. Da ist Europa sehr weit weg. Do your attempts at explanation also have an impact beyond the academic milieu in Washington? Person- ally, I can probably contribute little on a nationwide level. However, there are many DAAD lecturers at universities all over the country, and all of them are making a contribution.
It is import- ant to remember in this context that people on the US West Coast orient themselves much more towards Asia, across the Pacific Ocean. For them, Europe feels a very long way away. Dazu hatten beide auch immer den Blick auf die Welt insgesamt gerichtet. E Can your professorship help ensure that Ameri- cans do not lose sight of Europe entirely? I hope that I can convey to my students that international relations are not only about the relationship between the USA and China, and that they should also look in the other direction. They should not forget why Europe was and still is so important for America.
We are allies who in some cases speak the same language, pursue the same interests and share a similar cultural back- ground. The majority of Americans have European roots — all the way up to the president, whose family came from Germany. You wrote a well-regarded book about Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor.
Were you able to learn something from him that benefits you in your academic work? What is more, both always focused on the world as a whole. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Washington. Kristina Spohr lehrt an der London School of Economics.
She gained her B. Kissinger Center for Glo- bal Affairs in Washington. Kristina Spohr teaches at the London School of Economics. Es reicht nicht, wenn Grund- und Freiheitsrechte sowie grundlegende Prinzipien wie Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit auf dem Papier stehen. Auch die deutsche Wissenschaft will ihren Beitrag dazu leisten.
The celebrations had one unmistakeable mes- sage in common: the success of the German constitu- tion did not come about by chance. It is not enough to set down basic rights and freedoms, and fundamental principles such as democracy and the rule of law, on paper. They must be practised and if necessary also defended — especially when an open and liberal society is facing increasing challenges.
The Frankfurt Constitution of and the Weimar Constitution of had already stipulated that science and research should be protected against state constraints and restrictions. Admittedly, research has always given rise to fears, yet revolution- ary advances in fields such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering have seen distrust of academia reaching new dimensions, especially in view of the mobilisation potential of social media. The growing commercialisation of science and the resulting utilitar- ian considerations entail risks for the freedom of research and teaching.
A funding policy that is inter- ested solely in utility would jeopardise basic research considerably, for instance. After all, such research is based on the freedom to explore connections — without the constraint of having to immediately develop a cor- responding product.
The increased internationalisa- tion of science and research can also have an impact on academic freedom.
A high degree of freedom for example in Germany and limited freedom in another country could hamper collaboration in bilateral projects. Even in European states research- ers have become a target for governments that wish to protect themselves from or openly attack un wanted findings. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said that the subject of academic freedom is important or even very important to them.
At a DAAD meeting that was held in Heidelberg in May, around schol- arship holders from 90 countries joined experts in a discussion of the ethical, technical and political aspects of academic freedom. Another topic were the challenges for an international academic dialogue.
Answers can only be found if academics all over the world are able to. Mehr als 90 Prozent der Befragten ist Wis- senschaftsfreiheit wichtig oder sogar sehr wichtig. There is for example the part it plays in generat- ing ideas and driving forward societal developments: it is essential for a democratic society that academics should be able to strive for new findings — without being subject to political influence — and to question established knowledge in the process.
Then there is the role of science and research as a reliable source of in- formation: there is simply no alternative when it comes to the formation of political opinion.