Global Community

The concept of our Global Community is collective in that its participants are a truly representative sample of the interdependent, interdisciplinary pluralistic nature of our current global demographic at the local, regional and international level. icd insists we must think both globally and locally- and act accordingly. Therefore, we have created community outreach programs allowing the local community to engage in diplomacy that has global impacts.

icd’s global community provides an arena where people can become a part of the diplomatic process in their own backyard. icd hosts regular roundtable discussions where regional leaders and cultural diplomats lead groups through discussion on specific issues that influence local and international communities.

The icd Global Community program assists at the local level to progressively develop and explore the need and appreciation of inter-personal and inter-cultural harmony as means towards representative governance, socio-economic progress, conflict prevention and a greater sense of inclusion, understanding and trust. 

The goal of the Global community is to give a powerful voice to those who are not usually heard and discuss their issues, concerns and most importantly ideas and then propagate those issues via our international platform. icd aims to foster a climate  where people can not help but feel intrinsically motivated to adopt a more positive and collective outlook.

icd’s monthly World cafe  meetings held in local cafes and  are informal,  interactive and thematically open gatherings, focusing on the promotion of intercultural exchange. As a conversational process, the World Café is an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. icd runs, in collaboration with Lexia international, a German-English tandem program, and host periodic guest lectures where an exceptional leader, writer, artist, cultural diplomat, etc., will discuss his or her work with the local community.

These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, or community. As a process, the World Café can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.

Program and Events Calendar

- A Study Tour for North Americans
The Europe as a Global Player is a joint program directed at university or college employees, political officials and company representatives who want to get a hands-on look at Germany and Europe. The aim of the European Host Program is to build strong working relationships between academics and professionals from North America and Germany through international and intercultural exchange.
Europe as a Global Player
“Education and Social Cohesion—Religion in the Classroom”
Panel discussion in cooperation with the Herbert-Quandt-Foundation/ALTANA AG
May 31, 2006
Berlin City Hall
The panel discussion “Education and Social Cohesion–Religions in the Classroom” was a joint project of the institute for cultural diplomacy (icd) and the Herbert-Quandt-Stiftung/ALTANA AG (HQS). The panel was a part of the Herbert-Quandt Foundation’s school contest “Trialogue in Schools—European Identity and Cultural Pluralism,” which was conducted for the second time this year in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin.

On May 31, the HQS hosted a daylong preparatory workshop for those schools interested in participating in the contest. The day ended with the panel discussion, in which school experts, teachers, Embassy representatives, and members of inter-religious and political institutions, discussed the opportunities that schools enjoy in enabling a fostering of intercultural understanding. The school contest aims to foster inter-religious dialogue and understanding in schools through integration of these issues into everyday lessons on a broad and interdisciplinary level.

The issue was particularly note-worthy, as the federal state of Berlin will introduce the subject of “Ethics” into the obligatory school curriculum. Though federal states are responsible for education, the state of Berlin attracts attention due to its dual status as state and federal capitol.

The panel discussion also provided a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas in an intercultural and interdisciplinary setting. icd plans to continue and to substantiate the debate long-term by organizing workshops and other events for teachers, as to provide them with continued access to experts in the field.

Roundtable Discussions

In icd’s roundtable discussions, 3-5 regional leaders and cultural diplomats are invited to serve as panelists for an evening of dialogue and debate. Discussion focuses on specific issues that influence local and international communities. Through these events, icd actively integrates Berlin's general public into ongoing, pertinent discussions of contemporary events, often with a focus on culture. What results is a platform through which citizens can become engaged in the diplomatic process and become a part of a network linking people and solutions to global problems and positive social change.
icd Roundtable Discussion
"Kreuzberg: An example for integration in Germany?"
February 8, 2006
This panel discussion, organized by the institute for cultural diplomacy, on the process of integration in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood, was a resounding success. Initially intended as a smaller roundtable event, the topic raised so much interest that the format was altered to a panel discussion in order to accommodate the over 120 individuals who registered.. Present on the panel were Ms. Emel Abidin Algan, former Chairman of the Islamische Frauenverein, Mr. Martin Düspohl, Director of the Kreuzberg Museum, Ms. Doris Nahawandi, Immigration Officer for the Berlin district Kreuzberg-Friederichshain, and Mr. Omid Nouripour, Bundesvorstand of the German Green Party.

Following opening remarks by icd Director and Founder, Mark C. Donfried, and icd Program Coordinator Tülay Bilgen, Mr. Düspohl provided the audience with a brief history of Kreuzberg, focusing on its phases of isolation and integration in the last 50 years. The other panelists took the opportunity to provide their own opening comments, initially focusing on their personal definitions of integration.

Additional topics explored throughout the course of the evening included benefits and drawbacks of bilingual environments, the necessity of strong German language skills in entering the job market in Germany, the current status of Germany’s education system, the lack of consistency in pedagogy for bilingual students, the Gesinnungsprüfung in Baden-Württemberg, and the current dispute over political cartoons published in Denmark and Norway depicting the prophet Mohammed.

The evening rallied much interest and fostered dialogue on many hotly debated and culturally sensitive topics. Following the overwhelming interest and success of the event, icd hopes to plan a series of similar roundtable discussions in the coming months focusing on more specific aspects of cultural integration and diversity.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Germany and America: Perspectives on Islam and Muslims in Politics Today
June 22, 2005
In collaboration with the Institut für Internationale Politik, the institute for cultural diplomacy had the pleasure of welcoming Edward A. Bruley of the U.S. Congress and Sarmad Hussain of the German Parliament to join in leading a roundtable discussion on perspectives of Islam and Muslims in today’s politics. As Chief of Staff for Senator David Bonior, the former democratic whip in the United States Congress, Bruley played a major role in advising Bonior and in helping him to earn a reputation for progressive policy initiatives in the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Europe. Mr. Hussain, of German and Pakistani descent, has been the foreign policy advisor and Chief of Staff to Klaus-Werner Jonas, an SPD-party Member of the German Parliament, since 2001.

These two influential political figures rallied much enthusiasm from the audience and led a fruitful discussion on the necessity of equal representation and tolerance in both the German and American political systems.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Right-Wing Extremism in the United States, Poland, and Germany
February 23, 2005
icd and the Institute für Internationale Politik (IIP) joined resources to host a roundtable discussion on comparative approaches to understanding right-wing extremist politics and their sources. Rafa Pankowski from the organization Never Again (Warsaw, Poland), Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (Montgomery, Alabama, USA), and Albert Scharenberg from Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik (Berlin, Germany), engaged in a riveting discussion of the presence and specific aspects of right-wing extremism in their respective countries. Among others, the following questions were debated most fervently: What elements of specific political cultures and traditions are pertinent with regard to the advocates of the “far right”? What role does and should the state play in controlling and/or supporting right-wing extremist politics? Which issues and developments are currently particularly dangerous, i.e. what is supporting the rise of right-wing extremism? How are networks of resistance organized?
icd Roundtable Discussion
A New Clash Within Western Civilization: the Future of the US-EU Relationship
January 13, 2005
The inauguration of the Bush Administration in the United States in 2001 marked the beginning of a deterioration of pro-American sentiment in many parts of the world. In order to address this issue, and the potentially problematic future of US-European Union relations, icd and IIP hosted a roundtable discussion of outside perceptions and approaches to a United States increasingly perceived as acting unilaterally. German journalist Andreas Zumach joined icd and IIP as the keynote speaker at this event and helped moderate an insightful discussion of the changing relationship between Brussels and Washington.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Transformations in American Democracy: Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
December 2, 2004
Ed Bruley of the U.S. Democratic Party in Michigan and Frank Unger, a professor of American Politics at the University of British Columbia, facilitated an icd roundtable discussion highlighting the aspects of American democracy and prospects for the Democratic Party. The discussion and analysis of American democracy concerned two embattled elections, the alleged ‘tribalization’ of the American electorate, the ‘politics of fear,’ and the ambitions of those regarding America as an empire. The audience looked at the successes of a unified Republican Party and evaluated what this will mean for the U.S., the world, and the future of the Democratic Party.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Are Today’s Differences Between East and West Products of Socialization or Situation?
September 29, 2004
In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, icd Berlin was inspired to lead a roundtable discussion on the concerns of East v. West, and the issues of integration with which a re-unified Germany is still coming to terms. On September 29th, 2004 icd invited Dr. Klaus Schroeder, Professor of the Freie Universität Berlin, to analyze the experiences of East and West Germany and to stimulate discussion regarding their effects on the current political and social situation in a re-unified Germany. An expert in sociology and political science, Dr. Schroeder presented his study at the discussion titled, “Rechtsradikalismus und Jugendgewalt in Deutschland: Ein Ost-West-Vergleich” (“Right-wing Radicalism and Youth Violence in Germany: An East-West Comparison”). This presentation inspired discussion of such questions as: Just how large are the differences between East and West Germany in the areas of anti-parliamentarianism, right-wing extremism, and violence among youth? How does the public perceive these differences? How have the experiences of living under two different political systems affected the increased potential for violence and extremism in both the old and new Bundesländern? How is it possible to diminish this potential and what particular possibilities does dialogue between cultures offer toward this objective?
icd Roundtable Discussion
Art as a Catalyst, How the Visual Arts Inspire cultural diplomacy
August 4, 2004
Artist and co-founder of Takt Kunstprojektraum, Marcus Ahlers, joined with German photographer Tim Deussen to facilitate an icd roundtable event on the role of visual arts as a medium for intercultural dialogue. Ahlers received his Masters in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. While in Berlin on a Fulbright research grant, he started the Takt Kunstprojektraum, a project to promote the integration of art in daily life. Deussen was born and raised in Düsseldorf, and studied film and photography at New York University. He has worked on films in Berlin, Cologne, Naples and Sri Lanka.

The two artists addressed, among others, the following questions: How does art influence the culture in which one works? What role, in turn, does intercultural dialogue play in one’s own work? Duessen initiated a riveting discussion on the use of art as a means of dialogue between different religious groups, while Ahlers focused more on the role of art in everyday life and its influence on the people who encounter it. The group met a general consensus on the unique ability of art to express and convey, through visual imagery, complex aspects of cultures, their peoples, and their belief systems.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Diplomacy at the ‘woods edge’: Democracy, Diplomacy, and Foreign Affairs in Haudenosaunee Societies
June 8, 2004
Though often mistaken as a means of interaction reserved only for international dialogue, diplomacy exists in all domestic, national and international arenas. In the United States, a necessary and often neglected dialogue is the one between Native American groups and the federal and local political systems. On June 8th, 2004 David Leech, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa School of Political Studies, helped icd foster a discussion concerning the former Six Nations of Iroquois (in present-day New York State) and the concepts of democracy, diplomacy, and intercultural relations that exist among these groups.
This insight led to a fruitful discussion of the rather complex code of diplomacy that was practiced and recognized in this early-American federation, one that preceded contact with European immigrants and settlers. Not only was this “code” a means of conducting trade and negotiations, but it also emerged as a widely adapted way of life.
The Canadian Embassy in Berlin provided generous support for the event.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Learning from Headscarves: How Self-Conscious is our Democracy?
ay 26, 2004
Throughout the European and German democracies, debate has ensued regarding the wearing of religious clothing, namely women’s headscarves.

On May 26th, 2004 icd hosted a roundtable discussion on this highly disputed current event and had the pleasure of inviting Sonia Al Amry, student of Islamic Studies and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, Yilmaz Betuel, spokesperson of Inssan e.V., Sylvia Horsch, member of Muslimat Berlin, Dr. Michael Kaiser of British Press Europe, and Dr. Boris Schapiro, former Counselor of Education for the Jewish Congregation of Berlin, to participate.

Roundtable participants juxtaposed questions of freedom of expression and religion in Germany with the German Bundestag’s ban on educators in state-run institutions from wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf. Issues of integration, the German perspective of the Islamic world, human rights, and cultural tolerance in the modern world were hotly debated.
icd Roundtable Discussion
An English only Europe?
April 28, 2004
In today’s closely integrated Europe and the expansion of the European Union from 15 to 25 members in 2004, the issue of language has emerged increasingly important for efficiency and collaboration. icd has taken on this topic as one necessary for debate and discussion. What role does language play in the ever-growing presence of a European identity? How will Europe deal with issues of language barriers as European cooperation continues to expand?

Seán Ó Riain, Cultural Attaché of the Irish Embassy in Berlin, Dr. Sc. Detlev Blanke, Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik, Berlin, and Herr Michael Hornhardt, Representative of Dr. Kurt Gawlitta, Berliner Präsident, Verein Deutsche Sprache, joined icd on April 28th, 2004 to address this topic more intimately.

Language is arguably one of the most important aspects of culture, and the role of language in the future of Europe was the focal point of the discussion. The overwhelming presence of the English language as a means of communication raised questions of lost identity in Europe and the interested discussion participants considered the language of Esperanto as a viable alternative.
icd Roundtable Discussion
Cultural Diplomats in Action
March 31, 2004
In accordance with the mission of cultural diplomacy and the philosophy of cultural tolerance, icd’s first roundtable discussion featured the title “Cultural Diplomats in Action,” and highlighted three American artists who offered insight into the ups and downs of cultural diplomacy in their respective career paths and international travel experiences. “Detroit” Gary Wiggins, professional jazz saxophonist, Darnell Stephen Summers, film director, and Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith, professional dancer, joined icd on March 31st, 2004 to lead an insightful discussion concerning the grassroots experiences of true cultural diplomats and their multi-cultural experiences around the world. They provided inspiring anecdotes on the varying acceptance of their work and the challenges that they have faced as artists and Americans throughout the world.
icd Roundtable Discussion
XIX. & XX. Black International Cinema
May 6-9, 2004
The extensive program offering included interdisciplinary and intercultural films, videos, dance, theatre, music, gallery and seminar presentations. The institute for cultural diplomacy acted in association with Classic in Black to present an analysis of An Aspect of History, and the attempts at reconciliation among the people and nations involved. The history of black cinema was portrayed through film, seminars, photographic exhibits, publications and artistic presentations.
icd Roundtable Discussion
“We don’t just have one language and one history:” Irish Identity in the European Context
July 11, 2002
The development of cultural identity is always complex, whether on the local, national, or supra-national level. Ireland’s identity has a particularly rich history, exemplified through its use of two national languages, Irish (Gaeilge) and English. Furthermore, in 1973, Ireland became an official member of the European Community and later a member of the European Union. In October of 2002, at the time of this discussion, Ireland was preparing for a referendum on the Treaty of Nice and European expansion, making the event all the more apt. Panel participants included Hugo Hamilton, recipient of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and author of The Speckled People, an autobiography describing his experiences as a child of Irish-German parentage and Dr. Seán Ó’Riaian, former Irish cultural attaché the Embassy of Ireland in Germany’s press and cultural officer, who has published a number of books concerning Irish language policy and Irish and European identity.