Young Leaders´ Forums
The United States Meets Europe

Event Review (April 2010)

The USA Meets Europe: A Forum for Young Leaders
(Washington, D.C. and New York, April 18th-24th, 2010)

Forum Report

The Forum for young leaders on “The United States Meets Europe” took place in Washington, D.C. and New York from the 18th to the 24th of April, 2010. It brought together young students and professionals interested in the role of culture to foster productive diplomatic relations between the United States and Europe. Speakers were drawn from academia, diplomatic circles in Europe and the US, non-governmental organizations, as well as cultural institutions. The theme of the USAME conference was “New Priorities, New Strategies: Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy and American Foreign Policy,” and centered on the role of culture, transatlantic relations and public diplomacy for cultural integration between the US and Europe. The forum benefited from specific countries’ perspectives on the future of the European-American relations, as well as the ongoing importance of national identities for Europeans. Generally, the forum triggered enriching debates and discussion, thanks notably to workshops and panel discussions. The participants also had a chance to discover the metropolitan cities of Washington, D.C. and New York through cultural and political lenses.

Forum Speakers

Dr. Karen Donfried (Executive Vice President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States)
Amb. Klaus Scharioth(German Ambassador to the United States)
David J. Kramer (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, The German Marshall Fund of the United States)
Paula Dobriansky (Former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, Former Special Envoy to Northern Ireland)
Klaus Linsenmeier (Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung of the United States)
Dr. Salah Hassan (Chairman& Professor of Marketing at the School of Business, The George Washington University)
Amb. Mark Palmer (Vice‐Chairman of Freedom House, Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary)
Heather Conley (Director and Senior Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Prof. John H. Brown (Senior Fellow at USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University)
Amb. András Simonyi (Former Hungarian Ambassador to the US)
Dr. Volker Berghahn (Professor of History, Columbia University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society)
Dr. Miomir Žužul (Former Foreign Minister of Croatia, President of Dubrovnik International University)
Dr. Horst Freitag (German Consul General to the United States)
Amb. Heidrun Tempel (Special Representative for Dialogue between Cultures, German Foreign Office)
Amb. Dr. Cynthia Schneider (Professor of Cultural Diplomacy at Georgetown University, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands)
Matthias Stausberg (Spokesperson, United Nations Global Compact)
Julie Kim (Congressional Research Service)
Paul Belkin (Congressional Research Service)
Brett E. Egan (Director of Institute for Arts Management)
William Bader (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs)
Kingsley Smith (NPR International Programming Director)
Dr. Benjamin Barber (Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, President and Director of CivWorld at Demos)
Dr. Peter Kerrigan (Deputy Director of Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) New York)

 

Locations

  • German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Congressional Research Service
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
  • National Public Radio Headquarters
  • Demos Headquarters
  • The United Nations Headquarters
  • Columbia University
  • Consulate General of Germany

Summary of Events

Sunday, April 18th, 2010: The first day of the week-long-seminar for USA Meets Europe: A Forum for Young Leaders’ began late afternoon in the heart of Washington D.C. with an introductory speech by GMF vice president Karen Donfried in which participants were welcomed to the program and given the opportunity to get acquainted with the rest of the group. It was also a moment for the group of young, influential people from both sides of the Atlantic to absorb the setting and beginning of an insightful week ahead. Held at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), which serves as the headquarters of GMF’s seven worldwide offices, the venue provided an apt environment for dialogue between each side’s political and diplomatic representatives. The building, located in Dupont Circle in Washington DC, was inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006 and holds seminars and meetings, also producing academic work on public and foreign policy, grant making and transatlantic cooperation.

Monday, April 19th, 2010: Day Two began with a lecture and discussion on the history and development of transatlantic relations since 1945, and was followed by the German Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Klaus Schariott, lecturing on the potential for transatlantic cooperation in the Middle East.GMF Senior Transatlantic fellow David J. Kramer then led the participants in an intriguing lecture and discussion on the issue of transatlantic cooperation and Russia. The afternoon was marked by a lecture by US former undersecretary of state Paula Dobriansky looking at the way the values of democracy can and have been promoted by the two blocs. This was followed by a lecture and discussion by Heinrich Böll Stiftung director Klaus Linsenmeier on the Green New Deal and the transatlantic relationship. George Washington University Professor Saleh Hassan delivered the final speech of the day on nation branding and cultural diplomacy. The evening ended with the ‘Big Band Jam’ – an opportunity for participants to take part in the Jazz Festival held annually on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010: Day Three began on an upbeat note at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), with a lecture and discussion on transatlantic relations during the Cold War, presented by Former US Ambassador to Hungary, Mark Palmer. CSIS Director and Senior Fellow of the Europe Program, Heather Conley, then took the stage with a lecture entitled ‘Today’s Transatlanticism and Central Europe’s Evolution in the Post-Cold War Era.’ Transatlantic relations were then further discussed at the US Congress. Participants had the opportunity to explore the United States Congress, in the north wing of the Capitol Building, at the Eastern end of the National Mall on Capitol Hill. This was followed by a workshop in which participants were able to discuss and debate NATO and the energy security issue, in a model US-EU summit. The day concluded at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where the Institute for Arts Management Director, Brett E. Egan, presented a lecture on the potential of the Kennedy Center as an Instrument of US Cultural Diplomacy, which was followed by a performance by The Campbell Brothers on the Millennium Stage.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010: The first half of Day Four was packed with sightseeing opportunities, with visits to several famous Washington sights, including The White House, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Capitol Hill District (the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument), and the Foggy Bottom District. The tour wound up at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), which served as the venue for the next lecture, which looked at the future of public diplomacy and the transatlantic relationship, led by Georgetown University professor John Brown. Afternoon lectures began with former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, William Bader’s, lecture on the future of US foreign policy and soft power under the Obama administration. Keeping in tune with the day’s opening agenda for sightseeing, the participants were then whisked away to the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters. A lecture by NPR International Programming director Kingsley Smith was hosted here, which delved into the role of the media in broadening the scope and understanding of national public radio as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy. This was followed by a tour of NPR studios and headquarters.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010: Participants left Washington D.C. for New York in the morning, arriving just in time for lunch in the Big Apple, after which they attended an interactive seminar at the Demos headquarters, a London-based think tank which generates ideas to improve politics and policy. A distinguished senior fellow at Demos, Dr. Benjamin Barber, held a discussion entitled ‘Interdependence, the Transatlantic Relationship, and Beyond’. This was followed by a lecture on ‘Rock & Roll as a vehicle of cultural diplomacy to end the Cold War’ delivered by former Hungarian Ambassador to the US András Simonyi. The day’s events concluded with a group dinner and the opportunity to attend one of New York’s finest cultural offerings – a Broadway show.

Friday, April 23rd, 2010:
Columbia University opened its doors to host the sixth day of the seminar, where Columbia University professor Dr. Volker Berghahn held a lecture and discussion on the role that cultural diplomacy can and does play in fostering relations between the two blocs. This was followed by a lecture and discussion by former Foreign Minister of Croatia Dr. Miomir Žužul giving a Croatian and currently non-EU member state perspective on US-European relations. Post lunch, the future of the transatlantic relationship was on the menu at the German Consulate of the US in NYC, with a lecture and discussion by German Consul General to the United States Dr. Horst Freitag.  Dr. Peter Kerrigan, Deputy Director of Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) New York, then discussed DAAD as an example of cultural diplomacy. The late afternoon lecture was delivered by the German Foreign Office special representative for dialogue between cultures, Heidrun Tempel, on the importance of dialogue between cultures in an independent world. A farewell group dinner concluded the eventful day.

Saturday, April 24th, 2010:
The final day of the weeklong seminar focused on the future of cultural diplomacy with a lecture and discussion by Georgetown University professor and former US Ambassador to the Netherlands, Cynthia Schneider, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. After a short break, UN Global Compact spokesperson Matthias Stausberg, discussed the UN Global Compact and the transatlantic partnership, and how such policies bear on the dynamics of transatlantic relations.
The lecture marked the end of the weeklong seminar, which proved to be an enlightening and exciting conference.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • The history and development of cultural diplomacy

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • Transatlantic cooperation and Russia
  • The Green New Deal and the transatlantic relationship
  • The history and development of transatlantic relations since 1945
  • The future of public diplomacy and the transatlantic relationship
  • Transatlantic cooperation and democracy promotion
  • Nation Branding and cultural diplomacy

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Central daily Themes
  • Transatlantic relations during the Cold War
  • Today’s “Transatlanticism” and Central Europe’s evolution in the post-Cold War era
  • US public diplomacy since the end of the Cold War
  • The Kennedy Center as an instrument of US cultural diplomacy

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Central Daily themes
  • The potential for transatlantic cooperation in the Middle East
  • US foreign policy and cultural diplomacy from the Cold War until today
  • The future of cultural diplomacy
  • National Public Radio as a vehicle of cultural diplomacy

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • The UN global compact and the transatlantic partnership

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Central Daily themes
  • A global citizen’s view on soft power and the future of US foreign policy
  • Transatlantic relations – a Croatian perspective
  • Cultural diplomacy and the transatlantic relationship
  • The future of the transatlantic relationship
  • DAAD as an example of cultural diplomacy
  • The importance of dialogue between cultures in an independent world

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Central Daily themes
  • The future of cultural diplomacy
  • Rock and Roll as a vehicle of cultural diplomacy to end the Cold War