Floodwall: Art Exhibition of Jana Napoli in Berlin

"Drawers Speak - New Orleans Five Years Later"

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and the Hertie School of Governance co-host ‘Public Policy Under Water? Policy Responses to Floods’.

(Berlin, Tuesday, 28th September 2010)

Event Report

Executive Summary

On Tuesday 28th September the ICD and the Hertie School of Governance co-hosted a panel discussion on policy responses to floods, focussing on New Orleans and Pakistan.  Attended by over forty ICD staff and interns, the group then moved on to the Floodwall exhibition on the ‘Kurier’ ship where a talk was given by Sarmad Hussain on the integration of Muslims within Germany.


  • Prof. Mark Hallerberg, Professor of Public Management and Political Economy at the Hertie School of Governance.
  • Shahid Riaz, President of the Pak-German Council for Culture and Democracy
  • Khayyam Akbar, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission of Pakistani Embassy
  • Sarmad Hussain, Cultural Committee of the German Parliament

Event Overview

The event began at the Hertie School of Governance where a group of around forty interns and students, mostly from the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, assembled for the panel discussion: “Public Policy Under Water? Policy Responses to Floods.  Case Studies New Orleans and Pakistan.” Professor Hallerberg began by outlining the faults of the US government after the flooding of New Orleans, both at the regional and national level. Aid organisations and charities such as the American Coastguard were praised, although Floodwall artist Jana Napoli also added her personal experiences regarding the failures of the Red Cross in the distribution of aid.

Shahid Riaz spoke next, moving the focus to the floods in Pakistan earlier this year, giving a perspective from a civil society organisation which largely focused on the scale of destruction.  He largely praised the generosity of the German people and those of the Western World as a whole in providing aid, and did not make any specific criticisms. He then showed a short film showing scenes from before and after the floods.

Khayyam Akbar from the Pakistani Embassy gave the final talk as he gave a presentation of facts and figures about the government response, highlighting the allocation of aid to the different regions and generally reinforcing the view given by Shahid Riaz with more precise details.  He made frequent reference to the lessons learned after the 2005 earthquake.  Questions were asked about the actions of the Pakistani government, aimed mostly at Khayyam Akbar, and were answered by an emphasis on the figures he previously mentioned.

After a brief pause the group moved on to the Floodwall exhibition at the Kurier boat moored at Stalauer Allee. After a drinks reception a lecture was given by Sarmad Hussein entitled “Current Debate of Islam in Germany, Integration and National Identity”, in which a very personal account of his experiences as a Muslim in Germany were given. He stated that it was his belief that many Germans have not yet fully accepted immigrants with a foreign appearance as one of them, leading to a heated question and answer session.

Further Information

For further details about the Floodwall program, including the exhibition, the youth outreach program, or the event series, please see the following link: www.floodwall-berlin.de