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Goethe Institute Boston

Upcoming Events for Fall 2017

 3rd CAMPUSWEEKS Debate:

The Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy 

with Christoph Stefes and Kerry Emanuel

Monday, November 27, 2017, 7:30-9:30pm

International Lounge

thirddebate

In our last campusweeks debate under the theme of "Making Choices", generously sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., we will take a look at nuclear power. Germany's anti-nuclear movement is largely credited for the country's leading role in environmental policy. Since the 1970s German citizens have marched and protested under the banner of 'Atomkraft? Nein Danke' [Atomic Energy? No, Thanks]. The German Green Party grew out of that movement. When three Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors were disabled following a major earthquake and tsunami on March 11 2011, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in protest -- not in Japan, but in cities all over Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had won reelection only months earlier with the promise to "exit the exit" from nuclear power that the red-green coaltion had decided, changed her mind within days of the events of Fukushima and surprised her own party with the decision to immediately shut down 8 of the country's 17 reactors (all those built before 1981). Germany is now scheduled to take its last nuclear power plant off the grid by 2022. 

The attitude towards nuclear power is very different in the United States, which has 104 nuclear reactors up and running and draws about one fifth of its energy from nuclear. Not only the nuclear energy lobby, but even climate scientists like James Hansen view nuclear power as clean energy that is needed to save the planet. 
We are happy to have two experts with us who will debate whether nuclear energy should indeed be considered clean energy or not. Kerry Emanuel is Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. He was just elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2017. He is the author of several books, including What We Know About Climate Change (MIT Press, 2007). Christoph Stefes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado, Denver. His specialty is political development (authoritarianism and democratization) with a regional focus on the former Soviet Union, especially the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Most recently he co-edited Germany's Energy Transition: A Comparative Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). 

Germany after or before the Elections?

Reflections on Germany's next Government

with Ralf Horlemann

Monday, December 4, 2017, 12-2pm

Faculty Club Lounge

december

As you may have read in the news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CDU, has not been able to form a "Jamaica"-Coalition made up of CDU/CSU, FDP, and GreensOn Sunday, November 19, the FDP suddenly pulled out of negotiations for a coalition. This means that for the first time in its history the German government is in limbo. Chancellor Merkel either has to form a minority government or assemble another coalition, but the only other potential coalition partner, the SPD has said it will not be available for another grand coalition (after support for both CDU/CSU and SPD fell to record lows). 
The more likely alternative at this point are new elections, which would happen some time in March. But would new elections change the results? Would Angela Merkel even run for office again? If not, who would run in her stead? Would voters who came out in large numbers in September be willing to return to the polls in equally high numbers? If not, would the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) win even more seats?  Would the FDP benefit for pulling out of what they called an impossible coalition? Or the Greens who were more willing to compromise? What does this prolonged uncertainty mean for Germany, and for Europe? 
German Consul General for New England Ralf Horlemann (whom some of you have already met during our Campusweeks Debate about the electoral systems in September) will return to Brandeis on Monday, December 4, 2017 to discuss what this means for Germany and Europe. You are all invited to join him at the Faculty Club Lounge.