May 18, 2017
In recent months, the Fulbright Commission has reached out to various stakeholders engaged in building relations across the Atlantic. Most notably and in a number of venues, Fulbright's incoming Executive Director Dr. Oliver Schmidt has sought to address the German world of foundations.
In one instance, Oliver Schmidt invited Dr. Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and foundation representatives to the annual conference of the Association of German Foundations. In Osnabrück, both experts discussed some of the geopolitical challenges currently arising between Germany, Europe and the U.S. For decades a cornerstone of the (Western) European identity, the transatlntic alliance has been called into question only recently.
In an engaging debate, the audience raised questions about both the scope of civic engagement and the role German foundations can play. Controversial perspectives on the current security architecture, or the tension between the pluralistic interests of civil society and cultural diplomacy were exchanged with regard to a changing global environment. One denominator, however, emerged from the conversation: the need for a strategic reassessment of what used to be taken for granted as the “Transatlantic community” and its exigencies.