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U.S. and German Labor Markets in the Crisis - Challenging the Conventional Wisdom?

Both the United States and German economies are hit badly by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 - but while unemployment soars in the U.S., the German labor market proves robust even in the midst of the downturn. As global demand recovers in 2010, staggering long-term unemployment in the United States persists while the German economy is quickly revitalized. Much to the surprise of many observers: Wouldn't conventional economic wisdom about U.S. flexibility and German labor market rigidity have suggested otherwise? Drawing on the U.S. and German experiences of 2008 to 2010, we shall evaluate labor market performance and the various stabilization policies employed in the two countries and ask about the fundamental lessons to be learned for policy-makers and academic economists.


- Pia Bungarten, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Representative to the U.S. and Canada.

- Peter Bofinger, Professor of Economics at Würzburg University, member of the German Council of Economic Experts.
- Richard B. Freeman, Herbert S. Ascherman Professor of Economics (Harvard Economics Department).
- Matthias Machnig, Minister of Labor, Economics and Technology in the state of Thuringia.

Financing Innovations in the Health Care Sector

Creating and financing innovations in the health care sector are key challenges to ensure future health care provision. Germany and the United States adopted different methods: Financiers of health care innovations extensively use alternative forms of investments such as venture capital and private equity vehicles in the United States whereas in Germany such vehicles are less common. This panel discusses how this development affects innovations for health care providers and medical supply companies.

- Sascha Spoun, President of Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.

- Jens Eckstein, Healthcare VC Investor in Boston.
- Dominique Friederich, expert on health care and insurance and Principal at BCG Zurich.
- Matthias von Schwanenflügel, German Federal Ministry of Health and currently sent to the U.S. Department of Health in Washington, D.C.

Western security policy in times of deficit and debt - Coherent strategies in a changing world or simply executing budget cuts?

The global economic crisis did not only send financial shockwaves around the globe, but it also had a deep impact on international security issues. What are the consequences of the changing economic realities on Western security and defense policy and on the global security architecture? Will it lead to a widening of the transatlantic defense gap, is it an engine for enhanced cooperation, or is there no strategy but merely book-keeping bureaucracy taking over? What security architecture does the world need to tackle new economic shifts peacefully?

- Klaus Linsenmeier, Executive Director Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.

- Niels Annen, Executive Board, Social Democratic Party of Germany / Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States.
- Annette Heuser, Executive Director Bertelsmann Foundation, Washington, DC.
- Henning Riecke, Program Director USA / Transatlantic Relations at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).

- Steve Clemons, Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.

Changing identities in times of crisis - What unites us as a country, what unites us as citizens of the world?

Amidst an international economic crisis, the fear of terror and the perceived uncertainty about the future, liberal Western societies seem to be facing an identity crisis. How will they react to the blurring of values and ideals that this entails? Is ethnocentric nationalism once again going to offer the security of a well-defined identity, or will the citizens reach out to seek for new and diverse kinds of identity?

- Warren Getler, Director of the Trans-Atlantic Relations Project at the Bertelsmann Foundation Washington, DC.

- Mathias Risse, Professor of Philosophy & Public Policy at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (Harvard Kennedy School).
- Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Member of the European Parliament and the European People's Party.
- Jutta Ditfurth, German social scientist and publicist.
- Bilal Kaleem, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston).
- Keli Carender, political blogger and Tea Party protest activist.