This has surely been a jam-packed week! Starting off with premiere film viewing of ‘Werewolf’ at the 67th annual Birlinale on the weekend. Berlinale is a highly renowned international film festival that adds a burst of art and culture to just about every cinema across Berlin for almost two weeks.
Monday evening, I went to a policy paper launch by the Berlin based think-tank Polis 180. The paper, ‘Long Shots and Bold Claims’, is a discussion on issues that have the potential to challenge the current global order.
Focussing on seven key topics from; Russia’s hybrid warfare tactics in the annexation of Crimea, antimicrobial resistance, outlining a worst-case scenario that leads to the destabilisation of world order, as well as a scenario suggesting what may be required of the international community to effectively address the issue.
The interactive nature of the event ensured participation of the entire audience and I left contemplating my own scenarios on how best to tackle these possible future challenges.
Throughout the week, I have worked on delivering a range of interview questions for election and referendum campaigners. Germany’s federal elections will be held in September this year and the campaign trail will continue to build in the coming months.
FNF are seeking to learn from others past experiences and develop new ways to turn rational economic arguments into emotive and effective campaign messages.
The rise of populism and the far right is seeing consequences for civil liberties across the continent and the growing advantages of digital campaigning need to be harnessed to deliver outcomes that ensure liberty for every individual.
How could I leave out Valentine’s day, I had a lovely evening with my girlfriend Franzi at a restaurant overlooking Berlin’s night sky. The following day was her Birthday too, so we went to Quatsch Comedy Club for their Strictly Stand Up English comedy night.
Thursday was again a busy day, starting off with meetings at the FNF International Office in Potsdam.
I was lucky enough to meet with several heads of department and other staff, who outlined the foundation’s global operations. A specialist on Eastern Europe discussed the various forms of support offered to liberal minded political parties, in the hopes of strengthening democracy in fragile states. Another colleague explained a project designed to facilitate property rights development for indigenous communities in rural India.
The project has had several successes and has even reduced corruption and the exploitation of communities by legitimising their rights and economic opportunities. The entire day was a great opportunity to learn how the foundation influences change and has left me feeling eager to continue to play my role in the process.
After lunch, I hopped on the train back to Berlin and finished a few tasks in the office before heading to an evening seminar at German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). They run regular seminars focusing on development economics, with presentations offered by global experts.
This week’s seminar was presented by the World Bank’s development research group lead economist and outlined a three year project, run collaboratively with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), designed to facilitate female entrepreneurship in rural markets in Kenya.
Broader discussions on economic development continued after the presentation and it was a great chance for me to get further insights from industry specialists, research fellows, PhD students and recent graduates.