Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Foluso Tade – Tschüss! | Week 8

Foluso Tade, 27 February 2017

Somehow it is already the last week of my internship! I have spent it polishing off all my projects and to ensure the pieces I have written are of good use to my colleagues. It is a fantastic feeling to print off finalised documents and look back through what I have learnt. I also spent some time reviewing English translations of my colleagues’ work.

Usually an external company works on translations for FNF’s major reports, however, from time to time some small grammatical or structural issues are missed, so it was nice to be the final judge in the process.

On Thursday evening, I attended another seminar at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). This week’s topic was presented by a professor of agricultural economics from Mississippi State University and offered a well-rounded explanation of agricultural index insurance.

Such forms of insurance are gaining traction in some developing economies as a means to insure against abnormal weather events and reduce the financial burden of lost crops or livestock.

One take away from the discussion, was the idea that reducing donor funding in current schemes or at least redirecting its objectives may in fact spur increased investment from re-insurance companies by allowing the market to accurately price products, without being forced to cater to donor prerogatives.

Whilst the fear is that this may reduce the benefits felt by the extremely poor, the upside is that it may become a much more widely used product and provide other benefits to effected communities in the longer term.

By Friday afternoon, we had gone a little stir crazy in the office. Several colleagues were either out of town for Karneval, a regional holiday, or had meetings elsewhere. So, I got out some Freiheit promo gear and took a few snaps around the office. As you will see, some turned out better than others.

It really has gone by so fast. I have spent eight great weeks; getting to know new colleagues, learning useful skills and techniques, discovering new ideas and perspectives, exploring an amazing city, and building my professional experience and business acumen.

Although this is my final official week, I will be staying on until next Tuesday finish out the month. On my final day we have planned to go to Böse Buben Bar after work for a final farewell. I must take this opportunity to thank everyone at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for their valuable insights throughout my internship, as well as everyone at the Mannkal office for their constant support throughout this amazing experience. Tschüss!!

Freiheit (Freedom)

Fun snaps

Foluso Tade – Seminars, Meetings & Insights | Week 7

Foluso Tade, 20 February 2017

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.

Berlinale !

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.

FNF International Office

Cycling the city

Foluso Tade – Crossmedia & Peter’s Farewell | Week 6

Foluso Tade, 13 February 2017

Over the last few days I have had the opportunity to learn more about new FNF operations. Previously all my research has been conducted for the Liberal Institute, which is just one of the foundations departments.

I spent all of Tuesday working with the Crossmedia team. It was interesting beginning to understand how FNF manage their web presence through the freiheit.org website and the mechanisms used to promote the research produced in the Liberal Institute as well as FNF’s other departments.

I spent the morning using a content management system to update media on the website and then moved on to assist with the Social Media and Google Adword Campaigns.

All very interactive tasks that I found interesting and useful for my personal skill development. I do certainly enjoy my research focused tasks, though it often takes several hours before a report begins to take shape.

Working with the Crossmedia team was different as I got instant results and could jump online to see my updates as they unfolded.

F für Freiheit (Freedom)

Working in the Crossmedia Office

On Thursday, I travelled to FNF’s International Department in Potsdam for a colleague’s farewell party. Peter Altmiks has been at the foundation for eleven years and has been a key figure in the Liberal Institute for much of that time. He has helped to guide several of Mannnkal’s past scholars and it has been great to work with him in my short time at the foundation.

I’m sure he will be missed by many and I wish him the best of luck on his next venture. The International Department is essentially the headquarters for all FNF regional offices across Germany and the world. It is about twenty kilometres south of Berlin and situated along a river bank, with nice views across Griebnitzsee.

The farewell party was a good chance to meet colleagues working on different aspects of research and I hope to return next week to learn more about their global collaborations.

Tschüss Peter !

Farewell Party with Manuela & Fabian

Foluso Tade – The Trump Effect | Week 5

Foluso Tade, 6 February 2017

As much as I hate to admit it, it appears clear that Trump’s consistent outbursts are going to become the defining factor of 2017. Every day since his inauguration, I’ve woken up to a list of news reports outlining statements or actions that appear to completely disregard United States’ foreign policy efforts of the last few decades.

The FNF office has been a buzz, to determine: firstly, what sorts of policies these outbursts will lead to; and secondly, what the associated executive orders and policies will do to global stability and trade. This has led to several engaging discussions with my colleagues and widespread debate on which bilateral arrangements with the United States will be all but severed and which may actually be better off.

This week I have delved deeper into the, government policy, literature and public sentiments regarding board remuneration practices. My task is to develop a paper that outlines the ‘say on pay’ legislation that has been implemented across the globe as well as to decipher which options may be best suited to Germany.

The former is near complete, though the latter requires far more guidance from my colleagues. This is to ensure that I fully comprehend and consider the complexities of Germany’s own specific circumstances and requirements.

This week my colleagues also introduced me to a great little café, just around the corner of our office. Needless to say, I shall be stopping by every morning on the way to work from now on. In between work and German classes there has still been plenty of time to continue exploring the city of Berlin with my girlfriend Franzi.

In the evenings and over the weekends we have found several nice restaurants and cafés to while away the time. I think I am slowly acclimatising to both the cold and the way of life here. All in all, a great experience. Thanks again Mannkal!

Coffee with my colleagues, Fabian & Ilka

Braving the cold with Franzi :)

Foluso Tade – Book Review | Week 4

Foluso Tade, 30 January 2017

Another week in the rear-view mirror and a fair part of it was spent reading and reviewing an insightful text by two American professors called ‘Anxious Politics’. “The somewhat academic text is an amalgamation of literary interpretations, structured experiments, in depth analysis and informed opinions. Using four substantive policy areas (public health, immigration, terrorism and climate change), the authors explain how politicians and the media can use anxiety to foster civic engagement and strengthen democracy by leading the public to seek out contemporary information, trust in political actors, and develop opinions on current issues.

This outlook is pitted against evidence that anxious citizens can misplace trust in political figures or policies which suppress civil liberties in the name of protection. Although the book focuses on America’s partisan political developments of the twenty-first century, the policy areas discussed demonstrate the global relevance of these traits.” This is essentially a summary of the submission for FNF’s Liberal Magazine that I have been working on this week and ‘fingers crossed’ that the editors approve it for publication.

I must admit I got a little homesick on the 26th and the many photos of BBQ’s and Triple J Hottest 100 parties that I saw all over social media had me missing the sunshine. Though, it’s not my first Australia Day overseas, so I was sure to find my own ways to celebrate. I headed to Markthalle Neun and caught up with an old friend who I knew from my time living and working in Zambia. He has moved to Berlin to pursue his career in music production and given that the city is a melting pot of culture, I really can’t think of a better choice.

Catching up with Eleftherios Mukuka

Markthalle Neun

Foluso Tade – Topics Topics Topics | Week 3

Foluso Tade, 23 January 2017

2017 really is moving quickly and I get the feeling that I am only going to be saying that more as the year progresses. This is reflected in the breadth of topics I have been delving into at FNF. CEO and board remuneration packages are increasingly coming under huge public scrutiny in Germany, as within most markets. The solution however, needs to ensure that any additional means of control is left in the hands of shareholders and not in some way mandated through legislation that does nothing to consider the strategic or competitive decisions of company management.

The call for increased shareholder ‘say on pay’ in periods of performance stagnation or decline, that are matched with increased remuneration, is justifiable. Whilst broader stakeholder engagement should be a well-used aspect of any successful company’s repertoire, arbitrarily selected and mandated remuneration ceilings will do nothing but limit a company’s capacity to act strategically and competitively in global markets. This would thereby limit the growth potential of both the company and the jobs it creates.

Another key topic this week has been the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s opening plenary speech came from the People’s Republic of China’s President, Xi Jinping. He spoke on the need for freer trade, increased globalisation and more responsive leadership, which are some key intentions of the WEF. Though, it is a surprising turn of global affairs when these words come from China’s first Presidential appearance at the Annual Meeting and on the backdrop of the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who won his campaign with alarmingly protectionist rhetoric. What the end goal or net economic effects of either leader will be is still yet to be seen.

Touching on a range of issues throughout the working week keeps things interesting. Though so do the many lively street markets in Berlin. I was surprised to find that many of them do stay open through the winter months, so I spent part of the weekend searching for hidden treasures and quirky gifts. All in all, another enjoyable week!

Boxhagenermarkt

Boxhagener Platz

Foluso Tade – FNF Office Life | Week 2

Foluso Tade, 17 January 2017

Week two is proving to be more of a challenge in the office. FNF often moves quickly to assess daily political news and formulate a liberal perspective on the issues at hand. For me, this has required a lot of catch up on the issues most notable in both Germany’s impending elections and those of the European Parliament.

The rise of populism in Europe is a hotly discussed topic and the level of unity between mainstream parties, that was in part developed to limit the influence of far-right parties, is now being tested. My colleagues have been highlighting aspects of the debate which are in line with their areas of research and I have been assisting by relating the proposed policies to what is evident in other OECD nations.

This week I also began research on my own topic. The 12th G20 Summit will be in July and this year it shall be held in Hamburg, under German presidency. The usual calls for global cooperation as well as economic and financial stability are reflected in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s choice of topics and ministerial meetings.

Thankfully, the German position is also highly opposed to isolationism or any return to nationalism. Whether the summit may be used to begin talks on new deals to increase transatlantic free trade, assuming Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections really does mean the end of a dead and nearly buried TTIP, is yet to be seen. The provision of free global trade networks is of importance to many of the G20 participants and one can only hope that this can be harnessed to generate a collective voice in opposition to Trump’s protectionist rhetoric.

On a lighter note, late in the week we had a movie night at the office. It is a yearly tradition and somewhat of a new year’s celebration. I found it a great opportunity to get to know my colleagues better and to relate liberal ideas to blockbuster films like Jason Bourne. Having the opportunity to engage with my colleagues on issues beyond my daily tasks, is really broadening my outlook. Certainly more than what would be expected at a standard internship. I am greatly looking forward to the weeks ahead!

New Home Station

Another day in the office.

Foluso Tade – Frohe Weihnachten | Week 1

Foluso Tade, 9 January 2017

At my own expense I arrived in Germany a few weeks before my internship began. I spent my first week in Berlin and arranged a meeting at FNF to meet my new colleagues. My timing couldn’t have been better, as it was my supervisor’s Birthday and thus a less formal introduction to the team over coffee and cake.

The unfortunate and tragic attack on a Christmas market in the following days cast a sombre shadow over the city, at a time usually so full of joy. Public debate on migrant flows and deportation as well as the discussion on the centralisation of Germany’s police forces are still in full swing, the heightened security is being felt across Europe.

From Berlin I travelled further north to spend Christmas with my girlfriend’s family in a small German town near the border of the Netherlands called Papenburg. Christmas in the winter time seems to be steeped in far more traditions than the melted chocolate and BBQ’s by the pool that I’m used to in Perth. That having been said though, my body began to struggle acclimatising to the cold and alas I was bedridden with a severe cold for a few days.

Then it was back to Berlin for New Year’s Eve! The following days were spent getting my new apartment in order and preparing for my first day at FNF on the 3rd of January. My direct supervisor did not return from leave until later in the week but there was no shortage of topics to begin researching in the meantime.

The opportunities that increased skilled migration could offer to curtail Germany’s prominent skills shortage was a topic I couldn’t resist. And, the discussion has led me to assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing a point based assessment system, similar to those evident in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Debate has been high in this area for some time now, so I’m hoping that with some hometown knowledge and after a lot of reading, I can put in my two cents worth.

Joseph Monisse -Week 8

Joseph Monisse, 29 February 2016

The final week of my internship at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation was mainly spent with a group of visiting journalists from the Philippines. The group attended the program, “New European Trends in Electoral Reporting”, which ran from Monday through to Thursday. The program was aimed at educating the journalists in the latest techniques of political journalism in the lead-up to the Philippines elections, which will be held on the 9th of May. Featured were a number of presentations by experts on politics and political reportage in the European Union.

On Tuesday, the group had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion focusing on the upcoming Philippines elections. Experts on the  Asian political scene were present at this event, providing a European perspective on the political situation in the Philippines. The group identified a lack of objective, fact-based political journalism as a critical issue in Filipino politics. One of the group members, Bart Guingona, explained that journalism in the Philippines often assumes a tabloid form, failing to hold politicians accountable on critical issues such as corruption and violence. As an organizer of the MediaNation Summit of the Philippine News Media, a national conference of news media bodies in the Philippines, Guingona advocates for competent political reportage as a means of exposing corruption and providing easily accessible political education. Our guests were very satisfied with the program, and aim to apply the skills they learned during their coverage of the upcoming Philippines general elections.

In summary, I have greatly enjoyed my internship in Brussels and I am very grateful to all the staff at the FNF for providing me with this opportunity. My mentor, Hävard Sandvik, has done an excellent job in integrating me into my role within the Foundation. I’ve worked with Hävard on a variety of tasks over the course of my internship, from writing promotional material to organising events. It has been a great privilege to have been able to experience this opportunity. I am very thankful to Paul McCarthy, and all the staff at Mannkal, for doing an outstanding job organizing the scholarship. I am especially grateful to Ron Manners; without his generous financial support none of this would have been possible. I feel that I have benefited greatly from the time I spent in Brussels and I look forward to continuing to build on my knowledge of liberal values as I commence my second year of study at the University of Western Australia.

Inside the European Parliament

Visiting group from Philippines

The European Parliament

Joseph Monisse -Week 7

Joseph Monisse, 22 February 2016

During my seventh week at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, I assisted Anna Reineke in hosting a group of Tunisian liberals for a three-day visiting programme in Brussels, as well as completing the final preparations to host a visiting group of journalists from the Philippines during the final week of my internship.

The group consisted of members of Tunisia’s liberal political party, Afek Tounes. Afek Tounes is committed to promoting positive relationships with European nations, and the program provided an excellent opportunity for the group members to gain first hand knowledge of the European Union’s political environment. The participants visited the European Commission, and attended presentations focusing on a range of topics such as Tunisia-EU trade relations and tourism promotion.

I then moved on to completing the final preparations for our next programme involving a visiting group of Filipino democracy advocates. The group will feature some of the Philippines’ most notable media professionals, and will provide an opportunity for like-minded liberals to network and share ideas in the face of the upcoming Philippines elections. The participants of our programme will learn strategies to promote pro-democracy media coverage in a nation which still carries the legacy of corruption left over from the past military regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

After a busy seventh week in Brussels, I look forward to continuing with the FNF’s next programme over the eighth and final week of my internship.