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Contact: Patricia Coen (609) 258-5764
Date: November 23, 1999

"Fifty Years of Democracy in Germany" to be Examined at Princeton Conference

Princeton, N.J. -- A distinguished group of scholars and experts, many from Germany, will gather at Princeton University December 9 through December 12 for a conference titled "From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic: Fifty Years of Democracy in Germany," to be held in Robertson Hall, Bowl 1.

The conference, which is open to the public, will "assess the challenges of the future by looking back on the successful past and by reflecting on pressing problems of the present," according to its organizer, Ezra N. Suleiman, director of the University's Committee for European Studies and IBM Professor in International Studies.

"There are many questions to be discussed," noted Walter Hinderer, professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and a co-organizer of the interdisciplinary conference. "For instance, after 50 years of its existence, how did this young democracy come to terms with its fascist past and the burden of the Holocaust? What impact did the economic success have on the society, the generational conflict that emerged through the 1960s, and the unification of the separated states in 1990, and what are the challenges Germany has to face in the immediate future?"

Topics to be covered include the historical and structural changes of democracy and society in post-war Germany, including the constitutional and institutional choices that established a stable model of a decentralized, parliamentary democracy in a former authoritarian and fascist country; the challenge of integrating a capitalist and a former socialist nation in one society; and the multiple problems of political and cultural identity in Germany today. Particular attention will be given to the relationship of Germany and the European Union, the future of the transatlantic community in general, and the relationship of Germany and the United States.

Panelists will include Cornel Metternich, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany; Brigitte Sauzay, counselor of the German Chancellor for German-French Relations; Helmut Schlesinger, former president of the Bundesbank; Karsten D. Voigt, coordinator for German-American cooperation, Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Robert Zoellick, former undersecretary of state and deputy chief of staff for the White House. Other panelists include representatives of leading American and German universities and institutions, among them Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, New York University, Harvard University, the University of Konstanz, the University of Freiberg, The University of Bremen, the University of Heidelberg, Humboldt University, the Free University of Berlin, and the Berlin Bureau of the New York Times.

The Schedule

Friday, December 10
9:00 a.m. Democracy and Society in Post-War Germany: Historical and Structural Changes
11:00 a.m. Democracy and Society in Post-War Germany: Constitutional/Institutional Choices
2:30 p.m. Problems of Political Identity

Saturday, December 11
9:30 a.m. Problems of Cultural Identity
1:15 p.m. The Future of the German Welfare State
3:30 p.m. The Challenge of Reunification

Sunday, December 12
9:15 a.m. Germany and the European Union
11:00 a.m. Germany and the U.S.

The conference has been organized by the University's Committee for European Studies, with support from the Center of French Studies, the Center of International Studies, the Council on Regional Studies, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Information Center, the Goethe-Institut New York, the Max Kade Foundation, and the Max Weber Chair of New York University.