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Studienforum Berlin

Faculty Seminar

Germany as a Model? - The Environmental and Energy Strategy

Dates: 26 June - 6 July 2009

Application Deadline has expired:

1 Apr 2009



Program Design and Highlights

Germany’s and Europe’s environmental challenges

In 2009 Studienforum Berlin e.V. will devote its annual Faculty Development Seminar to the question on how Germany is mastering environmental and energy challenges - in particular whether and how a major industrialized country in Europe copes with climate change and the ever increasing necessity to develop sustainable options to meet rising energy needs. This subject has gained in importance recently because President-elect Obama has made the combat against climate change a "top priority" of his presidency (watch his address here).

This seminar is designed to further the participants’ understanding of Germany’s and the European Union’s environmental as well as energy goals, policies and strategies by

  • acquiring current information on economic, political, social and academic developments related to Germany environmental and energy policy and strategy;
  • introducing a European and transatlantic perspective into teaching on environmental and energy issues;
  • building collegial networks with faculty, government and business counterparts from the U.S.A. and Germany;
  • gaining on-site expertise and knowledge of resources in Berlin, Dessau and beyond in order to expand exchange possibilities for faculty, students and/or experts;
  • developing further research projects.

Germany’s international role

Germany has been at the forefront of both domestic and international environmental policy development for decades, working tirelessly to craft and champion a wide range of successful policies. Two noteworthy examples are the German Renewable Energy Law and Germany’s instrumental role in promoting international climate change policy. First passed in 1991, and loosely based on the U.S. PURPA law of 1978, the German renewable energy “Stromeinspeisungsgesetz” (Feed-in-Law) has been expanded several times and achieved immense success. Domestically the law is credited with boosting renewable energy production and leading Germany to the forefront of the renewable energy economy. Internationally the law has been adopted in over 40 countries abroad, becoming a model for successful renewable energy legislation. In fact, the German model has proved to be the most effective approach for increasing and accelerating the deployment of renewable energy. Furthermore, Germany and the European Union have played a crucial role in international climate change policy, championing the Kyoto protocol, and supporting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) whose headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany. Germany will no doubt be a key player at the Copenhagen UNFCCC Conference in December 2009 deciding the fate of the Kyoto Protocol.

Germany as a world leader in environmental and energy policies

Germany’s international role in reducing global green house gas emissions has been accompanied by the public support of alternative sources of energy and conservation for decades. It is the purpose of this seminar to find out how Germany has become a world leader in environmental technologies and an astute promoter of regional and global agreements aimed at the reduction of global emissions. Thus, the seminar’s aim is not just to contribute to a deeper understanding of the political and economic challenges linked to the different dimensions of the German and European environmental strategy; it is also a fact-finding mission that provides views of independent experts, companies, industry associations, union and political party representatives, government officials and grassroots activists on their plans for future action – in Germany, in the European Union and world-wide.

Four aspects

The seminar will try to shed light on four interrelated, but distinct, aspects of the Germany’s environmental strategy. 

o         Experts’ analysis - First, it will provide an analytical overview, a summary by experts on what has been done so far and what the options for future developments are.

o         Political approaches - Second, it will provide opportunities for the presentation of partisan views from political parties (the conservative Christian Democrats, i.e. Chancellor Merkel’s party, the liberal Social Democrats, and the small but influential Green Party), interest groups (such as the Federation of German Industry as well as the umbrella organization of the German Unions). 

o         First-hand experience - Third, it will visit, on a one-day excursion, not only the Federal Environment Agency in Dessau but also the world’s biggest maker of photo voltaic cells (Q-Cells in Wolfen north of Dresden) to get a first-hand view of the industrial dimension of a leading enterprise specialized on an important environmental technology.

o         Grass-roots support and initiatives - Fourth, the seminar will reflect the grass-roots tradition of environmental policies in Germany and Europe by meeting, e.g., representatives of the German section of Friends of the Earth.

Finally, the concluding day of the seminar is devoted to a one-day session on the impressions, and information, the participants received during the previous days and analysis to allow some general conclusions. Minutes taken throughout the week will be used to assist participants and to create a summary report.

In supporting and funding seminar participants, colleges and universities as well as private and public environmental institutions and companies have an opportunity to

·         demonstrate leadership through an institutional commitment to internationalizing campus curricula and programs by looking at Europe and Germany; 

·         enlarge the pool of faculty and administrators conversant in international issues and competent to assimilate European and German perspectives on environmental issues into coursework;

·         increase international awareness and interest on the part of undergraduate students through exposure to faculty and other scholars with European knowledge and experience;

·         increase awareness of diversity issues through a European and German experience that exposes scholars, experts and activists from North America to a new culture.

Berlin and Potsdam

In addition to these fact-finding and analytical components, the seminar participants will get the opportunity to visit important historical sites in Berlin and Potsdam:

A general sightseeing tour of Berlin will be complemented by a boat tour on Berlin’s extensive waterways and a visit to a cultural event (concert/opera).

The Potsdam visit includes a visit to Sanssouci Palace, the summer residence of the Prussian King Frederick the Great. Another site to be visited is Cecilienhof Palace, the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. The participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Einstein Tower, an architectural marvel, where Einstein and fellow researchers conducted experiments and made observations to validate his theory of relativity.


The Faculty Development Seminar participants should be faculty and/or administrators at two or four-year institutions of higher education as well as experts from private and public think tanks and governmental institutions. In order to facilitate an interdisciplinary exploration of seminar themes, individuals from all academic concentrations are encouraged to apply. Participants need not to be experts on the seminar topic or region.

Host Institution

The 11-day seminar is hosted by the Studienforum Berlin e.V., an independent, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit organization. SFB promotes better understanding of the people, society, culture, and institutions of Germany and Europe among national, European and overseas students.

STUDIENFORUM BERLIN offers a highly competitive academically oriented educational semester, along with language, and internship programs for English speaking students. SFB has been hosting, among others, programs from the universities of Hawaii, Richmond, Rochester, George Mason University, West Chester University, UCLA, Nazareth College of Rochester, N.Y., and the College Council for International Studies (CCIS). In addition, SFB has been the local host of the Institute of the Foreign Relation's Program for U.S. Junior Journalists supported by Germany’s Foreign Office. SFB staff also conducts research on political and economic developments in Germany and Europe.

Seminar Leadership

The faculty leaders for this seminar are Prof. Dr. Hanns-D. Jacobsen and Nathaniel Scheer.

Dr. Hanns-D. Jacobsen studied and earned his Ph.D. in Economics at the Economics Department of the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin, habilitated in Political Science and got his venia legendi at the Department of Political Science of the FU Berlin. He has been teaching and conducting research in European and International Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He was a fellow at Harvard University's Center for European Studies, at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was also a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and Beijing University. Most recently he was the Managing Director of a multinational research project of the Freie Universität Berlin on "The Eastward Enlargement of the Eurozone", funded by the European Commission. Dr. Jacobsen has published extensively on international political and economic issues, including the subject of European integration. More. . .

Nathaniel Scheer is a German Chancellor Fellow with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and a visiting researcher at the Environmental Policy Research Unit at the Freie Universität Berlin. He holds a bachelor's degree from Shepherd University in Political Science and has completed graduate studies in Environmental Biology at Hood College. His research topics include renewable energy policies in the United States and Europe. He has been an energy and environmental advisor for both government and non-governmental organizations. His current research is focused on accelerating the uptake of renewable energy in the United States.

Andrew Ancygier acts as seminar assistant who is in charge of newsletters, minute-taking, research assistance, etc. Being a Polish national he is currently a Ph.D. student at the Freie Universität Berlin specializing on environmental policies in Germany and Eastern Europe.

Annike Werner is in charge of organizational problems. She is currently a student of English/American studies and Biology in the teacher training program at the Freie Universität of Berlin.

Seminar Content

Following are the tentative lectures, site visits, study tours, and cultural events of the seminar:

Lectures will raise these issues:
  • The main components of Germany's environmental and energy strategy
  • The ever increasing challenge of global warming
  • Public awareness, grassroots initiatives, and policies
  • Diversification of energy imports and energy conservation
  • Nature conservation
  • The role of  fossile and nuclear energy, of wind and solar power, bioenergy
  • Partisan and non-partisan strategies towards sustainable policies
  • Special environmental zones in urban areas
  • The impact of Germany's strategy on the European Union
  • Germany’s role in future global agreements on the environment
  • Conflict and cooperation with the United States
Site Visits/Study Tours/Cultural Events include:

Seminar Fee and Early-Bird Discount

The 2009 seminar fee is EUR 1,970.

Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The application deadline is 1 April 2009.

Up to 20 participants will be accepted. Applicants will be notified of acceptance within two weeks after receipt of the complete application material. Thus, by 15 April 2009 at the latest the participation list will be ready.

Invitation as Commentator

To ease their access to funding opportunities at their home institutions or elsewhere, participants may be invited formally as "commentators". Commentators will be able to respond directly and immediately to the lectures.

For further information or questions please email us.

© 2009 Studienforum Berlin e.V. • stufo-berlin(at)