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Studienforum Berlin

Faculty Seminar 2010

Germany as a Model?
Local, Regional and National Approaches to Sustainability

Dates: 25 June - 5 July 2010

Final Application Deadline

12 April 2010

Program Design and Highlights

Germany’s and Europe’s responses to international environmental challenges

In 2010 Studienforum Berlin e.V. will continue to devote its annual Faculty Development Seminar to the question of how Germany is mastering environmental challenges - in particular whether and how a major industrialized country in Europe copes with climate change and the ever increasing necessity to develop strategic sustainability options.

President Obama has taken up this subject and presented his vision for innovation, sustainable growth and quality jobs at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY. on September 21, 2009. Germany has put into reality most ideas mentioned and will continue to do so - although the Copenhagen Conference of December 2009 has not resulted in satisfying outcomes combating climate change. In fact, Germany has become a global leader in implementing sustainability strategies.

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

  •       acquiring current information on economic, political, social and academic developments related to Germany’s environmental policy and strategies of sustainability with particular emphasis on renewable energy, transport, architecture and solid waste;

  •       introducing a European and transatlantic perspective into teaching on sustainability issues;

  •       building collegial networks with faculty, government and business counterparts from the U.S.A. and Germany;

  •       gaining on-site expertise and knowledge of local, regional and national resources in Berlin, Dessau and beyond in order to expand exchange possibilities for faculty and/or students.

The seminar is supported by the Transatlantic Climate Bridge

  The Transatlantic Climate Bridge is an initiative launched by the German Foreign Office and the German Environment Ministry to foster transatlantic cooperation and partnerships between Germany, the US and Canada on climate and energy policies – at the local, the state and the federal level.

Combat against climate change: Germany’s international role

For decades, Germany has seen itself as being at the forefront of national and international initiatives to fight global warming and to develop sustainability strategies. The German government was crucial in promoting the Kyoto protocol and the successor conference in Copenhagen in December of 2009. After the failure of this conference, national, regional and local initiatives gain in importance. Our seminar is an appropriate and timely initiative.

Germany considers the campaign against global green house gas (GHG) emissions to be the responsibility of both developed and developing countries.  However, citing the industrialized nations’ historical responsibility for GHG emissions and the drastic rise in emission from the worlds rapidly industrializing countries, Germany recognizes both have common but differentiated responsibilities. Therefore Germany pursues a comprehensive approach involving both domestic and international policies. Furthermore, Germany supports ambitious targets for the international climate change follow-up agreement which will take effect when, in 2012, Kyoto’s targets expire. Overall, Germany, and the European Union, consider the combat against climate change one of the largest threats facing society today and therefore develop aggressive sustainability strategies.

Germany as a world leader in implementing sustainability strategies

The protection and sustainable use of resources and the environment have been key goals of Germany’s national and international activities already for a long time. It is the purpose of this seminar to find out how Germany has become, and remained, not just an advocate of sustainable development but also a world champion exporter of environmental technologies and an astute promoter of regional and global agreements aimed at the reduction of global emissions and the creation of appropriate sustainability strategies.

Thus, the seminar contributes to a deeper understanding of the political and economic challenges linked to the different dimensions of the German and European sustainability strategies. It is also a fact-finding mission that provides views of  

  • independent experts,

  • company, industry association, union and political party representatives,

  • government officials and

  • grassroots activists

on their plans for future action in Germany, the European Union and world-wide.

Basic analysis and four action areas of sustainable development strategies

The seminar will shed light on the framework of local, regional and national approaches to sustainability in Germany by providing state-of-the-art analytical background and summary by experts on what has been done so far and what the options for future developments are. The seminar will focus on four major action areas of sustainable development in Germany: 

o         Sustainable Energy and Efficiency – First, the seminar will explore how Germany manages to close the gap between safeguarding future energy supply and the prevention of untenable ecological, economic and social climate change damage. Emphasis will be put on regenerative energy sources, resource conservation and innovation.

o         Sustainable Mobility – Second, the seminar will highlight eco-friendly transport and innovative urban planning strategies taking advantage of sites in Berlin showcasing public transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and the use of new technologies in electric mobility. 

o         Sustainable Architecture – Third, the seminar will provide insight into state-of-the-art sustainable architecture again making use of sights in Berlin and Dessau. By visiting the sustainably designed Reichstag building in Berlin (home of the German parliament) and the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) building in Dessau, the seminar will showcase the use of energy efficient designs utilizing recycled materials, renewable energy, and passive heating and cooling systems. The site visit to UBA in Dessau will allow us to also visit the Bauhaus Foundation providing insights in the history of modern sustainable architecture.

o         Sustainable Waste Management – Fourth, the seminar will provide a look at innovative policies and programs to manage waste streams to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Topics will include Berlin's cutting edge recycling and composting program, waste-to-energy systems including a visit to a biogas digester, and the production of new materials from waste.

Over the duration of the seminar, the site visits will be augmented by analysis from a variety of scholars and experts, discussed by representatives of political parties, associations and grassroots institutions as well as described and explained by practitioners on location.

At the conclusion of the week’s program, a one-day seminar session is scheduled to allow participants to share insights and impressions, and develop platforms for further collaboration. During last year's concluding session the participants drafted an Op-Ed piece that has since been printed in newspapers and reproduced on websites.

Educational objective

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, Potsdam and Dessau

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

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.

The visit to the Federal Environmental Agency will be combined with an optional visit of the Bauhaus Foundation raising the question whether the connecting ethics and aesthetics enables us to create humane forms of living (“Bauhaus to Green Haus”).


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, A&M University, 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 Universitšt (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 Universitšt 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 the seminar's coleader. He is a German Chancellor Fellow with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and a visiting researcher at the Environmental Policy Research Unit at the Freie Universitšt 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.

Annika Styczynski acts as senior research assistant and coorganizer. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the Environmental Policy Research Center of Freie Universitšt (FU) Berlin. She holds a bachelor’s degree from European University Viadrina in Cultural Sciences and has earned a double Master diploma in European Studies and Political Sciences at Viadrina and Adam Mickiewicz University. During her course of studies she has spent a semester as Erasmus student at Jagiellonian University Krakau and a year at the University of California Berkeley as graduate student, where she developed a special scientific interest for questions of energy and climate policies. A research internship at the Centre d’…tudes et Recherches Internationales (CERI) Sciences-Po Paris has further shaped her field of interest. Being a German national she is now specializing in U.S.-China/EU-China cooperation on energy and the climate issue.

Samantha Parsons is the research assistant of the seminar. She has been granted a fellowship by the Scholarship Foundation of the City Council of Berlin to conduct a case study of key actors' influences on developing Germany's Reneweable Energy Law of 2000. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the School of International Service of the American University with a focus on international economic policy and the European Union. She has been an intern at the German Marshall Fund Climate Change Program in Washington, D.C., a Government and Public Affairs Intern at  Mazda North America and a Legislative Intern at the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, D.C.

Seminar Content

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

Lectures will raise these issues:
  • The ever increasing challenge of global warming
  • The main components of Germany's sustainability strategy
  • Energy sustainability and efficiency
  • Sustainability strategies and their implementation in public and private transport
  • Experiences in Berlin: The creation of aspecial environmental zones
  • Sustainable architecture - green architecture, sustainable landscape, planning, urban design, regional resource conservation
  • Sustainable solid waste policies - source segregation, recycling, resource recovery, appropriate technologies and sites, conservation, public participation, waste to energy
  • The impact of Germany's sustainability strategy on the European Union
  • Germany’s role in future global sustainability agreements
  • Cooperation with the United States
Site Visits/Study Tours/Cultural Events include:

Seminar Fee

The 2010 seminar fee is EUR 1,970.

Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The application deadline is 12 April 2010.

Up to 20 participants will be accepted. Applicants will be notified of acceptance within one week after receipt of the complete application material. Thus, by 15 April 2010 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.

© 2010 Studienforum Berlin e.V. • stufo-berlin(at)