Dear DAAD alumni,

It is my great pleasure to announce that the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) will be hosting a major alumni meeting for former DAAD and AvH grant recipients in the USA:

„Knowledge, Trust, and the Future of Democracy:
Transatlantic Perspectives on the Role of Scholarship and Science in Society“

 to be held at

Sheraton Atlanta Hotel
165 Courtland St NE
Atlanta, Georgia

October 5th-7th, 2018

This conference will mark the start of our organization’s activities on the occasion of the “Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/2019”. We will welcome a total of 100 alumni participants. We hope that the conference topic will spark the interest of many of our alumni from all fields and all walks of life: those with longstanding research links to Germany, those with special expertise in the fields relevant for the conference theme, and also younger alumni who want to share their experience and thoughts on the subjects.

The conference will provide participants with an ideal opportunity to network both within the DAAD and the AvH alumni community. The participants will also contribute to the transatlantic dialogue which shapes DAAD and AvH policy.

While not every conference participant will be able to make a formal presentation, we will try to include as many of our alumni into the program as possible – as panelists, moderators or rapporteurs. Additionally, there will be a participants' handbook in which all participants are invited to outline their current research or professional activity. Through this we hope to spark additional new opportunities for networking and collaboration.

The conference will start with an official opening ceremony and festive dinner on Friday, October 5th, at 6 pm. The whole of Saturday, October 6th, will be dedicated to academic discussions. The day will end with an evening of information, networking and dining in a spectacular location downtown Atlanta. On Sunday, we will sum up the findings of the sessions and look towards the future in a closing panel.

On Saturday, there will be three parallel sessions in the morning and three parallel sessions in the afternoon, both 90 minutes in total. We will be able to invite three panelists and one moderator for each session, and we envision the panelist to give presentations for 15 minutes each. This will leave ample time for discussions with the other participants. A rapporteur will summarize the most important findings of each session and present these on Sunday morning in a five-minute talk. We certainly hope for general engagement and active participation during discussion sessions among all participants.

The conference language will be English, and the panel topics are as follows:

Morning sessions: Current Trends and Changing Environments

1) The Era of Digital Democracy

  • Opportunities and challenges for democratic societies
  • Role of scholarship/science
  • Knowledge and “Facts” in the digital age
  • Impact of technology and a changing economy

2) Reform in Higher Education

  • Response to globalization and populism
  • Academic freedom
  • Demographic change
  • Role of universities
  • Scholars and scientists as teachers and educators
  • International mobility
  • Higher education and the economy

3) Academic Culture(s)

  • Opportunities and challenges within the academic community
  • Publication cultures
  • Cultures of the profession
  • Inter- und transdisciplinary communication

Afternoon sessions: Spotlight on Potential Fields of Activity and Learning

  • Outreach and Communication: A Path Towards (Re)Building Trust?
  • Science communication
  • Engagement with society
  • Scientific and scholarly advice for policy
  • Is everyone an expert?
  • Academia in a “post-factual” era
  • History and Historical Learning: Lessons from Transatlantic Experience
  • Cultures of historical revision and self-reassurance
  • Tribalism, Populism and Nationalism
  • Protectionism and Autarky
  • When history repeats itself

3) Imagining the future

  • New approaches to social change
  • Technological change and society
  • The next generation of literature and visual culture

If you are interested in participating, please register here and submit a CV along via mail and e-mail:

  1. EITHER: an abstract of the paper you would like to present in one of the panels - please indicate clearly which panel you are interested in, possibly giving an alternative;
  2. OR: a short explanation why you would like to be the moderator or the rapporteur of one of the panels - please indicate clearly which panel you are interested in, possibly giving an alternative;
  3. OR: a brief letter outlining your motivation for participating in the conference;
  4. and in any case a short summary of your research collaboration experience in Germany.

Please send all materials by May 29th to:

DAAD New York
Attn. Amra Dumisic
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

In choosing conference participants, preference will be given to DAAD and AvH alumni who possess academic or professional background relevant to the content of the conference. Selected participants will be notified few weeks after the deadline.

DAAD and AvH will cover all local expenses (accommodation, meals). We will only be able to provide a lump sum toward travel costs for students who are still enrolled in university or college and have maintained student status.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Margret Wintermantel
President, DAAD Bonn