1—15 September 2020

The Great Questions of our Times and the Future of the Liberal Order

Location Online

What are the great questions of our time?  What does the future of the liberal order hold? In September the Dahrendorf Forum brought together a diverse group of social scientists in a series of online panel discussions to unpack the questions they think are timely and relevant in uncertain times. We posed and explored these questions in the spirit of sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf who wrote that intellectuals “have the duty to doubt everything that is obvious, to make relative all authority, to ask all those questions that no one else dares to ask.”  The contributions by the individual speakers are also part of a collection of online articles which are published by the online, peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal Global Perspectives.


Session 3 | Tuesday, 15 September 2020 |12:30 – 13:30 (CET)

How can the liberal order cope with recent global challenges?

Joanna Bryson, Professor of Ethics and Technology at the Hertie School speaking on How to ensure a wide-spread acknowledgement of the fundamental value of human lives, in contrast to a fear or hope that robots can “take all the jobs”?

Wolfgang Seibel, Full Professor of Politics and Public Administration in Konstanz; Adjunct at the Hertie School speaking on Nord Stream 2: How can Germany escape from the Non-Compliance Trap?

Jan Zielonka, Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and Venice, Ca Foscari speaking on How is liberal Europe challenged by the pandemic?

Chair: Helmut Anheier, Dahrendorf Forum Academic Co-Director, Professor of Sociology and Past President at the Hertie School, Berlin – The introduction is accessible here.


Session 1 | Tuesday, 1 September 2020 | 11:45 – 12:45 (CET)

How can democracy cope with polarisation?

Andrea Römmele, Dean of Executive Education and Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society, Hertie School speaking on Right-wing populism in post-corona times 

Rudolf Stichweh, Director of the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft and Professorship “Theory of Modern Society”, University of Bonn speaking on Divided Society: Persistent Inequality, Asymmetrical Dependency and Sociocultural Polarization as Divisive Forces in Contemporary Society. 

Lea Ypi, Professor in Political Theory in the Government Department, London School of Economics and Political Science; Adjunct Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University speaking on What’s wrong with polarisation? 

Chair: Philip Faigle, Head of department X at ZEIT ONLINE


Session 2 | Tuesday, 8 September 2020 | 12:15 – 13:15 (CET)

How can the global economy cope with the pandemic?

Iain Begg, Dahrendorf Forum Academic Co-Director, Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science speaking on What are the implications of responses to the COVID-19 economic crisis for global governance?

Howard Davies, Chairman of the Natwest Group; Past Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science speaking on How will the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic affect the financial system?

Linda Yueh, Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS; Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School; Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University speaking on Can we rebuild the economic consensus?

Chair: Quentin Peel, Associate Fellow with the Europe Programme at Chatham House