The Dahrendorf Forum – Debating Europe

If Europe is to develop a foreign policy identity, institutional reform must be met with democratic debate. Indeed, it is about time for this to take place: how 'liveable' Europe will be in the future also depends on today’s external policies. No fence can shield Europe from the impact of global problems; old demarcation lines between domestic and foreign policy are fading. While this requires strong European responses, public acceptance of further integration is dwindling.

The Dahrendorf Forum recognises that both expert knowledge and public debate can benefit from mutual exposition. Therefore, future scenarios for Europe’s external relations are researched under the framework of the project and these findings are discussed with as broad an audience as possible. The project's scope thus goes beyond Eurocentric worldviews: it puts non-European perspectives centre stage. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint initiative by the Hertie School of Governance, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Stiftung Mercator. The project cycle 2015-2016, 'Europe and the World', is shaped by five interdisciplinary working groups with specific focus regions (Russia/Ukraine, MENA, China, North America and Turkey).

The impact of the project is strengthened by means of publications, both in major academic journals and the media. High-profile events in Berlin, London and beyond are meant to foster lasting cooperation between decision makers and all kinds of social actors. The event series is to culminate with the Dahrendorf Symposium in May 2016.

Since 2010 the three partners have been cooperating to create bi-annual symposia and public research projects in honour of Lord Ralph Dahrendorf. In the spirit of Lord Dahrendorf's own example, these efforts focus on promoting European debate about key issues in society through social science research and engagement with policymakers as well as with the public. The first two cycles of research are to concentrate on the debate on Europe’s institutional and political future and on the issue of man-made climate change. In the third cycle (2015-2016), the focus is to be on the relationship between Europe and the core regions of the world economy (North America and China), and especially its border zones: Russia and Ukraine, Turkey, and Middle East Northern Africa (MENA-region).

Dahrendorf Fellows

Dahrendorf postdoctoral fellows and research associates are involved in this research project. Each academic partner has one Senior Dahrendorf Fellow who is based at their respective institution (Amb. Wolfgang Ischinger at the Hertie School and Sir Robert Cooper at the LSE). Both advise on the speakers and participants at the symposium, mentor the postdoctoral fellows, and form the science-policy interface of the project. Each of the five working groups is chaired by one faculty member at either the Hertie School or the LSE and consists of at least four members and two Visiting Fellows from academia, politics, or business.

Dahrendorf Working Groups   

The five transnational, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectoral working groups are responsible for examining the key questions, and thereby preparing the content for the debate at the Dahrendorf Symposium 2016 'Changing the debate on Europe: Europe and the world'. A continuous exchange between the working groups is guaranteed via their members' participation at Dahrendorf workshops, seminars and lectures. Each of the research groups has a regional focus, examines four sets of tensions and outlines concrete policy implications for the future of the European Union's relations with its border regions (Russia and Ukraine, Turkey, and North Africa), and the core regions of the world economy (East Asia and North America). The research groups are as follows:

  • Working Group 1 - Europe and Russia and Ukraine (chaired by Vladislav Zubok, LSE)
  • Working Group 2 - Europe and Turkey (chaired by Dilek Kurban, Hertie School and Esra Özyürek, LSE)
  • Working Group 3 - Europe and North Africa (chaired by Claus Offe, Hertie School and Cilja Harders, FU Berlin)
  • Working Group 4 - Europe and North America (chaired by Peter Trubowitz, LSE)
  • Working Group 5 - Europe and East Asia (chaired Genia Kostka, Hertie School and Björn Conrad, MERICS)

Complementary Research

The Umbrella Project collects the research results of all Dahrendorf Forum working groups and produces a comprehensive picture of the crucial factors in the relationship between the EU and the five other countries/regions. It thereby seeks to contribute to the further development of a worthy European foreign policy. At the end, the umbrella team aims to present a set of scenarios for the positioning of the European Union in relation to its neighbours and the wider world in 2025. Contact: Monika Sus, Dahrendorf postdoctoral fellow (sus(at)
The European Institutions Monitor (EIM) is to map and assess the performance of core institutions and agencies in charge of implementing policies across the EU. It is to start by assessing how national institutions work, what their performance capacity is, and how they might be improved through best practice expertise. The EIM is then to be expanded to include EU policies. Contact: Julie Anna Braun, Dahrendorf postdoctoral fellow (braun(at)

The Dahrendorf Symposium 2016

The three-day event is to take place in Berlin from 25 to 27 May 2016. The symposium aims to set a broad, challenging, and multifaceted European debate in motion. It seeks to engage representatives of the European and global elite in academia, politics, businesses, civil society, as well as the media, in the debate about Europe.


Explore selected publications by the Dahrendorf Forum on the Hertie School Research Repository.

Project Contact

Gesa-Stefanie Brincker
Manager of the Dahrendorf Forum
Phone: +49 (0)30 259 219 -139