Public event

Germany's soft power 2030: Scenarios for an unsettled world

Given changing geopolitical relationships among major powers, what are the possible future soft power approaches for Germany relative to security concerns and economic interests?

The Zeitenwende, or epochal change, proclaimed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has many implications for soft power – the third pillar of German foreign policy next to security and trade.

In view of a rapidly changing and uncertain geopolitical situation, researchers developed four distinct scenarios outlining different options for future Germany foreign cultural policy. To open the event, Helmut K. Anheier, Senior Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School, will present results of the project. A panel discussion will follow, and a reception will close the evening.

This event is organised jointly with ifa.


  • Thorsten Benner is co-founder and director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin. His areas of interest include the interplay of the US, Europe and non-Western powers in the making of global (dis)order, German and European policy vis-à-vis China and Asia-Pacific, peace and security as well as data and technology politics. Prior to co-founding GPPi in 2003, he worked with the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, the UN Development Programme in New York, and the Global Public Policy Project in Washington, DC.

  • Ute Frevert is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, where she founded the Center for the History of Emotions in 2008. She was Professor of German History at Yale University from 2003 to 2007. She is an elected member of the governing bodies of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, as well as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. She was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize in 1998 and the Sigmund Freud Prize for Academic Prose in 2020. In 2016 she received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for the significant impact of her scientific work. In March 2023, she will assume the presidency of the Max Weber Foundation.

  • Peter Kettner studied law in Passau and Nantes and earned a doctorate in criminal law. Kettner has worked at the Federal Foreign Office since 2001. He served at the embassies in Almaty and Ankara in the Department for Culture and Society and at the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. From 2016-2020 he headed the office of former Federal President Christian Wulff. Since 2022, Peter has been serving as head of the Strategy and Planning Division for Foreign Cultural Policy.

  • Judy Dempsey is a nonresident senior fellow at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of the Strategic Europe blog. She is also the author of the book The Merkel Phenomenon (Das Phänomen Merkel, Körber-Stiftung Edition, 2013). She worked for the International Herald Tribune from 2004 to 2011 as its Germany and East European Correspondent and from 2011 to September 2013 as columnist. Dempsey was the diplomatic correspondent for the Financial Times in Brussels from 2001 onward, covering NATO and European Union enlargement. Between 1990 and 2001, she served as Jerusalem bureau chief (1996–2001), Berlin correspondent (1992–1996), and Eastern European correspondent in London (1990–1992) for the Financial Times. During the 1980s, Dempsey reported on Central and Eastern Europe for the Financial Times, the Irish Times, and the Economist.


YouTube Livestream