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Democracy

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Democratisation is a chief tenet of green politics and a central issue in political education. Still it is often far from clear how to translate the general notion of democratisation into concrete projects, campaigns, or educational programmes. "Civil society" is one such concept which, while widely embraced, is very contentious when it comes to questions of implementation. Other such issues are the crisis of party democracy, the media and democracy, as well as numerous fundamental questions surrounding the relationship between politics and science. All of these are part of the foundation's activities. A further focus of our work are programmes that tackle far-right extremism and racism.

Barbara Unmüßig behind the lectern
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Torture and sexualized violence are part of everyday life in Syrian prisons. However, human rights violations committed by the Assad regime play no role at the Geneva peace talks. With this in mind, Barbara Unmüßig, calls for women to be included as peace negotiators.

The demonstrators wonder: Olympia for whom?
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With the Olympics Rios city limits are shifted: Instead of fostering the wealth of the population, the municipality opens the way for speculation in real estate.

Ecology

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Ecology and sustainable development are central areas for securing the future of humanity – areas which should by no means be treated as a political football. It is to the credit of the green movement within and outside parliaments that ecology has become one of the main arenas of politics. There is hardly another subject which, within the last 30 years, has been thus transformed from the concern of a few scientists, activists (often thought of as "nutters") into a topic of world conferences.

    Guanabara Bay : Not only the athletes , the local population has been affected by the contamination of the bay
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Thanks to superficial cleaning measures plastic waste will probably not disturb the Olympic Sailing Competitions in the Guanabara Bay. A long-term restoration of the bay, however, stays indispensable as Emanuel Alencar illustrates in this article.

Protest against the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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Barbara Unmüßig correlates the Olympics with Brazil’s institutional, political and economic crisis. Did the organizers learn a lesson from the World Cup in 2014?

Economy & Social Issues

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Contemporary social change is characterised by a change in the age structure of our society as well as by changes concerning life styles, relationships and gender relations. Sustained high unemployment rates have meant that the idea of full employment has become a remote possibility. At the same time this has refocused the debate on the crises of the wage economy and the adverse effects it has on systems of social security. Thus current problems do also give scope to the development of new concepts of work – of work beyond a salaried economy.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation looks at alternatives to the West-German model of a salaried, male, full-time job economy. At conferences and in publications we compare national models of employment and social policy, discuss life and work styles beyond the market or state, and discuss the potential of employment in the non-profit sector, the dynamics of shadow economies, moonlighting, job creation schemes, work migration and bogus self-employment. Presently we focus on the question, if – or how – new concepts of work can go together with global equality.

The economic and ecological bases of a general prosperity are in danger. The Green Economy offers a model, based primarily on large-scale technological innovation. A solution if it results in even more consumption?

A biogas facility in the Ukraine
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Green Economy sets out to rectify the failure of classical economics witnessed with regard to climate change and biodiversity loss by assigning a monetary value to nature and by integrating ecosystem services into the market system.

International Politics

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After the end of the cold war foreign and security policies have been subject to rapid change. This development has been further accelerated after September 11. Traditional security policies such as deterrence and containment have been replaced by risk prevention, crisis intervention, and preemptive policy measures. Increasingly questions of foreign, security, and developmental policy have become intertwined. The debates surrounding the war on Iraq have brought to the surface tensions between the USA and Europe – as well as within Europe itself. Against this background we would like to continue the debates on the future of transatlantic relations - and this against the background of new security policy risks, crisis prevention, and preemptive policies.

YOLO written on an atomic bomb
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Negotiations on a treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal are planned for 2017. So far, Germany and others have tried to block this process, even while officially supporting a nuclear-weapon-free world. These contradictions will soon end, however: states will have to pick sides.

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Within the last days, Russia has accused Ukraine in “state terrorism” and started massive military drills along Ukrainian border. Our office in Kiev answers the most pressing questions on the recent escalation in Crimea.

Education & Culture

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In the fields of science and education, the activities of the Heinrich Böll Foundation reflect the change of modern societies towards what has been labelled "Knowledge Society." Knowledge – especially scientific knowledge – has increasingly become a crucial resource and education the precondition for participation in the public sphere. This participation in turn includes the ability to take part in social deliberations about the direction and the limits of scientific and technological progress.

Poems, short prose and essays on the fate of refugees and asylum-seekers - as published in our "Berlin Anthology - From where I shan't return".

Art and its public spaces in Amman, Berlin, Casablanca: How did the reception of public spaces change since the Arabic Spring? Which artistic strategies can realize new forms of participication?

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