Topics

Democracy

Topic: Democracy

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.

Shrinking Spaces and the G20

When the 19 member countries and the EU gathered in Hamburg for the G20 Summit one important topic was not on the agenda: from China to Mexico, Turkey to Russia, Saudi Arabia to India – the respect for fundamental human rights can no longer be taken for granted.

By Barbara Unmüßig

Ecology

Topic: Ecology

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.

Economy & Social Issues

Topic: Economic & Social Issues

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.

International Politics

Topic: International Politics

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.

Education & Culture

Topic: Education & Culture

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.

"It’s about a battle of ideas in which we have to constantly engage our opponents"

In the beginning of April, the Hungarian President János Áder signed into force certain amendments to the Higher Education Act which in their particular formulation are obviously directed against the renowned Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest. We discussed with President Michael Ignatieff the implications of the new legislation on the university and its future prospects.
By Peter Brod
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