On June 3, the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ (GMF) Washington, DC chapter of its Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) convened its first policy workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to help the next generation of policy leaders understand the causes, linkages, and lessons learned from the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent German unification, in light of more recent popular movements this generation has watched unfold, namely the Arab Spring and the Ukrainian revolution. The workshop attracted a diverse audience from the diplomatic, think tank, academic, government, and private sectors.
Jessica Hirsch, program coordinator at GMF’s Transatlantic Academy, opened the event. The workshop featured a keynote address by Hope Harrison, an associate professor of history and international affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, on the history, lessons learned, and legacy of the events of 1989. Following this detailed overview, Amy Hawthorne, resident Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, and Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, led small group discussions on the Arab Spring and the Ukrainian revolution, respectively. The two groups discussed the political, economic, and social conditions that led to the eruption of these events, and tried to identify the policy impacts and lessons that could be learned. Finally, the full group reconvened for a readout of the conversations and policy-relevant conclusions based on their discussions. In conclusion, Harrison, Hawthorne, and Rojansky weighed in on the exercise of comparing and contrasting these events, as well as the implications for policymakers.
Read the blog post produced from this event: Revolutions of Dignity: 1989, the Arab Spring, and Ukraine
The Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) is a flagship initiative of GMF specifically geared toward young professionals 35 years old and younger. The network aims to strengthen transatlantic relations by offering the next generation of leaders opportunities to critically engage on core challenges facing Europe and the United States, as well as new issues posed by the increasing geographic reach of transatlantic cooperation. GMF currently has YTN chapters in Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, and Washington, DC.