Our Speakers & Workshop Leaders for BG 2017

Panel Discussion: "Challengers of Liberal Democracy: Anti-democratic Movements and Populism"

Prof. Alina Mungio-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at Hertie School of Governance

Mr. Tyson Barker, Program Director Cyber Security at Aspen Institute Germany

Moderated by Dr. Hasnain Bokhari, Assistant Professor at the Chair of Muslim Cultural and Religious History, University of Erfurt/WBS


Dr. Matthias Bauer, Senior Economist at ECIPE

  • "TTIP, Economic Populism and Threats to the Liberal World Economic Order"

Prof. Alina Mungio-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at Hertie School of Governance

  • "State Capture and Democratic Backsliding"

Zafar Saydaliev, CEO, Culture Goes Europe Erfurt e.V.

  • "No Hate Speech movement"

Licia Bobzien & Lukas Jerg, PhD candidates, Hertie School of Governance

  • "Gap. Which Gap? - Bridging the Knowledge Gap about Economic Inequality"
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Dr. Matthias Bauer,

Senior Economist at ECIPE

We are proud to announce Dr. Matthias Bauer, Senior Economist at the European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE), as our first speaker at the Bridging Gaps Conference 2017!

Dr. Bauer will lead a workshop on "TTIP, Economic Populism and Threats to the Liberal World Economic Order". 

In this workshop, he wants to step behind the rhetorical fog created by anti-globalisation and anti-free trade headlines with you. A one hour presentation will introduce key principles of classical liberalism in the light of the concept of robust political economy, major characteristics of anti-TTIP campaign activities in Germany and the EU and prospects for a liberal world economic order. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion among the workshop’s participants.

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Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi,

chair of the European Research Centre for Anticorruption and State-Building (ERCAS) at Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

For many years she has been the leader of the civil society anti-corruption coalitions in Romania and her good governance collective action designs were replicated in the Balkans, Ukraine and Latin America.  Her governance work is cited and applied by a string of development organizations for which she consults occasionally, such as the World Bank, UNDP, NORAD, but also by some EU governments and the European Commission.

Dr. Pippidi will join the panel discussion as a speaker, and she will also lead a workshop on State Capture and Democratic Backsliding. Here is a brief description of what she intends to address: 

After the euphoria of democratic transformations at the end of last century, the new one brings increasingly more challenges to new democracies, while the positive evolution of autocracies seems to have stopped. One of the most concerning features is the state capture of new democracies by a new generation of strongmen, from Turkey's Erdogan to Venezuela's Maduro. While democratically elected, they advance through a mixed strategy of constitutional manipulation, abuse of majority rule and a rhetoric drawing on nationalism and existential fears. The end result, however, is the shrinking of freedom of expression, the repression of dissent and civil society more generally and the growth of illiberal democracy around the world. The questions that we will address are:

- How do the new strongmen manipulate economic resources to advance capture?

- Why does the judicial power not resist this infringement of the executives and what can be done to reinforce it?

- Why do democratic constituencies seem so weak, so partisan and so willing to tolerate democratic infringements to defend themselves against what they perceive as threats to their identity and well being? What do people understand by democratic values these days?

- What can the international community do more or better to defend democracy, from Hungary to Egypt?


Mr. Tyson Barker

Program Director and Fellow, Aspen Institute Germany

Tyson Barker will join our penal discussion as an expert from the field.

Currently, Mr. Barker is program director and fellow at the Aspen Institute Germany, and responsible for the Institute’s digital and cyber program. Barker comes to Aspen from the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) where he worked on transatlantic cyber security policy. Prior to that, he served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department in Washington, D.C. from 2014 to 2015. Prior to joining State, he worked for 6 years at the Bertelsmann Foundation, most recently as the Director for Trans-Atlantic Relations where his portfolio included the European-American economic relationship, US-EU cooperation, the Congressional European Parliament Initiative (CEPI) and tracking rising political leaders in the US and Europe. He has written for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, the Atlantic, National Interest and Spiegel.

He was also named one of the top 99 foreign policy professionals under 33 by Diplomatic Courier Magazine in 2011.


Licia Bobzien and Lukas Jerg,

PhD candidates, Hertie School of Governance

Licia Bobzien and Lukas Jerg from the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, will deliver a joint-workshop on the issue of income and wealth inequality at this year's Bridging Gaps Conference. In their workshop, Licia and Lukas will give a brief overview of research on (i) income and wealth inequality, (ii) perceptual aspects of inequality, and (iii) forms of inequality beyond income, i.e. labour market status or life satisfaction.


Zafar Saydaliev

CEO, Culture Goes Europe - Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V.

Mr. Saydaliev will deliver a two-part workshop on the NO Hate Speech movement and projects in the field of anti-discrimination and xenophobia.

He currently works as Managing Director at CULTURE GOES EUROPE (CGE) -Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V., where he manages a small international team that mainly works in the field on non-formal education, media literacy, youth work and civic education. CGE is part of the NO Hate Speech movement in Germany. They also organize projects in the field of anti-discrimination and xenophobia. Most of their projects are funded by the Council of Europe, Erasmus+, Auswärtiges Amt, Stiftung EVZ and others. Prior to his Master studies at the Willy Brandt School, he worked in International organizations such as the OSCE, USAID and UNDP.

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Dr. Heike Grimm

Director, Willy Brandt School and Aletta Haniel Professor for Public Policy and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Heike Grimm will open this year's conference. She is Aletta Haniel Professor for Public Policy and Entrepreneurship at the University of Erfurt and since the winter semester 2015/16 Director of the Brandt School. Before she was Professor in Policy Analysis and Public Management with the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy of the University of Malta.

She served as the Director of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy from 2006 until 2008, and as Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, from 2004 until 2008. She was senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University and the German American Centre for Visiting Scholars in Washington, D.C.; visiting lecturerat the Higher School of Economics of the State University in Moscow and visiting professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University in Bloomington.


Dr. des. Hasnain Bokhari

Assistant Professor at the Chair of Muslim Cultural and Religious History, University of Erfurt


Dr. des. Hasnain Bokhari will moderate this year's panel discussion on "Challengers of Liberal Democracy: Anti-democratic Movements and Populism". He works as an Assistant Professor at the Chair of Muslim Cultural and Religious History at the University of Erfurt. His project deals with pluralist discourse and peace education, funded by the German Federal Foreign Ministry. Previously, Mr. Bokhari worked as a research associate at the University of Erfurt on a project "Changing Role of Social Media in Muslim Countries", funded by the DAAD. Mr. Bokhari received his PhD on a Heinrich Boell fellowship from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Erfurt. His research dealt with the state in a developing country context and how it deals with the phenomenon of eGovernment and the way modern communication technologies go through retransformation and reshaping according to the socio-political culture of the country. Mr. Bokhari is also associated with the Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester, UK and visiting professor at the Institute of Social & Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore. Mr. Bokhari holds Master's degrees both in Public Policy from Erfurt University and Computer Science from Bahria University, Islamabad. His research interests include, among others, eGovernment, ICTs for sustainable human development, and media and the new public sphere.