The Körber History Forum is an international discussion forum, held annually in Berlin, that addresses current conflicts and political challenges with regard to the respective historical background. 200 participants are invited: actors from politics, science and public life, intellectuals and opinion leaders from Germany, other European countries and the USA. The objective is to promote international understanding of the political dimension of history.
In addition, the The Körber History Reflection Group brings together a group of 20 distinguished international experts from the realms of politics, diplomacy, historical science, civil society and the media to debate pivotal points of European history at the core of current political conflicts and developments. In 2018 to 2020, the main topic of the Körber History Reflection Group is the legacy of the two World Wars in the former Bloodlands of Europe.
The conflicting relationship between politics and history was the focus of this year's Körber History Forum 2018. The list of speakers included Erkki Tuomioja, former Finnish Foreign Minister and Chairman of "Historians Without Borders", sociologist Eva Kovács from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, political anthropologist Esra Özyürek from the London School of Economics, historian Philipp Ther from the University of Vienna as well as Turkish historian İlber Ortaylı.
"All over the world, we see that a free and democratic community is something very fragile," said Thomas Paulsen, member of the Executive Board of the Körber Foundation at the opening of the two-day conference in Berlin, which brought together international scholars, journalists, politicians, intellectuals and mediators of history for the third time. "Democracy is not a given, it has to be nurtured and fostered, it has to be defended against its enemies, but it also has to evolve, it has to be re-established and renegotiated time and again."
Is Europe about to lose its unity? And what is the value of Europe? The Bulgarian intellectual Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Centre for Liberal Studies in Sofia, gave answers to these questions in his opening keynote at the Körber History Forum 2018 on May 28th in Berlin.
How should Europe address the challenges of flight and integration against the background of its history of migration and integration? The historian Philipp Ther of the University of Vienna, the political anthropologist Esra Özyürek of the London School of Economics, the EU advocacy director of Human Rights Watch Lotte Leicht and the former Hungarian ambassador to Berlin Gergely Prőhle joined in this debate. Ansgar Graw, chief reporter of the German daily Die Welt, moderated the discussion.
How can the experience of the Cold War help to overcome today’s confrontation between Russia and the West? Discussion participants were the Russian journalist and author Maxim Trudolyubov and the former Finnish ambassador to Berlin and Moscow, René Nyberg. Judy Dempsey, Nonresident Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, moderated the discussion.