1 September 2020

15th Academy Discussion
Against the Destruction of the Open Society

Shelly Kupferberg in discussion with Priya Basil, Eva Horn, Cem Özdemir and Jeanine Meerapfel

Monday, 14 September, 7 pm
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
>> Press tickets: presse@adk.de 

Right-wing violence and conspiracy theories endanger democracy and our open society. The clashes in front of the Reichstag building last Saturday are yet another alarming example.
How can we fight racism and discrimination and help to overcome national interests? How can we preserve cultural diversity? How can we stop conspiracy theories and right-wing violent fantasies?
Before the discussion, there will be a projection of photos from Sedat Mehder’s Die üblichen Verdächtigen [The Usual Suspects].

Discussion participants:
Priya Basil, author
Eva Horn, professor of modern German literature and cultural studies
Jeanine Meerapfel, film director and President of the Akademie der Künste
Cem Özdemir, Member of the German Bundestag
Moderator: Shelly Kupferberg, journalist

Priya Basil (born in London, raised in Kenya) is an author and political activist. In her most recent book, Be My Guest (2019), she ties stories about the Indian-Kenyan traditions of her family, her British heritage and life in Germany into a passionate appeal for hospitality in Europe. She is a co-founder of Authors for Peace, the acting curator for Europe’s Kitchen, a project for dialogue and exchange across borders, and the co-founder and co-publisher of the annual journal Rhinoceros – Europe in Transition, the first edition of which will be available in October from Matthes & Seitz publishers.
Eva Horn (born in Frankfurt am Main) is a professor of modern German literature and cultural studies at the University of Vienna. She is the founder of the Vienna Anthropocene Network, co-editor (with Michael Hagemeister) of Die Fiktion von der jüdischen Weltverschwörung (2012) [The Fiction of the Jewish World Conspiracy] and author of The Future as Catastrophe: Imagining Disaster in the Modern Age (2018). In the June issue of Journal der Künste (13), she writes on the topic of the corona pandemic and the air as a medium of social co-existence. The Akademie der Künste will award her this year's Heinrich Mann Prize (award ceremony to be held on 4 December).

Shelly Kupferberg (born in Tel Aviv) is a freelance journalist and moderator. In addition to her numerous contributions for the ARD, she has been moderating a wide variety of culture, society and book programmes for over 20 years and works as a freelance editor for Deutschlandfunk Kultur. In the series Position mit Abstand [Position with distance], Shelly Kupferberg talks with guests in the Volksbühne about the social injustices that have become even more pronounced during the corona pandemic. Topics include structural racism, discrimination, the economizing of the healthcare system and many others.

Jeanine Meerapfel (born in Buenos Aires) has been President of the Akademie der Künste since 2015. The film director and screenwriter has produced numerous award-winning documentaries and feature films. In her documentary film In the Land of My Parents (1981), she examines what it means to live as Jew in Germany. Her cinematic release My German Friend (2012) is about the encounters between Jews emigrating from Europe and Nazis in Buenos Aires. She is currently working on a filmic essay that follows the path of a personal biography in an examination of issues such as emigration, remembrance and forgetting.

Cem Özdemir (born in Bad Urach) became a member of parliament in 1994, making him the first MP of Turkish descent to be elected to the German Bundestag, where he initially served until 2002. From 2004 to 2009 he was a Member of the European Parliament (The Greens/European Free Alliance); from 2008 to January 2018 he was the Federal Chairman of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN. Since 2013 Cem Özdemir is once again a member of the German Bundestag. In addition, since February 2018 he heads the Bundestag’s Committee on Transport and Digital Infrastructure. His steadfast commitment to non-discriminatory coexistence and his fight against racism has earned him numerous awards (most recently the 2019 Ignatz Bubis Award of the City of Frankfurt).

Sedat Mehder (born in Turkey) is a freelance photographer. For his series Die üblichen Verdächtigen (2002) [The Usual Suspects], he photographed German politicians of Turkish descent – including Cem Özdemir.

Event information
15. Academy Discussion
Against the Destruction of the Open Society
Monday, 14 September, 2020, 7 pm
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
In German
Free admission