Events | Lecture: The Erosion of Western Democracies and How to Turn the Tide.

Berlin | 11. Dezember 2018 | 18:30

The Erosion of Western Democracies and How to Turn the Tide.

Ein Abend mit Laura-Kristine Krause (Direktor, More in Common) und Daniel Ziblatt (Eaton Professor of the Science, Harvard University) moderiert von Sudha David-Wilp (Senior Transatlantic Fellow und Deputy Director Berlin Office, The German Marshall Fund of the United States)

The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V., and the Robert Bosch Stiftung are pleased to invite you to the opening event of their newly launched lecture series on “The Backlash against Liberal Democracy”.We are delighted to have Daniel Ziblatt, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University, provide his analysis on how democracies die and Laura-Kristine Krause, director of More in Common Germany, contribute her ideas on protecting democratic societies from the threats of populism, polarization, and social division. Liberal norms, values, and democratic institutions are increasingly under pressure. Polarization and renationalization characterize the political atmosphere on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Europe and the United States have seen the election of leaders playing to an often populist agenda and bringing with them a new flavor of political discourse. With the narrative of “Us vs. Them” increasingly extended to the roles of judiciaries and parliaments in public debate, how can societies halt the erosion of democracy and its fundamental institutions? What mechanisms and safeguards can be deployed to ensure democracies do not suffer?

Henry Alt-Haaker

Head of International Relations Programs & Liaison Work at the Berlin Representative Office Robert Bosch Stiftung

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Vice President and Director Berlin Office, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Heike Catherina Mertens

Executive Director, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e.V.


The series “The Backlash Against Liberal Democracy” brings together influential voices from Europe and the United States, and seeks to shed light on different aspects of the challenges that liberal democracies face.

Laura-Kristine Krause is the Germany Director of More in Common, a new international initiative set up in 2017 to build communities and societies that are stronger, more united and more resilient to the increasing threats of polarization and social division. More in Common brings together attitudinal research, narrative work, and connecting people across divides and has teams in the UK, France, and the US. Laura-Kristine Krause previously headed the Future of Democracy program at the Berlin-based think tank Das Progressive Zentrum and worked on the election campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Martin Schulz in the European Parliament elections. She is also the co-chairwoman of D64 – Center for Digital Progress, and consults for the state governments of Rhineland-Palatine and Brandenburg at the intersection of digitalization and democracy. She has published on societal unity, institutional reform, digital democracy, and women in politics and was selected as one of the 40 under 40 of German society and science in 2017 and 2018. She holds a master’s degree in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin and was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Washington.

Daniel Ziblatt
is Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University where he is also a resident faculty associate of the Minda de Gunzburg Cener for European Studies and Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. His research focuses on democratization, democratic breakdown, political parties, state-building, and historical political economy, with an emphasis on Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. His three books include How Democracies Die (co-authored with Steve Levitsky), which is being translated into fifteen languages. Ziblatt is also the author of Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy, which won the American Political Science Association’s 2018 Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in government and international relations as well as three other prizes including the American Sociological Association’s 2018 Barrington Moore Book Prize.  His first book was Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism. Ziblatt co-chairs (with Steve Levitsky) a new Challenges to Democracy Research Cluster at Harvard's Weatherhead Center. He also directs a research program at Harvard's Institute of Quantitative Social Science (“Politics Through Time”) and has served as interim director of Harvard’s de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He has been a visiting fellow at European and American universities, including the European University Institute (Florence, Italy), Sciences Po (Paris), as well as several German universities, including most recently in the Department of History (State Archive of Bavaria and Institute of Bavarian History) at the Ludwigs Maximilian University (Munich, Germany)