Erfurt Transatlantic Dialogue

Division and Polarization - a Global Phenomenon



Social division and political polarization - two phenomena that dominate public debate. In Germany, the issues are manifold: Covid, Russia, migration, climate change, gender-specific language, to name just the most prominent irritants. The consequences are disenchantment with politics, a loss of confidence in the democratic state's ability to act, and a concomitant strengthening of the extreme political camps.

Societies in other parts of the world are also under considerable tension. In the United States, the world's oldest democracy, the controversies surrounding former President Donald Trump and the storming of the Capitol in January 2021 have become emblematic of this.

The countries of Latin America are as divided as they were last during the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s. Extremist politicians are winning elections, democratic structures are being discredited, and young people in particular are open to authoritarian movements. South Africa, India, Hungary, Turkey - the list goes on.

We want to discuss the phenomenon from three perspectives – the U.S., German and Brazilian perspectives. What exactly do the threats look like in these respective societies? How can it be explained that so many different societies are under pressure? What is being done in the countries to counter these tendencies?


You are cordially invited to discuss together with our experts and an international audience in a fish bowl.


6 pm: Opening

Tillmann Bauer

Desk officer, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation Thuringia


Lena Kiesewetter

Managing Director of the Willy Brandt School, University of Erfurt

6:10 -7:30 pm: Statements and Discussion

Prof. Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Founding Director of the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL), American University in Washington, DC


Dr. Regina Cazzamatta

DFG Project Leader “Disinformation Context and the Emergence of Fact-Checking Organisations in Europe and Latin America.”, University Erfurt


Jeannette Gusko

Co-CEO and Managing Director, CORRECTIV




Christian Tischmeyer

Program Coordinator, Willy Brandt School


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Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt (im Forschungsbau Weltbeziehungen"
Max-Weber-Allee 3,
99089 Erfurt


  • Lena Kiesewetter
    • Prof. Cynthia Miller-Idriss
      • Dr. Regina Cazzamatta
        • Jeannette Gusko
          • Christian Tischmeyer

            Maja Eib

            Maja Eib bild

            Landesbeauftragte und Leiterin Politisches Bildungsforum Thüringen

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