Event Reports

A place to contribute to the ongoing discussions at the UN and a hub for the exchange of ideas in the world context

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung opened new office in New York

On January 23, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung opened its New York office in the historic News Building in midtown - with a great view towards the UN headquarters. The opening ceremony was held in presence of Ambassador Professor Harald Braun, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, high ranking representatives of the UN, Jewish organizations in the U.S. and political think tanks. Gerhard Wahlers, Deputy Secretary General of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, stressed the great importance of the new location for the international work of the foundation.

“The time was ripe for an own presence close to the UN headquarters in New York”, Wahlers pointed out. “That’s how we want to connect our international work much more closely with the discussions here at the UN headquarters and to use the new office as a hub for the exchange of ideas in the world context”. Central topics of the New York office will be linked to the central themes in the international work of the foundation: Foreign and Security policy/conflict prevention; development policy; climate change/management of natural resources; rule of law and global governance questions.

Professor Beate Neuss, Vice Chairwoman of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Professor for International Politics (Technical University Chemnitz) emphasized: With its new location, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung also wants to explain the work of the UN to the public back home in Germany and to the partners of the foundation worldwide. Neuss argued: “Both elements will be important to strengthen the acceptance of the United Nations in relevant groups of our societies”.

Current challenges to the global order

In her key note speech, Neuss analyzed five current challenges to the global order. She mentioned 1) the rise of new world powers, especially the rise of China; 2) the new assertiveness of Russia; 3) Brexit and the end of the European Union as we knew it; 4) the rise of populism in many Western countries and 5) the new uncertainties concerning the Western alliance – NATO / or to put it even more bluntly: the new uncertainties concerning the future role of the US in international affairs. Neuss argued, that it is more than ever important that we all do whatever is in our might – be it in government positions, in the academia, in the media or in the NGO sector to raise awareness of the current situation and to do whatever is possible to strengthen the existing institutions that were crucial for the peaceful development of the last decades, such as the European Union, NATO and the United Nations. She ended with a positive outlook: She said she was confident that the work of institutions such as for example the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung is very important – not only in Germany itself, but also abroad – and now as well here in New York. But this holds equally true to the work of many other non-profit organizations here in the NYC and around the world. “Although we should never overestimate the relevance of individual organizations (even if they are very close to our heart), we should equally not make the mistake in underestimating the potential they have. Especially at times of uncertainty the combination of efforts may bring positive change”.

A warm welcome to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in New York

“Finally the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung arrived in New York”, Ambassador Professor Harald Braun, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, welcomed the new office on behalf of the UN community. “The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung is one of the most important value based foundations in Germany – and it was time, that the foundation landed in New York. Around the UN an interesting nongovernmental community evolved. The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung simply must be present”. Braun stated that he looks forward to its intellectual input, conferences and events together with institutions like the EastWest Institute in New York. Simultaneously, he assured the assistance of the Permanent Mission whenever it is needed.

Ambassador Cameron Munter, CEO and President of the EastWest Institute New York, saluted the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for setting up an office in New York, the city that never sleeps. “Diplomacy is too important to be left to the diplomats”, Munter said referring to the famous saying by Georges Clemenceau: “The war is too important to leave it to the generals”. He further argued that political foundations and nongovernmental organizations are often more successful in reaching their aims than government institutions as they can focus on one topic only and enjoy high credibility. “Building trust, that’s the main task and ability of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung", Munter stressed. At the same time, he encouraged the New York office not only to work with UN diplomats. “Do not forget your friends at the NYU, Columbia or this city’s think tanks. And don’t forget Wallstreet and others who give you the ideas”.

Stefan Friedrich, Director of the New York office and former head of the foundation’s international think tank in Berlin, announced his willingness to actively contribute to ongoing discussions of UN topics together with the foundations local partners. Simultaneously, he praised the readiness to help by the Permanent Mission, the German Consulate General, his colleagues from other political foundations and the German community in New York, when he set up the office.

Text: Kerstin Lohse

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