Public event

Europe at a turning point: Reckoning with a new era of geopolitical (in)securities

Two years ago, the Russian attack on Ukraine shook Europe to its core, launching an avalanche of discussion on what became known as the “Zeitenwende”, a buzzword describing the transformations taking place in Germany, in other European countries and in the EU itself. Two years after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it is time to take stock of how the ongoing war has reshaped the continent. The changes have been particularly profound, albeit gradual, in Germany, a country that has spent decades enjoying the “peace dividend” under the US security umbrella and assuming that economic engagement had turned Russia into a reliable partner. As Russia has proved to be Europe’s most significant security threat, allies are calling on Germany to fulfil its commitments and increase its defence capabilities. These external forces are accompanied by numerous internal challenges, including political polarisation and the energy and digital transitions. 

Fundamental shifts are also taking place in the EU as the Russian war has forced the Union to adopt unprecedented and, until recently, unimaginable measures, such as supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Union finds itself at a critical moment: on the one hand, it faces the geopolitical necessity of enlargement and institutional reform; on the other, it is strained by the growing power of ultra-right-wing parties, migration and economic challenges. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in June 2024, these issues are of particular concern.

How is the Union coping with these multifaceted challenges and what steps should it take to become more resilient? Are the changes in EU member states, for example regarding their approaches to Russia and increased defence spending, likely to endure? 

To tackle these and other questions, we are pleased to welcome Timothy Garton Ash (Oxford University) and Constanze Stelzenmüller (Brookings Institution) to the Hertie Futures Forum. The discussion will be moderated by Anita Gohdes (Hertie School) and hosted by the Centre for International Security


  1. Welcome remark by Cornelia Woll, Professor of International Political Economy, President of the Hertie School
  2. Keynote address by Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford
  3. Panel discussion with Q&A
    Constanze Stelzenmüller, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution
    Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford
    Anita Gohdes, Professor of International and Cyber Security, Hertie School


Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller

  • Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller is the Director of the Center on the United States and Europe and the inaugural holder of the Fritz Stern Chair on Germany and transatlantic Relations at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. A German native herself, she is an expert on German, European, and transatlantic foreign and security policy, as well as international law and human rights. From 2019-2020, Dr Stelzenmüller held the Kissinger Chair on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress and from 2014-2019 served as the inaugural Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Prior to joining Brookings, she directed the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and later served as Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the organisation, heading the Transatlantic Trends Program. Dr Stelzenmüller’s work in the think tank sphere follows a distinguished career in journalism, including the role of Defence and International Security Editor in the political section of DIE ZEIT from 1994-2005. She has contributed to a variety of publications, writes a monthly column for the Financial Times, and is a frequent commentator on American and European news outlets.

Prof. Timothy Garton Ash

  • Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford; Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford; and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of eleven books of contemporary history and political writing that have explored many facets of the history of Europe over the last half-century. He also writes a column on international affairs in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, amongst other journals. From 2001 to 2006, he was Director of the European Studies Centre at St Antony's College, where he now directs the Dahrendorf Programme. Prizes he has received for his writing include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Prix Européen de l'Essai and the George Orwell Prize. In 2017, he was awarded the International Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen for services to European unity.

Chair: Prof. Dr Anita Gohdes

  • Anita Gohdes is Professor of International and Cyber Security at the Hertie School. Her research focusses on contentious politics in the cyber realm, with a current emphasis on large-scale quantitative analyses of state behaviour. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Zurich, and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s International Security Program. Since 2009, she has worked for the California-based non-profit organisation Human Rights Data Analysis Group. She currently advises the German Federal Foreign Office and has consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations on security and state fragility. Her doctoral dissertation (University of Mannheim) was awarded the German Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences by the Körber Foundation, as well as the Walter Isard Dissertation Award by the Peace Science Society.