Hertie School celebrates 20th anniversary with alumni in Washington, D.C.

Alumni and Professor of International Security Marina Henke discuss EU security policy at the Goethe-Institut.

As part of the Hertie School’s global 20th-anniversary celebrations, alumni and faculty gathered in Washington, D.C. on. 17 April for an interactive event hosted by the D.C. Alumni Chapter at the Goethe-Institut. The highlight of the evening was a talk delivered by Hertie School Professor of International Security and Centre for International Security Director Marina Henke on the topic “Why has the EU failed to become a security actor with teeth?”

In her talk, Professor Henke shared her insights into EU security policy dynamics, delving into European security efforts and their relationship with the United States. She also explored the potential ramifications of the upcoming EU and US elections.

Drawing from her research, Professor Henke addressed some of the underlying mechanisms behind states’ utilisation of diplomatic networks to forge multilateral military coalitions. Despite the EU’s prompt response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Professor Henke highlighted the union’s persistent gap in military capabilities compared to the United States. Her talk also shed light on Germany’s complex role within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, a position she described as “grand strategic confusion”. In her view, Germany struggles with a trilemma to reconcile its aspirations for strategic autonomy, its commitment to the transatlantic alliance, and its aim to remain neutral.

The event concluded with a moderated Q&A session, providing attendees with the opportunity to delve deeper into the topic and engage directly with Professor Henke. The discussion was followed by a reception which provided the alumni a chance to (re)connect with each other and continue the lively discussion with Prof. Henke.

Special thanks go to Washington, D.C. Chapter Lead Philip Grinsted (Master of Public Policy 2016) for his invaluable contribution to organising this insightful event, which enriched the Hertie School's anniversary celebrations and strengthened the bonds within the alumni community.

Hertie School alumni network

There are currently 16 Alumni Chapters and four Local Groups in the Hertie School’s global alumni network. These Alumni Chapters and Local Groups are spread over four continents and include Bogotá, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Mexico City, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Rhineland, Rome, São Paulo, South Germany, Toronto, Vienna, Washington, D.C., and of course Berlin.

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