Practitioners’ Part of the GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series Gets Off to a Successful Start

More than 400 people were in attendance at Hamburg City Hall as Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier delivered his lecture.

More than 400 people were in attendance on 27 June at Hamburg City Hall as Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier delivered the inaugural lecture in the practitioners’ part of the GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series. In his talk, entitled “Bridges and Ruptures – German Foreign Policy in Turbulent Times,” Steinmeier addressed the current foreign affairs situation and Germany’s role in the world.

"What we are seeing is a contradictory and complex world. A world which, on the one hand, is increasingly growing closer, but whose contrasting elements are at the same time clashing ever more quickly and fiercely. We are seeing a world that is seeking a new order,” said Steinmeier. With regard to the rising powers in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Arab world, which “are increasingly calling into question regional power balances and agreed-upon rules,” he described Germany as an “honest intermediary.” This quality makes the country a sought-after partner, in general and “when it comes to the creation of new elements of the global order.” Steinmeier cited peace, justice, innovation, and partnership as the objectives of German foreign policy.

In her speech, GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar welcomed Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series. Photo: GIGA / Frank Eberhard

Academic expertise on key foreign- and security-policy issues is concentrated in Hamburg, Steinmeier said, highlighting the particular importance of the GIGA’s research: “The value of regional studies, as undertaken by the GIGA on Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, must gain in importance in academia, research, and practice.”

The minister also noted his support for the approach formulated by GIGA president Prof. Amrita Narlikar, which proposes moving away from Western-centric methods and theoretical approaches towards truly global ones – in the practical sphere of foreign policy as well.

The highlight of the evening was the foreign minister’s announcement that Germany will again apply for a seat on the UN Security Council, for the years 2019–2020. “Our campaign starts today and will ramp up this fall,” said Steinmeier.

Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier meeting GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar and Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz at Hamburg City Hall. Photo: GIGA / Christoph Behrends

The event, organised by the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, drew more than 400 guests from politics, academia, the media, the non-profit sector, business, and the general public to Hamburg City Hall. The GIGA is an independent research institute which provides policy advice to the Federal Foreign Office. Through the GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series, it brings the best and brightest minds in academia and policy to Hamburg from all over the world to stimulate public exchange on key global developments. The next lecture will be held in September.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s complete speech is available here; an audio recording here. You can read additional information on Germany’s candidacy for the UN Security Council here. If you would like to attend our next Distinguished Speaker Lecture, please sign up for our newsletter.


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