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Visiting our exhibitions and events is currently possible without access control. Wearing a mask (medical or FFP2) at Amerikahaus is currently not mandatory, but is still recommended.
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Thank you very much for your cooperation and understanding.

Dr. Meike Zwingenberger, Annalena Baerbock, Boris Ruge ©MSC, Michael Kuhlmann

Amerikahaus' Annual Report 2022

Democracy at the Center

The war in Ukraine, geopolitical conflicts with China and the growing power of nationalism. On a global political scale, 2022 was a rough year for democracy. It was therefore very important to us to focus on this topic through various events and programs.

Cover photo: Dr. Meike Zwingenberger, CEO of Amerikahaus, Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock and Ambassador Boris Ruge, vice chairman of the Munich Security Conference © MSC, Michael Kuhlmann

Exhibition opening "TransVision" ©Leonhard Simon

Democracy in Focus

What is the situation with democracy when social groups such as African Americans or members of the LGBTQI+ community are still treated poorly? In January, we discussed the importance of democratic participation to overcome social division with Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, the author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Our exhibitions TransTrans: Transatlantic Transgender Histories and TransMünchen: Geschichte und Gegenwart Münchner Trans*Menschen thematized legal and political acknowledgement while shedding light on the history and experiences of trans* people in Germany, the U.S. and worldwide. George Packer, journalist and author of Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, analyzed the injustice of the democratic system within the U.S. with a suprising conclusion: "We are our last best hope."  What can each individual do to overcome these divides? What options do we have to oppose authoritarian heads of state and make the world – at least from a political perspective – a better place? We talked about this with several renowned intellectuals such as Ibram X. Kendi, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Ruth Ben-Ghiat, some of whom also were hopeful about the future of democracy. 

Ben Hodges ©Leonhard Simon

The War against Ukraine and its Consequences

A hope to which we can hardly can hang on to: Russia's attack on Ukraine in February 2022 changed the global political situation dramatically. In March and the following months, we discussed the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the transatlantic alliance and the global power structure – starting in March with a visit from Ben Hodges, former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army in Europe. Together with Prof. Dr. Stefan Schirm (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum) and his wife Iryna Nesterenko, who is Ukranian, as well as Olha Rubtsova, a LGBTQI+ activist from Kyiv, we talked about the situation of the people in Ukraine. Regarding foreign affairs, Yale's Prof. Odd Arne Westad and Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer (Universität Duisburg-Essen) analyzed the effects of the war in Ukraine, especially focusing on the geopolitical conflicts between the U.S. and China. Our exhibition Home-Based in Bavaria with unique photographs by Lila Hartig, who documented life on Europe's biggest military training area in Grafenwöhr, offered insight into the existing transatlantic collaboration in terms of security policy, which proved extremely relevant when looking at the developments in Ukraine. 

Katja Ridderbusch © private

Midterms in the U.S.

In November, we looked to the U.S. in suspense, where the midterm elections have decided the democratic future of this country for the following two years. Who were the winners and who were the losers? To discuss this further, the Bavarian American Academy invited Prof. Liam Kennedy (Clinton Institute, University College Dublin), Prof. Dr. Heike Paul (Bavarian American Academy, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (University of Oxford) and Katja Ridderbusch (journalist from Atlanta). Our CEO Dr. Meike Zwingenberger talked about the economic consequences for the transatlantic relationship in the podcast America's Choice together with the hosts Julia Friedlander (Atlantik-Brücke) and Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner (Aspen Institute Germany), as well as Julian Heißler (U.S. correspondent for Wirtschaftswoche in Washington, D.C.) and as part of an event with the vbw – Verein der Bayerischen Wirtschaft, to which not only the CEO of vbw, Bertram Brossardt, but also Dr. Christoph Schemionek (president and CEO of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington, DC), Dr. Laura von Daniels (leader of the research unit for America, German Institute for International and Security Affairs) and Sebastian Mackensen (president and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC) were invited for a panel discussion.

Annalena Baerbock ©Klaus D. Wolf

National and International Diplomacy up close

A parallel to the war against Ukraine, which president Joe Biden also pointed out, is one to the Cuban Missile Crisis, to which we dedicated an exhibition, which opened in October. In this exhibition, compiled by a group of LMU students headed by Dr. Andreas Etges (LMU Munich), various historical sources highlighted the importance of diplomacy for the resolution of international conflicts. Events such as the side events of the Munich Security Conference in February, the Young Security Conference in June and the book launch of The Art of Diplomacy from publisher  Dr. Tobias Bunde (Munich Security Conference) and Dr. Benedikt Franke, vice chairman and CEO of the Munich Security Conference, addressed international relations within a global and transatlantic context. Together with representatives of the political, cultural and scientific spheres, we also celebrated another diplomatic milestone in June. Together with Dr. Florian Herrmann (Head of the State Chancellery / Minister of State for Federal Affairs and Media) and Ambassador Eric Nelson (Deputy Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies / U.S. Consul General in Munich 2006-2009 / Ambassador in Bosnia-Herzegovina), we focused on the meaning of the Marshall Plan for the transatlantic relationship and permanent peace in Europe in a festive event under the motto "75 Years Marshallplan – The Meaning for our Modern World." As Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock visited in June and worked with citizens to develop the cornerstones of a national security strategy, we were able to experience democracy up close—an absolute highlight this year.

Digital Influencer Forum ©Lukas Barth-Tuttas

Focusing on the Environment and Climate Protection

Teaching younger people especially that digitalisation is of great importance when it comes to security policy was one of our goals this year. Therefore, we offered two hackathons, during which we developed software solutions for a better world, not only in terms of safety issues, but also in the field of climate policy and environmental protection. We also addressed these topics in April during the Transatlantic Innovation Week and the Digital Influencer Forum, an interesting talk with young influencers about the importance of climate and sustainability in our society. The lectures by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran (Universität Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch (LMU München) and Johannes Müller Gómez (Université de Montréal/LMU München) shed light on international climate policy in various ways. Environmental protection was also of great importance in our programs for students. Both our Department of Education and Exchange and our Research Center worked on an exciting virtual exchange between German and American schools. The program, called Green Together, enabled young people on both sides of the Atlantic to participate in a unique exchange of knowledge regarding sustainability. 

©Filmfest München

Open your books, start the movie!

Our cultural programming for 2022 also picked up on our focal points. The DOK.Fest as well as the Filmfest, both of which partially took place at Amerikahaus, addressed topics such as climate protection and migration in various films. For instance, Pleistoscene Park, a movie we showed as part of the DOK.Fest, deals with the melting of permafrost. The Filmfest München, whose festival center was located at Amerikahaus in 2022, focused on young Latin American cinema. In the series Filmmakers Live!, we talked to young Latin American directors about the economic and social change going on in their home countries. Those topics were also taken into account in various events concerning the political developments in Peru, Columbia and Ecuador. Our broad event programming Transvision, which accompanied our exhibitions TransTrans and TransMünchen, documented the experiences of trans* people in our society through film screenings and readings. Interesting book presentations by young writers such as Nathan Harris, whose book The Sweetness of Water has been lauded by Barack Obama, and established writers such as Celeste Ng and Tess Gerritssen, whose thrilling stories contain various fascinating worlds and characters, rounded off our cultural programming in 2022.

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Alan Taylor ©Leonhard Simon

We create Knowledge

Historical figures were a central issue in various conferences at Amerikahaus. At their annual conference, our Bavarian American Academy looked at a highly controversial topic from a scientific point of view: the American Revolution. With Keynote presentations from Prof. Alan Taylor (Oxford University) and Prof. Sarah Pearsall (Johns Hopkins University) we were able to follow the work of renowned scholars. Conferences addressing topics such as Intersectionality and Activist Writing or the video game conference Playing the Field, which all took place at Amerikahaus, as well as the presentation of the Dissertation Prize of the Bavarian American Academy took the new generation of scientists into account. Our pop-up exhibitions Race and the U.S. Presidents, elaborated by the Gymnasium Grünwald, and Leben von Anne Frank, which was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, enabled young students to engage with science at Amerikahaus. Our Research Center and our Department of Education and Exchange worked hard to let students and teachers learn about and experience the importance of transatlantic relations through research workshops, student and teacher seminars and the consulting services on exchange topics.

Amerikahaus München ©Leonhard Simon

Thank You!

A successful year is coming to an end. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to our partners, the Federal Foreign Office, the US Embassy in Berlin and the US Consulate in Munich. We look forward to continuing our lecture series  Munich Dialogues On Democracy, a project in cooperation with the Yale Club of Germany e.V. (Munich Chapter). We would also like to thank the Amerikahaus Association, the Kunstareal München and the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism for many joint projects. Thank you also to the Munich Security Conference and EuropaNova Germany e.V.,  to Forum Queeres Archiv, the DOK.Fest and the Filmfest München for the wonderful cooperation! We also express our gratitude to all other partners and especially to everyone who dedicated their time and interest in us in 2022.