Theodor Heuss Academy – Learning. Training. Shaping.

'Learning. Training. Shaping.’ What was created as a motto for the academy’s training sessions is attracting an ever-growing number of fans. This had the result that the training provided by the Theodor Heuss Academy had to be expanded in 2019. A new addition to the programme were the ‘Local. Political. Competent.’ seminars. Modules from the training programme ranging from rhetoric to fundraising were combined into high-quality individual events for active local politicians, always in close co-ordination with the customer groups. In 2019, the Theodor Heuss Academy welcomed around 4,500 participants from home and abroad to nearly 150 events. The THA’s training sessions contribute to further promoting a culture of personalised further education in a liberal context: for the world’s best education begins with each individual. The THA also invited special guests to #zauberberg, such as Dr Mark Benecke, also known as a forensic biologist on television. Benecke surprised us with a talk on the influence of peanut butter on the rotation of the earth. Our guest thus shone an unconventional sidelight on the question to what extent business-oriented research loses its freedom. This was also an opportunity to record the first instalment of the THA podcast.

New Year's reception:

Not talking down from a podium, but right among the audience: Otto Fricke, member of the Bundestag, budget policy spokesman of the FDP group in the Bundestag, likes to come across as a numbers guy, but he also has the human touch. It is a long-standing tradition of the New Year’s reception at the Theodor Heuss Academy that a political guest is given the opportunity to expound wittily on a topic of interest. In the year of the European Parliament elections, Otto Fricke talked about Europe, a topic close to his heart. Giving a speech in the style of a ‘town hall meeting’, he showed how to captivate an audience: by reaching out to people and listening to them while always maintaining a clear position in the mainstream of society.

From Gummersbach around the world :

Thus, at the very start of the year, Otto Fricke provided a highlight of political analysis at the Theodor Heuss Academy. It was 10 pm in Hong Kong when the Foundation’s representative in Hong Kong, Armin Reinartz, joined the VIth Transatlantic Forum of the Theodor Heuss Academy and the German Atlantic Society in Gummersbach via Skype across thousands of kilometres. In Gummersbach, it was 3 pm. The topic of his talk – the event took place before the protests in favour of Hong Kong’s autonomy – was ‘China’s rise to global power and the interests of important East Asian neighbours’. Armin Reinartz spoke not only of Hong Kong, but also about Taiwan, highlighting a special aspect of the core topic of the conference: the geostrategic rivalry between the US and China in the 21st century.