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The LSEsu German Society hosted the 11th German Symposium which took place on the campus of the London School of Economics & Political Science from January 30th to February 3rd, 2012. We were proud to have welcomed notable guests representing German academia, politics, business and culture.

The annual German Symposium has become one of the largest student events and is by now a regular fixture in the LSE’s events calendar. During the past years speeches of former chancellors, ministers, business leaders, Nobel laureates, media giants, religious leaders and even sports heroes have attracted attention that considerably exceeded the boundaries of the university body. In that light, Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador in London, assigned this event „a key role in the strategic dialogue between Germany and Great Britain“.

Our guests in 2012:

Dorothee Blessing (Goldman Sachs), Prof. Dr. Peter Bofinger (German Council of Economic Experts), Dr. Hans-Paul Bürkner (BCG), Jürgen Fitschen (Deutsche Bank), Dr. Christian Friege (CEO Lichtblick AG), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friedrich Wilhelm Graf (LMU Munich), Dirk Güsewell (EnBW Renewable Energies GmbH), Frank Mattern (McKinsey&Company), Andrea Nahles (SPD), Dr. Dirk Notheis (Morgan Stanley), Boris Palmer (Governing Mayor of Tuebingen), Prof. Dr. Danny Quah (Professor for Economics, LSE), Prof. Dr. Franz Josef Radermacher (Club of Rome), Dr. Martin Reitz (Rothschild), Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers (Former Minister President of North Rhine- Westphalia, CDU), Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn (ifo Institute for Economic Research), Dr. Friedrich Thelen (Thelen Consult), Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (Former Executive Director UNEP), Prof. Dr. habil. Josef Wieland (KleM)


Click here to see pictures of this year’s Symposium


Monday, 3oth January 2012

The Future of Banking

The financial crisis has not only affected the economy as a whole but in particular the way how financial institutions, their role in the economy and their future prospect are perceived nowadays. Jürgen Fitschen as the designated Co-CEO of Germany’s biggest financial institution talked about the future of the banking sector, the impact of the crisis, and how the role and image of banks in our societies can be improved and fostered.

Jürgen Fitschen (lecturer)

Jürgen Fitschen is a member of the Board of Managers at Deutsche Bank AG and has been elected to become Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank AG together with Anshu Jain, following Josef Ackermann as CEO in May 2012. He has been a member of Deutsche Bank AG for over 25 years, working in Asia and London. In 2005 he was appointed as Head of Regional Management worldwide and as CEO Germany.




The Euro – Failed Experiment or Prerequisite for European Prosperity?

Few issues are as dominant in current public discourse as the Euro crisis and its implications for European economic growth and political integration. Frank Mattern (Head of McKinsey Germany), Dr. Dirk Notheis (CEO Morgan Stanley Germany and Austria), Dr. Martin Reitz (Head of Investmentbanking Rothschild Germany) and Prof. Danny Quah (Professor of Macroeconomics at the LSE) discussed the state of the Euro and its importance or hindrance of economic growth in Europe in a panel discussion moderated by Olaf Storbeck, London correspondent of the Handelsblatt.

Frank Mattern (keynote speech and disputant)

Frank Mattern has led McKinsey & Company’s German office since January 2007. He joined McKinsey & Company in 1990, focusing on the financial sector. From 1997 to 2001, he led McKinsey’s German Financial Services Group. Even now as a senior leader, his ties to this industry remain very strong. Frank Mattern serves on the 31-member Shareholders’ Council, McKinsey’s highest global decision making committee. His clients include in particular European banks, stock exchanges, and IT companies. He studied business administration at Westphalia’s Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany, and at the LSE. Later he earned his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Dr. Martin Reitz (disputant)

Dr. Martin Reitz heads the German investment banking division of the renowned Rothschild banking group. He is well-known for his expertise in financial advisory services and investment banking, especially in the field of mergers and acquisitions. Having previously co-headed UBS’s German investment banking division, he possesses an extremely strong knowledge about Europe’s largest economy.



Prof. Danny Quah (disputant)

Danny Quah is a Professor of Economics and a Kuwait Professor at the LSE. He is also a Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and Chair of the China Summer School Board for the LSE-PKU Summer School. He was a Council Member of Malaysia’s National Economics Research Agency and the Editorial Boards of East Asian Policy, Journal of Economic Growth, and the Journal of Global Policy. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Economic Imbalances and he is on the Advisory Board of OMFIF Education.


Dr. Dirk Notheis (disputant)

Dr. Dirk Notheis has been the country head and CEO of Germany and Austria for Morgan Stanley since 2009. He was called into the Board of Directors of the Morgan Stanley AG in 2006 after becoming the head of the German and Austrian Investment Banking division in 2005. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1999 after leaving his position as the head of corporate finance for the SGZ-Bank. He was awarded his PhD at the University of Stuttgart in 1994 after graduating from the University of Mannheim in Business, Politics and Philosophy.


Olaf Storbeck (moderator)

Olaf Storbeck is the International Economics Correspondent of “Handelsblatt”, Germany’s most important business daily. Based in London, he is writing about current economic research. He has written articles for other renowned German newspapers and magazines including “Die Welt”, “Die Zeit” and “Der Spiegel”. Furthermore, he wrote the award-winning book “Economics 2.0 – What the best minds in Economics can teach you about Business and Life.


Tuesday, 31st January

The Future of Energy – Nuclear Phase-Out and Rise of Renewable Energies

Since the nuclear accident of Fukushima, many countries have rethought their energy sources and are increasingly focusing on renewable energies. Germany has announced to give up nuclear energy by 2022, planning to increasingly source energy from renewable sources instead. Prof. Dr. Franz Josef Radermacher (Professor of Informatics at Ulm University and Co-Founder of the Global Marshall Plan Initiative) gave the key-note speech providing a global perspective before joining Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (CDU, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)), Dirk Güsewell (Managing Director and Founder of EnBW Renewable Energies) and Dr. Christian Friege (Chairman of the Executive Board of Lichtblick AG) in a panel discussion giving an insight to the issue from a political, an academic as well as an energy-industry based point of view.

Prof. Dr. Franz Josef Radermacher (key-note speaker and disputant), a German mathematician and economist, is Professor of Informatics at Ulm University and a member of the Club of Rome. Radermacher is one of the co-founders of the Global Marshall Plan Initiative, a socio-ecological plan to help impoverished nations stabilize their population, eradicate poverty and increase global wealth while preserving the natural environment. He is a world-renowned expert in the fields of artificial intelligence, globalization, overpopulation and global sustainable development. Furthermore he is a member of several political advisory bodies.


Dr. rer. pol. Christian Friege (disputant), a renowned German Manager, is chairman of the executive board of Lichtblick AG. Lichtblick AG is the market leader for green energy and the largest independent energy supplier in Germany. In the past, he was the Chief Executive of Book Club Associates (BCA) in London, was a member of the board at Debitel and has worked as an independent consultant.



Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (disputant) is known internationally for his commitment in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Prior to this position, he has held several posts in the Federal Government of Germany, most notably as the Federal Minister of Urban Development and Federal Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety during which he was responsible for introducing ground breaking environmental regulations such as the life-cycle economy. Before his political career as a member of the Christian Democratic Union, he was a Professor at the University of Hannover where he was also the Director of the Institute of Regional Research and Development. Klaus Töpfer received several honours including the Order of Merit and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Business Ethics – Different Approaches

With the recent financial crisis having arguably been partly caused by an absence of ethics, business ethics have gained in importance, especially concerning management conduct. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friedrich Wilhelm Graf (Professor Ordinarius of Systematic Theology and Ethics at LMU Munich) and Prof. Dr. habil Josef Wieland (Director of the Konstanz Institute for Intercultural Management, Values and Communication), two distinguished experts in the field of ethics, gave an insight into the different approaches to business ethics in this panel discussion.

Prof. Dr. Habil Josef Wieland (disputant)

As one of Germany’s leading academics in the field of business ethics, he is a professor at the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences and the director of the Konstanz Institute for Intercultural Management, Values and Communication. His research includes management ethics, business values and compliance management. He was a key figure in the development of various ethical management standards. Moreover, he has been honoured with the Max Weber Price for business ethics by the BDI (Federation of German Industries).



Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friedrich Wilhelm Graf (disputant),

Professor Ordinarius of Systematic Theology and Ethics at LMU Munich, is a leading academic scholar in theology and ethics. He is one of the most distinguished German humanists and was the first theologian to be presented with the Leibniz Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Among other positions, he was Fellow at the University of Pretoria, of the Historisches Kolleg Munich, and of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Prof. Graf is the author of several very well received books and a columnist writing for Neue Züricher Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He regularly appears on German Television.



Wednesday, 1st February

A World of Two Mindsets

Looking at the global economic development, we are living in a world of growing differences: High growth rates, growing populations and rising prosperity in the emerging markets [of the East and South] sharply contrast with slow growth economies, declining populations, and an overall ongoing debt-crisis in the developed markets [of the West]. [There is no doubt, that we're living in a two-speed-world, where companies and national economies in Europe, the U.S., and Japan face huge challenges, and intense competition in the years to come.] Looking forward, we need to go beyond the purely economic [and demographic] facts. We need to sense the two different mindsets [at the individual, corporate and social level,] as main drivers of a two-speed-world: The aging populations of the West [looking backward,] defending the past, and fighting changes [(from infrastructure to pension plans)], with a strong sense of entitlement, sharply contrast with the young populations of the emerging markets, looking forward, [taking individual risks,] moving and] adapting fast to new realities (from new homes to new jobs), and heavily investing in education and infrastructure. On our path into the future we need [- as individuals, companies and societies in large -] to adopt a new sense of confidence and aspiration, enhance adaptivity and individual responsibility as fundamental requirements for shaping our own future.