young-leaders Academy

Panel for Debating International Challenges

October 2019, Berlin

The Academy's Targets

Connecting young folks interested in debating and politics, professionalizing their leadership qualities, and leveling up rhetoric and body language – that’s what the Young Leaders Academy stands for.

Plenaries: Experts give lectures on philosophical, technical and political topics. Speakers included Prof. Nicanor Austriaco O.P., Ph.D., S.T.D. from the USA, Islamic scholar Dr. Carsten Polanz and Albrecht Broemme, President of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief.

Workshops: Interactive elements encouraged participants to proactively participate. As part of a great journalism competition, experts shared their knowledge on topics such as ethical manipulation, formalities of journalism, and strategies for identifying targeted misinformation scattering.

Remand Prison of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR

Visiting GDR-Memorials

Visiting this Memorial in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen is an equally terrifying and exciting experience. Various observations stood out in particular.

A guide led us through the halls and I would have gotten lost otherwise. This is certainly related to the ‘U-Boot‘-system (german for submarine) of rooms designed for completely isolating and disorientating prisoners by establishing indistinguishable, monotonous and windowless small rooms.

In the following, we were left speechless by the insane range of devices specifically designed to maximize its occupants suffering. For instance, the stretching rack fixed prisoners in a painful position for extended periods of time, the stool forced them to sit for hours in an extraordinary small and uncomfortable position without moving for hours. Even more inhuman, even downright animalistic, is the tiger cage – a small cage in which captured prisoners were held for days without any food and water supply.

What once happened behind the gates of this institution goes far beyond systemic failure. Severest psychological torture, arbitrary repression, and the vile impetus of political oppression are just a few meaningful complexities to comprehend the atrocities committed here.

After serving the GDR (German Democratic Republic) from 1945 to 1989, the prison gained international attention for exceptionally brutal treatment of largely political dissidents. Jürgen Fuchs (author and political activist within the civil rights movement, arrested in 1976), Rudolf Bahro (Marxist philosopher, arrested in 1977) and Vera Lengsfeld (civil rights activist, arrested in 1983) were among its best known prisoners.

Nowadays, the walls of this building provide enlightenment of the atrocities committed by authoritarian regimes and the resilience of everyone around the world fighting for freedom and human rights.

Journalism Workshop

Eberhard Zorn, 16th Inspector General of the German Armed Forces.
Christian Friedewald, Head of Video News at BILD

Within the framework of the Youth Press Congress, we were enriched by the treasure trove of experience gathered by professional and award-winning journalists.

Of particular interest: Eberhard Zorn, 16th Inspector General of the German Armed Forces was exclusively available to us for interviews. We cooperated to create the academys webmag. Moreover, he provided interesting insights into the german millitarys social media strategy for recruiting youth.

Christian Friedewald, Head of Video News at BILD, gave his best assistance for producing 15-minute report for our TV magazine. Fortunately, the President of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), Albrecht Broemme, was available to answer questions and conduct interviews.

Moreover, Julika Oppitz, 2011 – 2015 Chair of the Board of the Pacific Info Center, attended as well for working hand in hand with us to create a newspaper. The content was based on the topics discussed throughout the academy, but the emphasis was on improving our public relations skills.

I remember this day as a great enrichment of my expertise and network – a truly enriching experience.

Meeting Albrecht Broemme

He served as president of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief from April 2006 until the end of 2019. I am curious about the trajectory that brought him to this pinnacle of his career and how to handle the tremendous responsibility.

His life: Albrecht, born in 1953, was raised in a middle-class family in Darmstadt, studied electrical engineering and joined the local volunteer fire department. This membership paved the way for his career, which was followed by years at Berlin’s Berufsfeuerwehr (professional fire department). He took over the leadership, won competitions, received the Beuth Commemorative Medal and finally, under the direction of the then Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble, was appointed President of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief.

Albrecht gladly recounts the greatest operations of his tenure. The Elbe floods in 2013, Bavaria in 2016, various earthquake relief actions (Haiti in 2010, Nepal in 2015)  got an immediate response from the THW by supplying technical assistance to local authorities, managing logistics, and executing various rescue operations. For Albrecht, saving lifes was always worth the responsibility. We looked at challenges ahead. Introducing cutting-edge technologies and increasing funding matters. Also, inspiring the young to volunteer has become increasingly difficult.

I want to thank every participant for the meaningful time we spent together!

Associated Documents (German)