Leuphana Conference Week 2021: 23.02. - 26.02.2021

Power and the pandemic: Should cities and local authorities obtain more democratic control and resources these days? The Conference Week focuses on the role of cities. Can on-site decisions and communication promote the citizens’ self-efficacy and democratic imagination? How could that look like in detail? Who would agree to hand over power – the state parliaments, the Lower House? And: which role does the idea of a “republic of Europe” play?

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Together with around 1.500 first semester students, you started your studies with the opening week under the title “FUTURE:CITIES” by working in a project. During the 14th Conference Week, you will present the ideas you developed in the module “Responsibility and Sustainability” to both the University and the whole city.

Accompanied by experts from different disciplines such as politics, economy, and science, you will reflect on what future cities could be like. During our digital conference that takes place from 23rd until 26th February 2021, our live studio invites you to join our daily keynotes and magazines. Renowned guests participate in the conference week: the German environment minister Svenja Schulze, Maja Göpel, an expert on transformation studies, the philosopher Richard David Precht, the Green politician Aminata Touré and Ulrike Guérot whose research focuses on the future of Europe.

Responsibility for a future world: What would you like to contribute?

The Programme


For the Conference Week, each year means a fresh start. This year, however, the pandemic causes a deep change: There will be only digital formats. Still, it is the students of the Leuphana Semester who act as main protagonists. By presenting their “Projektgruppen Sessions” and “Seminarplenen”, they create major parts of the programme. Also, they exchange their ideas with guests and lecturers in digital discussions and workshops. Together, all participants search for responsible guidelines for science – under the title “Power to the cities”.

Programmübersicht ©Leuphana

The English programme can be found here.

Event Formats

The different formats identify the roles and perspectives of those involved in the Conference Week. For the students, that implies great challenges and excitement at the same time. On the one hand, the events are part of the “Studien- and Prüfungsleistungen” and offer practical research experience. On the other hand, the students may choose their individual programme out of a variety of formats.


The so-called “Arena“ appeals to a wide audience by focusing on the big questions of sustainability. In digital keynotes and panel discussions, renowned guests from all over the country contribute to vivid debates.


The projects have been the students’ first steps into the world of science. Via Zoom, four project groups from two seminars get into contact. In these so-called “Projektgruppen Sessions”, each group gets 30 minutes time to present their project outcomes to one another. The students learn from each other by getting to know different perspectives and research methods. To accompany the students and to hold their oral exams, the lecturers of the young scientists are part of the audience.


The so-called “Seminarplenum” brings back the whole seminar for a final exchange. All seminar members meet up in a digital working space and discuss and compare their different ideas and approaches concerning the seminar topic. The focus lies on responsible solutions. This research debate is a central part of the “Studienleistung”. It can be open to a public audience or not – as the students decide.

Aminata Touré, Vizepräsidentin des Landtages Schleswig-Holstein ©Imke Las
Aminata Touré, Vice-President of the Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament
Michel Friedman, Publizist und Fernsehmoderator ©Inga Liebe / SWR
Michel Friedman, Publicist and television presenter
Maja Göpel, Politökonomin und Honorarprofessorin an der Leuphana ©Jelka von Lange
Maja Göpel, Political economist and honorary professor at Leuphana
Wolfgang Schäuble, Bundestagspräsident ©Deutscher Bundestag / Achim Melde
Wolfgang Schäuble, President of the Bundestag
Ulrike Guérot, Vordenkerin einer Republik Europa ©Leuphana
Ulrike Guérot, Pioneer of a European Republic
Svenja Schulze, Bundesumweltministerin ©Thomas Trutschel/photothek/BMU
Svenja Schulze, Federal Environment Minister
Richard David Precht, Philosoph und Honorarprofessor an der Leuphana ©Amanda Dahms
Richard David Precht, Philosopher and honorary professor at Leuphana
Uwe Schneidewind, Oberbürgermeister von Wuppertal und ehemaliger Präsident des Wuppertal Instituts für Klima, Umwelt, Energie ©Wolf Sondermann
Uwe Schneidewind, Lord Mayor of Wuppertal and former President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy
Bodo Ramelow, Ministerpräsident von Thüringen ©Thüringer Staatskanzlei (TSK)
Bodo Ramelow, Prime Minister of the State of Thuringia
Rob Hopkins, Umweltaktivist und Begründer der Transition-Towns-Bewegung ©Rob Hopkins
Rob Hopkins, Environmental activist and founder of the Transition Towns movement
Claudine Nierth, Demokratieaktivistin ©Claudine Nierth
Claudine Nierth, Democracy activist

All guests can be found here




Conference direction

  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Barth
  • Sven Prien-Ribcke, M.A.

Press enquiries

  • Henning Zühlsdorff