Conference Week 2023: The large centre

2023-03-06 The conference week closes the Leuphana semester for the approximately 1,300 first-semester students. This year's motto was "OUR TURN". Renowned guests from science, politics and business discussed freedom, human rights and earth politics at the turn of the times with the students. In the central building, philosopher Richard David Precht and writer Jagoda Marinić engaged in a nuanced exchange of views.

Marinić und Precht auf der Konferenzwoche 2023 ©Johann Floeter
"We cannot play war and climate change off against each other. We must continue to live with multicrisis," Jagoda Marinić countered during the exchange of blows with Richard David Precht.

"Interest in serious, strong debates has become low," says philosopher Richard David Precht in the Central Building. He sees one reason in the changed political party landscape: "In the past, the Federal Republic was split down the middle into right-wing and left-wing positions. Helmut Schmidt was the most right-wing left-winger and Norbert Blüm the most left-wing right-winger," explained Richard David Precht at the discussion entitled "The Future of Freedom: Liberal Society in Crisis". He sees a large centre today, in which even former oppositionists like the Green Party can be found. "But everything that does not belong to the centre is exterritorialised," said the philosopher. A debate between two poles is therefore no longer possible. The writer Jagoda Marinić believes in the Federal Republic's ability to argue: "We have to preserve that," she said on the first day of the 2023 Conference Week in the Central Building. She also welcomed this reshaping of the centre: "People are coming in who were not in the centre before." She pleaded for open debates without the danger of being put in the "Twitter pillory", for example.

The arms deliveries to Ukraine were also the topic of the controversial and differentiated exchange of views. Richard David Precht attested that German television presented too one-sided a picture: In every talk show, there were more supporters of the arms deliveries than the other way around. "But the critics get more speaking time," the writer and playwright countered. Jagoda Marinić also hosts the podcast "Freiheit Deluxe". In talk shows, she said, arguments are often truncated and the conversations are woodcut-like. Moreover, the media should not be used to spread false statements. "We are not supplying Ukraine with weapons to destroy Russia, but so that Russia does not destroy Ukraine", Jagoda Marinić summarised.

Richard David Precht brought another crisis into focus, climate change: "If we go back to the confrontational world of the 20th century, then we have lost. We will have to spend increasingly more on armaments, but will have no money left to prevent the impending eco-catastrophe. If we do nothing, there will be no perspective for people in 50 years."

Jagoda Marinić countered, "We cannot play war and climate change off against each other. We must continue to live with multicrisis."

At the conference week, students present their results from the module "Wissenschaft trägt Verantwortung – Science bears responsibility". It is part of the Leuphana Semester. Within the framework of interdisciplinary modules, all first-semester students develop a common introduction to scientific studies. The conference week and the Leuphana Semester are part of the unique study model at the college. Prominent guests include the Chair of the German Ethics Council Alena Buyx, Hamburg's Senator for Culture Carsten Brosda, the German-American economist Rüdiger Bachmann, the journalist and doctor Gilda Sahebi, the transformation researcher Maja Göpel, the philosopher Richard David Precht and the filmmaker Franz Böhm. Mayor Claudia Kalisch and architect Almannai Fischer will continue to think about the "Zukunftsstadt – future city – Lüneburg".