A power to change societies for the better
Last week, a group of over 100 people from five continents could be seen happily strolling the picturesque streets and ancient buildings of Lisbon, Portugal. They were pro bono intermediaries and interested affiliates from all over the world, who had come together for the 5th Global Pro Bono Summit.
For a Global Coalition of Responsible Leaders
The election of Donald Trump is a wake-up call. Those who saw Brexit as an unwarranted decision by a British population keeping its distance from the Continent now need to understand that the exception has become the rule.
Learning Not for School But for Life
Learning not for a specific job, but for a career? What can education and training look like today, both in Germany and the United States? During a workshop held at the U.S. East Coast, Franziska von Kempis, a new member of the Transatlantic Core Group, learned many new things, including about Bible study and the presidential elections.
Reviving the Momentum
Unsolved conflicts of the past, an overwhelming bureaucracy, corrupt elites, and poor rule of law: many countries in Southeast Europe are in permanent crisis mode. Hope has always come from the accession prospects to the European Union – but the EU itself has had an identity problem for some time. Southeast Europe urgently needs innovative approaches – and the strength to take control of its destiny.
At the networking and discussion format DENK:Raum 100 participants discussed the topic of “Social Responsibility and Digitization.” Together, they ventured into the year 2025. A photoblog recap.
7th BMW Foundation Global Table in Tunisia
A sense of urgency accompanied the 7th BMW Foundation Global Table "A New Social Contract: The Responsibility to Prevent Failure", which in the fall brought together some 30 participants in Sidi Bou Said near Tunis.
At the 5th World Responsible Leaders Forum in Munich in May, three organizations – the Global Pro Bono Network, Kiron Open Higher Education, and Impact Hub – pitched for support to the network. From the audience of 500 Responsible Leaders came a total of 99 commitments. Here’s a look at three of these commitments, six months later.
In May, the German government passed a refugee integration law. For the Social Democrats, this is not enough. The SPD wants an immigration law that would regulate economic migration. Do we need this law? – This was the key question of the debate at Munich’s BMW Welt.
Impact Accelerator Day
Through their impressive work, the young social entrepreneurs from Project Together qualified for their very own "Impact Accelerator Day". We have been very impressed by the fact that they, at age 20, had already reached a point where seasoned entrepreneurs double their age would like to be three years after founding a business.
An Interview with Abdallah Al Dardari
Aerial strikes, negotiations, ceasefire, renewed bombardment: As the war in Syria continues in its sixth year, it is hard to believe that it will ever end.
Open Dialogue in Difficult Times
Will the escalation in the Syria conflict lead to a new cold war? Or will it still be possible to find a path towards peace together with Russia? In this difficult situation, and shortly after the Duma elections in Russia, some 25 young leaders met for the 9th German-Russian Dialogue in Baden-Baden to discuss the prospects for increased cooperation.
Striving for the Best and Most Constructive Approaches
The Transatlantic Core Group (TCG) was founded in the summer of 2015 to establish a new German-American dialogue – an innovative collaboration of the next generation of transatlanticists who aim to make a social impact through working on joint challenges.
An Interview with Nadine Wachter and Philipp von der Wippel
Since Philipp von der Wippel founded Project Together in 2014, he has received a lot of support from the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network, especially from Nadine Wachter, the main mentor of the social business. The two talked about their collaboration on the sidelines of the Impact Accelerator Day.
Re-thinking Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding
Since 2015, Europe has struggled to respond effectively to the refugee crisis precipitated by conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa. Causes for this unprecedented level of forced migration include armed conflict, a lack of economic development, weak governance, poverty, and the effects of climate change.
4th European Young Leaders Forum
At the beginning of September, 40 selected participants from across Europe, working in different sectors came together in Belgrade for the 4th European Young Leaders Forum. One of them was Phoebe Gaa, a German television reporter, who looks back at three exciting days.
“The most interesting things happening in the field of innovation are linked to sustainability”
As the first director general of Brazil's National Forest Service and architect of the Amazon Fund, a fund dedicated to reducing emissions from deforestation, Responsible Leader Tasso Azevedo has helped to drastically reduce the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Today, he is focused on addressing climate change globally and to this end has worked to include climate change and sustainability issues in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
„It is of utter importance to be present in Turkey“
With the financial support of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, Mehemed Bougsea spent three months as an intern with our partner Kiron Open Higher Education in Istanbul. His ambition: Fighting for access to higher education on behalf of more than 120,000 Syrians. Mehemed will be returning to Turkey to help launch Kiron Turkey's first student batch this fall.
4th European Young Leaders Forum
In this live blog, you can follow the highlights of the 4th European Young Leaders Forum for which 40 participants from all over Europe will come to Belgrade from Sept 8 to 11, 2016.
For this year’s Impact Summer, we invited the Accountability Lab, winner of the Responsible Leaders Award 2014, and members of the US Chapter of our Responsible Leaders Network to come together for a special impact retreat. Narayan Adhikari, who works for the Accountability Lab in Nepal, writes about his most important take-aways.
Transatlantic Core Group
After the Transatlantic Core Group (TCG) was successfully launched last year on Wasan Island, the group convened a second meeting on Wasan Island, Ontario from August 3-7, 2016 to take stock of its accomplishments. Jennifer Jun of the Chicago Council describes how the focus of the discussions has changed over the course of the year.
Creating Jobs in Tunisia
Like Tunisia, many countries in the Greater Middle East are troubled by fragile democratic institutions, economic regression, and high unemployment rates. In this essay, Ines Amri writes about reforms of education and economy that she considers vital for Tunisia.
An Interview with Luiza Serpa
Luiza Serpa and Denise Chaer are leading the new Chapter of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network in Brazil. In this interview, Luiza talks about the challenges of building a network in a country as large and culturally diverse as Brazil.
The Power of the Network
"This is the pulse that drives change, the pulse that transforms encounters into energy. This is the power of the network." In May, more than 500 Responsible Leaders came together at the 5th World Responsible Leaders Forum in Munich and once again quickened the pulse of the network. These videos are proof of that.
Creating a Springboard
Germany needs a major educational program for both the refugee and the local population. Responsible Leader Sebastian Gallander explains how an American bill from 1944 could serve as a model.
“It’s always a messy process.”
Some 1.5 billion people – 20 percent of the global population – live in fragile or conflict-affected states and regions. During the last decade alone, the economic impact of violence amounted to 137 trillion US dollars. If nothing else, this staggering figure shows the urgency of the topic “Rethinking Governance in Fragile Societies.”
Searching for Positive Messages
Migration – Challenge or Opportunity? After one and a half day of discussions among the some 140 international participants at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, the central question of the 15th Munich Economic Summit can be answered quickly: Both!
More than 500 Responsible Leaders from all over the world came to Munich for the 5th World Responsible Leaders Forum in Munich from May 19-22. For the first time, we hosted this major event in the hometown of BMW – honoring the 100 year anniversary of our founder. On the first day, we sent the participants on a special discovery tour through the Bavarian capital.
An Interview with Tomás de Lara
Rio+B is a project that encourages companies and business networks to become aware of their socio-environmental impact on the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the Olympic Games this August. Tomás de Lara is co-leader of Sistema B Brazil, which is organizing this initiative in cooperation with the BMW Foundation and other partners. Rio+B will kick off on June 24.
An Interview with Rahul Chawla
“From an Indian perspective, it is essential to have a critical mass.” Rahul Chawla, Indian Chapter Head of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, on expanding the chapter, the outstanding characteristics of the network, and tackling social issues in the biggest democracy of the world.
„Growing old is part of life“
The John F. Kennedy School in Berlin-Zehlendorf runs a generational bridge program where entire school classes meet senior citizens. The school successfully cooperates with nursing homes in the neighborhood. The rituals and methods of the generational bridge concept are applied here.
An Interview with Cristina D'Alessandro
How to prevent violent conflict in fragile states and foster effective governance in post-conflict environments? This is not only the topic of the 6th BMW Foundation Global Table at the end of June. It is also one of the focus areas of Cristina D’Alessandro, who is an expert for transformation processes and governance issues.
Social Service Providers
The Lernwerkstatt (“learning workshop”) located on the grounds of Munich’s biggest refugee center provides asylum seekers with insights into the skilled trades – to the long-term benefit of both sides. The BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt has supported the project in its very own way.
An Interview with: Markus Hipp and Carl-August Graf von Kospoth
In March 2016, the two corporate foundations of BMW AG – the Eberhard von Kuenheim Foundation and the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt – consolidated their activities. Read a conversation about what led to this decision and the expectations that come with it.
“Fresh ideas in the realm of diplomacy”
The Global Diplomacy Lab wants to turn traditional diplomacy on its head. Four Advisory Council members from four nations work to make this goal a reality soon. The next opportunity will present itself at the 4th Lab, to be held in Berlin in June.
U.S. Elections 2016: Setting the Course for America?
It seems too late to want to explain the Trump phenomenon. Now the only question is how to keep him from winning. The deep crisis of the Republican Party and the growing divide in American society are also leaving Germans stunned and uncomfortable.
Looking Across Borders
The Transatlantic Core Group, founded in 2015, for the first time met in Germany. A group of Americans and Germans, including journalist Juliane Schäuble, convened in the Brandenburg village of Paretz to talk about the challenges posed by migration and integration. Discussions focused on how to make minorities equal citizens.
An Expedition for Children’s Rights
In 2017, BMW Foundation Responsible Leader Eirliani Abdul Rahman wants to start on an adventurous journey: A trip to the South Pole that she plans to use to raise awareness on the issue of child abuse. The intense training has already started.
Sven Stegemann worked for the BMW Foundation for four years, most recently at the POC21 innovation camp. Together with founders of the camp, he now sets out on his own by co-founding Open State. Here, he talks about his personal path to launching an alternative enterprise that advances new forms of business and society through open source methods.
The Social Internet of Things
The next great Internet revolution is just around the corner and ready to conquer our refrigerators, flush toilets, and cars. It is the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT) – a network of physical objects that allows devices and machines to communicate directly with each other and that renders many everyday processes fully automatic, without requiring human intervention. It makes us somehow uneasy, but it also offers enormous opportunities.
“This has opened my eyes”
“We suddenly engaged with school students who were ashamed of their living conditions and convinced of their own failure.” The BMW Foundation has opened many doors for Rock Your Life! and continually provided assistance and advice to the social business, thus also rocking the life of its executive secretary Philip Ihde.
How does digitization change philanthropy? On the one hand, we have established social organizations that need to stay on top of technological change. On the other hand, there is an increasing number of social entrepreneurs who revolutionize the sector through digital innovations.
An Interview with Samantha Lee
The 4th Global Pro Bono Summit in Singapore seeks to strengthen the movement in Asia and explore opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. We are supported in this endeavor by our local partner, Conjunct Consulting, which has a lot of experience in collaborating with governments and administrations.
Island Dialogue about China´s Political System
Five experts met in Munich to discuss where China is heading, whether its political system is doomed to failure or, on the contrary, could serve as a model for other states. The large-scale restructuring and reform undertaken by the new party and state leadership may be driven by anxieties about a deep economic crisis.
"Prevention should always be the order of the day"
As part of the Munich Security Conference, the BMW Foundation held a panel discussion on “Establishing Governance in Fragile States,” which also set the stage for the second cycle of its BMW Foundation Global Table event series themed “Rethinking Governance.”
TranSektoris Thinks Outside the Box
TranSektoris seeks to promote the collaboration between traditional and new players in the healthcare system and bring it to bear effectively and fruitfully on everyday work processes. The BMW Foundation has supported the initiative from the beginning.
Boxing for a Better Life
The Berlin-based start-up Camp Group uses sport-pedagogical methods to integrate marginalized youth into society – both in Germany and abroad.
A Globally Interconnected Renewable Energy System
Anette Bickmeyer and Alejandro Litovsky were participants of the 4th BMW Foundation Global Table in Poland on energy security and governance. In their essay, they argue that a globally interconnected system of renewable energies can reactivate the cooperation between the public and private sector.
Impact investing is fundamentally reshaping the financial landscape of social and environmental organizations. Ryan Little, project manager at the BMW Foundation and an expert on social finance, on how it is creating a substantial new source of capital to finance impact.
A Strategic Partnership
Michael Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of the BMW Foundation and former German Ambassador to China, sees much potential for a strategic collaboration between governments and foundations on foreign policy issues. At a conference at the Federal Foreign Office, he spoke about topics of common interest and possible synergies.
How Can Nation-Building Work?
Nation-building is not a panacea of international crisis management. As the discussion on Munich’s Prater Island on November 25, 2015, made clear, it is above all a learning process that also comes with setbacks.
An Interview with Kunlé Adeyemi
During the 5th BMW Foundation Global Table in Tanzania, architect and urbanist Kunlé Adeyemi stressed the importance of engaging local communities and civil-society actors in the development of large-scale infrastructure and city-planning projects.
A Milestone in Global Climate Policy
Expectations are high for the COP21 climate summit in Paris that will bring together representatives from over 190 countries. While the panelists at the Island Dialogue event on Munich’s Prater Island agreed that the conference heralded a turning point in global climate policy, they also made clear that containing climate change would continue to be an enormous challenge.
A Dialogue Among Equals
The 1st Berlin Global Forum concluded the first cycle of our new event series, the BMW Foundation Global Table. On November 13, participants from the five Global Tables came together with other international decision-makers at Berlin’s Westhafen to talk about the shared responsibility of Europe and the emerging economies in solving complex challenges.
Documentary about Generationsbrücke Deutschland
Die Generationsbrücke Deutschland als Film: Am 9. November hat ein Filmprojekt über das Sozialunternehmen des Responsible Leaders Horst Krumbach Premiere im Pfarrzentrum der Katholischen Kirchengemeinde St. Donatus in Aachen gefeiert – dem Entstehungsort der Generationsbrücke.
Interview with Osama Abdelmoghni
Osama Abdelmoghni serves as the new French/Benelux Chapter Head. He has a multicultural background and sees his biggest challenge in prompting members to overcome cultural differences.
France’s Reform Program and the European Integration
There will be no magic bullet soon – this was the consensus among all panelists who met for the Island Dialogue. Europe will continue in crisis mode, trusting that France and Germany, as usual, will turn things around in the end. France, however, should finally overcome its economic weakness to become an equal partner.
An Interview With Djoomart Otorbaev
Djoomart Otorbaev is the former prime minister of Kyrgyzstan. In this interview, he talks about the opportunities for landlocked Central Asian countries which emerge from new geopolitical concepts.
No End to Crisis Mode
Recently, the West and Russia have again shown a greater willingness to talk. But this does not mean that the crisis mode has been turned off. This became clear during the 8th German-Russian Dialogue in Baden-Baden.
Breaking New Ground in Promoting Civic Engagement
Five foundations, a company, and a federal ministry are united in a common cause: the “Committed Community” networking program provides three million euros and individual consultancy to promote long-term civic engagement and support existing local organizations and agencies.
After the kickoff in Berlin in 2014 the BMW Foundation together with the League of Intrapreneurs and Ashoka Mexico will hold the 2nd Global Social Intrapreneurship Summit in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, in early October. Maggie De Pree, co-founder of The League of Intrapreneurs, reflects on the latest developments of the movement.
Lost in No Man's Land
Off the couch and into real life: The German-American partnership can still be saved. For this to happen, however, both sides need to make sure to look and listen more carefully. This is what the panelists of the Island Dialogue event on Munich’s Prater Island quickly agreed on.
There is good reason to be proud and optimistic when the UN member countries are set to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on September 25. The SDGs are the result of tough political negotiations and unprecedented civil society consultations, and for the next 15 years will set the framework and benchmarks for ending extreme poverty and securing a more sustainable future.
5th BMW Foundation Global Table
The rather abstract topics addressed by the Global Table came to life at the Ngorongoro Reservation Area: There, the challenge is to find a balance between promoting safari tourism and protecting its unique wildlife, and to implement good governance that is not prone to corruption, prevents poaching, and represents the interests of the local population.
China's "One Belt, One Road"
China reinvents the Silk Road and plans to build new roads, railways, ports and pipelines. So far there has been no proper EU response, but Europe should not miss the opportunity to formulate its own respective interests and make the Silkroad a Europe-China initiative.
Global Diplomacy Lab
The Global Diplomacy Lab strives to give new meaning and shape to diplomacy. The speech about the core principles of design by Brenton Caffin of the British innovation agency Nesta at the 2nd lab meeting in Istanbul proved that a side-glance at other disciplines may provide valuable inspiration.
Transatlantic Core Group
The transatlantic relationship faces severe challenges, both now and for the future – this was of mutual concern among German and American participants of the Transatlantic Core Group’s inaugural meeting on Wasan Island, Canada this past month.
African Clean Energy
Every year, more than four million people in developing countries die from smoke poisoning, caused by cooking on open fires in closed spaces. That is more deaths than from malaria and Aids/HIV combined. The social enterprise African Clean Energy wants to change this – with the help of the BMW Foundation.
From Idea to Horizontec
The mission to Mars did not start in Cape Canaveral nor in the Kazakh city of Baikonur. It was on the tiny island of Wasan – three hours north of the Canadian city of Toronto – that the foundations were laid for this trip, designed to take school students into the unknown expanses of the educational universe.
In Russia, the situation for local and foreign foundations is deteriorating. Inspections have put pressure on nonprofit organizations, many of which have been forced to leave the country or have decided to withdraw. The BMW Foundation has chosen to continue its activities in Russia, because we believe in the power of intercultural dialogue, which can only happen on a personal level.
How Much Independence Is Necessary?
What do projects run by corporate foundations in Germany and France look like? And how closely do German and French corporate foundations work with their founding corporations? These were some of the questions discussed at the Franco-German dialogue, which took place in Berlin in June 2015 at the initiative of the corporate foundation of the French company Air Liquide.
Social Innovation Europe in Berlin
In cooperation with the British networking organization Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), the BMW Foundation invited over 70 international experts in the field of social innovation to a two-day conference in Berlin to discuss the enabling conditions for social innovation.
More than Match-Making
Carolin Graetsch is a student trainee at the BMW Foundation and a master’s student in Non-Profit Management, writing her thesis about intermediaries in the pro bono sector. To expand her research to the United States, she received the opportunity to do a three-week internship with the Taproot Foundation in San Francisco, one of our strategic partners.
An Interview with Shlomo Ben Ami
After 13 years of negotiations with Iran, the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program is now settled. Alongside a panel discussion at our Munich office, we discussed Israel’s sentiments about the nuclear agreement with the former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami.
A Common Refugee Policy for a United Europe?
The biggest challenge for Europe is not Greece, but the question of how Europe deals with refugees. By the end of 2015, the death toll in the Mediterranean could rise to 30,000. How much solidarity can and must we show? This was the topic of our “Europe United in Diversity” event in Magdeburg.
Media, Power, Truth
It is the German non-word of 2014: “Lügenpresse” (lying press). More and more people, whether from the left or the right, are challenging the classic media. Is there some truth to the accusation? Can journalists still be trusted? In May, UnAuf, the student newspaper of Humboldt University, organized a panel discussion in the Berlin office of the BMW Foundation to explore these very questions.
An Interview with Omid Nouripour
“I will only believe there is an agreement when I see it.” The foreign policy spokesperson of the Greens, Omid Nouripour, has doubts about the smooth implementation of the nuclear deal. We talked with the native-born Iranian on the sidelines of a panel discussion organized by the German Council on Foreign Relations and held at the Munich office of the BMW Foundation.
How can we rebuild lost trust? Germany and the United States are linked by a long and deep partnership which is currently being put to a severe test. There was wide agreement on this matter at a Forum Berlin event entitled “Transatlantic Relations – Is the Divide Growing?”, which took place at the Berlin office of the BMW Foundation. Among the participants was U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson.
Challenges for Impact Investors
“We impact investors really believe that we want to have adequate financial return and impact.” Charly Kleissner is a pioneer in the impact investment movement and co-founder of Toniic, a global network of action-oriented impact investors.
4th BMW Foundation Global Table
There is, of course, no guarantee. But when 25 people from all continents come to a small place south of Krakow that has poor mobile reception and modest accommodation but excellent conference facilities, a real dialogue is bound to emerge: conversations where listening is more important than speaking – across cultural and hierarchical boundaries.
The Report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance promotes global governance innovations, looking toward and continuing through the UN’s seventy-fifth anniversary in 2020. Michael Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BMW Foundation, is a commissioner and one of the authors of the report.
An Interview with Julian Popov
“Energy policies, trade and investment could increase or erode national security and prosperity.” Julian Popov, participant of the BMW Foundation Global Table in Poland, on challenges for the European energy union, China’s Silk Road project and the Russian fight for market shares.
Lecture Series Now Available in Book Form
Who do not move in these waters rarely know what is meant by the term “civil society.”
Munich Economic Summit
“Innovation and competitiveness” was the topic of the 14th Munich Economic Summit, which brought together some 200 guests from the business, academic, political, and civil society sectors – among them French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Valdis Dombrovskis and Günther Oettinger as representatives of the EU Commission.
An Interview with Peter Head
Peter Head is creating a digital platform that can be used all over the world for planning and investing in sustainable infrastructure. He was named by The Guardian as one of 50 people that could “save the planet” and participated in the 3rd BMW Foundation Global Table in Brazil.
An Interview with Senta Höfer
Senta Höfer headed the International Diplomats Programme for five years. The programme was designed to help highly qualified young diplomats develop a better understanding of Germany and offer them opportunities to expand their horizon. A personal look back.
Lecture Series Now Available in Book Form
Entrepreneurship has less to do with classical notions of entrepreneurship than with the pleasure one takes in ideas – this is what Günter Faltin and his teachings stand for. A newly released volume entitled “Netzwerke gesellschaftlicher Innovation” (Networks of Social Innovation) includes an interview on his “head beats capital” principle.
The Millennials – fear them, love them, hate them or be them. It’s impossible to ignore their presence, particularly as they become a growing demographic in the work force.
While still in school, Philipp von der Wippel founded ProjectTogether, a point of contact for people who want to realize their ideas for social engagement. In 2014, the organization assisted 120 project founders, this year, it is set to break the 1,000-project mark. The BMW Foundation helps ProjectTogether do so.
Global Talk on Possible Brexit
Is the European Union a bureaucratic monster that never delivers what it promises, or the most beautiful and intelligent adventure of humankind? In Great Britain, too, opinions are divided on this question. Two members of the European parliament debated the pros and cons of a referendum that might be in store for the British public following the general elections in May.
Impact Session with the Social Entrepreneurship Academy
Through its Impact Session format, the BMW Foundation taps into the rich expertise of its Responsible Leaders Network to provide strategic support to social entrepreneurs – such as, for example, the Social Entrepreneurship Academy, which now has available important building blocks to appeal to its target audiences.
An Interview with: Chris Fowler
Chris Fowler serves as the U.S. Chapter Head of the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network, where he leads outreach efforts, building more and stronger connections between the network members in the United States – using his special skills as a “creative connector.”
3rd BMW Foundation Global Table
Climate change and its impact on the urbanization process was the thematic focus of the Global Table in Brazil. Two aspects were looked at more closely: innovative ideas for urban mobility, and sustainable infrastructure measures for cities.
Lecture Series on Social Innovation in Book Form
Everybody is born with the willingness to change as an ur-entrepreneurial disposition – this is the conviction of Götz W. Werner, founder of the dm retail and drugstore chain. A newly released collection of essays entitled “Perspectives of Social Innovation” contains his talk about the unconditional basic income.
At a panel discussion as part of the Münchner Stiftungsfrühling, representatives of foundations and companies talked about the links between entrepreneurial thought and action as well as social engagement.
Young Leaders Forum in Brazil
The 2nd Latin American Young Leaders Forum sought to showcase entrepreneurship and business models that are not only economically profitable but also have positive social and ecological impact – and are successful because of that.
An Interview with Dr. Inese Lībiņa-Egner
In January 2015, Latvia for the first time assumed the six-month EU presidency. Inese Lībiņa-Egner, vice-president of the Latvian parliament, talks about the priorities of the Latvian presidency, advice for Greece, and fear of Russia.
An Interview with Gonzalo Muñoz
The main question of the 2nd Latin American Young Leaders Forum in Rio de Janeiro is how the public sector can enable social innovation. We talked about this topic with Gonzalo Muñoz, co-founder of the social enterprise TriCiclos and a speaker at the Forum.
3rd Global Table Brazil
The 3rd BMW Foundation Global Table in Brazil will focus on cities and climate change. Our strategic partner Alejandro Litovsky, CEO of the Earth Security Group and author of the Earth Security Index 2015, provides a starting point for discussions on the process of urbanization and resource security.
An Interview with Manuel Neuer
During their run to win the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the German national team stayed at the Campo Bahia resort. It is where the BMW Foundation now brings together the participants of the 3rd Global Table in Brazil, in the hope that the special spirit of the place once again works its magic.
3rd Global Pro Bono Summit
The BMW Foundation, the Taproot Foundation, and Proboneo invited corporate representatives and intermediaries from more than 20 countries to the 3rd Global Pro Bono Summit in Berlin. They all want to give a global boost to the concept of pro bono – that is, the volunteer engagement of professionals and leaders for nonprofits.
Even one of Istanbul’s worst snow storms of the past decade was not enough to prevent efforts to connect social innovators from Germany and Turkey. As part of the 2nd Social Innovation Summit, the BMW Foundation supported a delegation of Turkish-German and German innovation leaders to meet their peers in Istanbul on February 20–21.
2nd Social Innovation Summit in Istanbul
200 participants, six presentations by outstanding entrepreneurs, ten hands-on workshops – this was the 2nd Social Innovation Summit in Istanbul. Initiated by Ashoka and the BMW Foundation, the Summit offered a wealth of expertise and opportunities for sharing experiences and ideas.
The State and Social Entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurs are the new darlings of the German economy. But does the government really recognize and promote social business models? The approach is still in its infancy – opportunities for cooperation with traditional businesses and funding opportunities by the state are needed.
An Interview with Liz Hamburg
Liz Hamburg is President and CEO of the US-based Taproot Foundation, which has organized the 3rd Global Pro Bono Summit in Berlin together with the BMW Foundation. Both foundations are pioneers of the pro bono movement and are actively driving it.
An Interview With: Rajah Lehal
Bridging the gap not only between sectors, but also between the East and West Coast of Canada is one of the challenges Rajah Lehal has to face in his role as Canadian Chapter Head for the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network.
An Interview with Alexandra van der Ploeg
The software company SAP wants to firmly establish pro bono in the European market and is involved with the 3rd Global Pro Bono Summit in Berlin. “We can achieve more through pro bono than by simply writing checks,” says Alexandra van der Ploeg.
Energy Security in Times of Crisis
Given the current situation in Ukraine, is it even possible to think about future scenarios where Russia plays an important role in Europe’s energy supply? One must think about it, said the panelists of the BMW Foundation side event at the Munich Security Conference.
An Interview with Aretha Mare and Blessing Jongwe
Aretha Mare and Blessing Jongwe are part of the only all-female team that applied for the Africa Seed Program. They want to bring Impact Hub to Harare, Zimbabwe.
An Interview with Gunther Jancke
“There is a shared spirit to leave the world a better place than we found it. This creates a lot of energy and power, as well as friendships.” Gunther Jancke about the joys and tribulations of being the UK Chapter Head of the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network.
Change Within Companies
No company is short of intelligent, new ideas. In every organization, they are there somewhere. The problem: It is easier to stifle them than to develop them into innovations. How every employee can be a source of ideas and driver of change was the topic of an event that was jointly initiated by BMW Group, the League of Intrapreneurs, and the BMW Foundation.
Island Dialogues - Chinas Reform Agenda 2020
For many Western Europeans, China continues to be a kind of conundrum, however vast and increasingly influential. What does the 2020 Reform Agenda mean for the country - and what will be the consequences for Europe?
Social Progress Index
“Money alone does not create progress,” says Michael Green. The Social Progress Index 2014, which the British social scientist presented at the Berlin office of the BMW Foundation, seeks to provide evidence for this hypothesis.
UnAufgefordert Student Newspaper Turns 25
The student newspaper “UnAufgefordert” celebrates its 25th anniversary. Susanne Schwarz, former editor-in-chief, looks back at the newspaper’s history and funding difficulties.
EVPA Annual Conference 2014
On November 18-19, more than 500 venture philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, NGO’s, intermediaries and foundation representatives from around the world were in Berlin for the 10th annual European Venture Philanthropy Association conference.
From Aachen to Beijing and Back
Horst Krumbach has just been awarded the German Prize for Civic Engagement for his Generationsbrücke Deutschland initiative. For the Responsible Leader, this is no reason to rest on his laurels: with the help of the BMW Foundation’s network, he is now taking his initiative to China.
From United Nations to United Actors?
The work diplomats do is currently undergoing a major transformation process. Digitisation and globalisation are radically changing the day-to-day tasks. Diplomacy is also endeavouring to include other views, such as those from the field of culture and NGOs. How can this be achieved? The aim of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) is to help giving answers to these questions.
Getting a Political Debate Going
Horst Krumbach has already received several awards for his Generationsbrücke Deutschland, but the German Prize for Civic Engagement – presented on December 5 by Federal Minister of Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig (SPD) in Berlin – is a very special honor for the BMW Responsible Leader.
2nd BMW Foundation Global Table
Harald Krüger, Bhairavi Jani and Andrey Kortunov participated in the 2nd BMW Foundation Global Table at Lake Como, Italy. In our video interviews, they talk about global business strategies, corporate social responsibility and today's leadership challenges.
Helping Makes You Smart
In many rural areas, the situation is as dismal as the November fog: shops, doctor’s offices and bus services have closed down. A volunteer service could breathe new life into the countryside, while at the same time solving some youth problems, thinks Sebastian Gallander.
North Korea is beginning to open up to the world. Slowly, as Professor Rüdiger Frank emphasized, but all the same. At an event organized by the BMW Foundation and the German Council on Foreign Relations, the East Asia expert presented his book “Nordkorea – Innenansichten eines totalen Staates” and surprised his audience with his words and images.
The Transatlantic Community
The transatlantic relations have reached rock bottom, mistrust and misunderstanding are dominating the partnership – which nevertheless is considered one of the strongest alliances worldwide by both sides. The United States and Europe need to regain a sense for common purpose, says Bucerius-BMW Foundation Research Fellow Emily Sieg.
Panel Discussion at the Dresden Frauenkirche
For a long time, the ruins of the Frauenkirche in Dresden served as an anti-war memorial; with the help of private donations, the cathedral could be rebuilt. Today, it is not only a symbol of reconciliation and peace; on Thursday, it also made an impressive venue for the “Europe United in Diversity” event series.
An Interview with Anastasia Gulyavina
On November 20, 2014, Impact Hub Moscow will proudly open its doors to the public. We asked Anastasia Gulyavina, one of the co-founders, to tell us more about the social problems in Russia and why Impact Hub can help to solve them.
The good news is that the venture philanthropy and social investment sector has come a long way in the past ten years, but of course we can go even further.
Natural Gas - Risks and Opportunities for Development
Source of future prosperity or security risk? Tanzania’s huge gas reserves could make the East African country the third-largest exporter of natural gas worldwide and improve the lives of many people.
2nd Global Table
Michael Schaefer, chairman of the BMW Foundation, shares his impressions and first results from the 2nd Global Table at Lake Como.
Island Dialogue on the Italian EU Council Presidency
“Europe – a New Beginning” – this is the motto that the Italian government has given its EU Council Presidency, by which it is also referring to a stronger EU engagement in foreign and security policy issues. Do we really need a new beginning? And if so, does it promise to be a positive thing? On these questions, the opinions of the participants in the 5th Island Dialogue varied widely.
In Conversation: Michael Gerdts
The 2nd BMW Foundation Global Table takes place at Villa Vigoni, a binational association on Lake Como. The German-Italian Center for European Excellence stands for international understanding and intercultural dialogue. Michael Gerdts is the president of the Villa Vigoni association. In our interview, he explains the idea behind the place.
BMW Foundation Global Table
The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone. It ended because we came up with better ideas and implemented those.
Lessons From Afghanistan
“Was the Afghanistan Mission Worth It: Yes or No?“ was the topic of a pro-and-con debate organized by the BMW Foundation. There was no real argument, however, between Omid Nouripour and Michael Koch.
The view from the offices of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt may well qualify as an aesthetic treat: the Chancellery, the German Bundestag, the Federal Press Conference, the TV tower, and, of course, Berlin’s Central Station.
Mistrust of the West
The relations between Russia and the Western world have currently reached a low point. There is wide agreement about that – including at the 7th German-Russian Dialogue in Baden-Baden.
Fighting for the Good Cause
At the 1st Global Social Intrapreneurship Summit in Berlin, pioneers of this global movement gathered to get to know each other better and develop an action plan.
Susie Lonie and Nick Hughes at Vodafone were playing catch up. Their idea of offering mobile banking system to customers with no access to bank accounts was scaling up far more quickly than they had anticipated.
An Interview with Mascha Lazar
Extremely complex and featuring a confusing multiplicity of actors and interests - this is how the makers of the “Transferis – Leadership in Healthcare” program characterize the German healthcare system. Mascha Lazar has participated in the program and told us about her experiences.
Do Digital Gadgets Make Our World a Better Place?
Equipped with backpack and notebook, Betterplace Lab in the spring went on a field trip “around the world” – from India to Ruanda to Brazil – to find out how aid organizations, activists, and social entrepreneurs use the Internet and mobile telephony in the year 2014. Or, to put it differently: we were looking for the “good” Internet.
An Interview with Rajan Navani
Rajan Navani, who participated in the recent BMW Foundation Global Table in Hangzhou, is an old acquaintance and Responsible Leader of the BMW Foundation. The Indian entrepreneur is passionate about many interests and causes.
An Interview with Thierry Feike und Dietrich Firnhaber
Giving young entrepreneurs from Germany, Egypt, and Tunisia a leg up – this is what Responsible Leaders Thierry Feike and Dietrich Firnhaber have decided to do. Both are involved as mentors with the non-profit initiative enpact where they pass on their extensive experiences to start-up founders.
An Interview with Helga Breuninger
Starting this August, the BMW Foundation will hold a series of events on Wasan Island under the title of "impact summers". The events will be hosted by the Breuninger Foundation whose chairwoman, Helga Breuninger, explains how good places can contribute to good workshop results.
Island Dialogues on Ukraine
A few hours before the European Union, on Tuesday of this week, imposed yet more and stricter sanctions on Moscow, designed to have a “bigger bite” and to deal a more serious blow to the Russian economy, the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt held a discussion on Munich’s Prater Island entitled “Ukraine – A Test Case for European Foreign Policy?”
An Interview with Emre Yunt
Like other emerging nations, Turkey is a very young country with a rapidly growing economy. Therefore, Turkey can make a special contribution to improving the relations between Europe and the emerging economies, argues Emre Yunt. The Turkish diplomat was a participant in the 1st Global Table.
The New Balance of Powers
Twenty-five years ago, Francis Fukuyama postulated the end of history. The Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain, and the Soviet Empire had crumbled. Democracy and a liberal market economy had proven their superiority over autocracy and planned economy. Our Western system had triumphed.
The 1st Global Table Participants
The 1st Global Table, which took place on July 17–20, 2014, in the Chinese city of Hangzhou marked the beginning of a new conference format of the BMW Foundation. The focus is on the participants – personalities from around the world with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.
An Interview with Ma Jun
Ma Jun is China’s most high-profile environmental activist. He believes that the time has never been better to fight environmental destruction. He has just participated in the 1st BMW Foundation Global Table in Hangzhou.
Back to Nature
When it comes to Chinese hotels, travelers generally think of concrete towers, fully air-conditioned rooms, and meeting rooms without natural daylight. It can be done differently, however. Starting today, the 1st Global Table on resources and security is meeting in a Hangzhou hotel that adheres to the strictest sustainability standards.
Communication Without Words
What constitutes civil society and how strong is social cohesion in Germany? Twenty-seven fellows from the Chinese Narada Foundation came to Berlin and Hamburg to look for answers to these questions. They were sponsored by the Gingko Fellow Program, a program of the Narada Foundation that supports young people working for nonprofit organizations. Part 1:
Of Rubber Dinghys and Crowdgardening
During their visit in Germany twenty-seven fellows from the Chinese Narada Foundation explored the essence of civil society. Not only did they meet BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders, they also learned about environmental organizations und political foundations. Part 2:
"Defining the Problem Frankly is Often Half of the Solution"
Twelve young diplomats will be chosen for the 6th International Diplomats Programme (IDP) in September. Tamer Azzam from Egypt was one of the last year's participants. Retrospectively, he speaks about his impressions of the programme.
Pioneers at the Grassroots
Harvey Koh is considered a pioneer in the field of sustainable, innovative business models and impact investing. In his most recent study, he analyzed market barriers for social entrepreneurs working in developing countries. He presented the report’s key findings and insights in Berlin.
Visiting the BMW Foundation
Ariana Gonzalez is the first Taproot BMW Foundation Fellow and recently worked for one month in the BMW Foundation's Berlin office. As a fellow, Ariana is now looking at programs to support the global pro bono movement as impactfully as possible.
An Interview with Norbert Röttgen
Norbert Röttgen, Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament, talks about the European perspective on the topic resource security. He is one of the 30 international participants in the 1st Global Table.
A Portrait of Claudia Leisinger
When Claudia Leisinger and her camera go out into the world, she carries with her the license to ask. "I want to know what other people are thinking and why", says the freelance photographer. What do the last fish porters at London’s Billingsgate fish market do when they lose their jobs?
An Interview with Thais Corral
For weeks, the people in Brazil have taken to the streets to protest against the billion-dollar investments in the World Cup. The environmental activist Thais Corral sees a huge gap between the costs and the social benefit of the soccer spectacle.
Europe and the Emerging Economies
Fostering new bridges, ties and understanding is a vital step at a time of great uncertainty. The BMW Foundation Global Tables facilitate a better understanding between Europe and the new global players to build a multipolar world based on joint responsibility.
An Interview with Luciano Balbo
According to the Italian pioneer Luciano Balbo, impact investing can help improving the public sector. The new book "The Realitiy of Impact Investing – Stories from the field“ tells Balbo's story and the stories of ten other investors and social businesses.
An Interview with Aylin Gezgüç
Turkey is a society in transition. Big companies play an important role in this process and in drawing attention to social problems. Responsible Leader Aylin Gezgüç points out how Koç Holding gets engaged with societal issues.
Understanding Social Innovation
Canada serves as a role model for many in the social sector. In Canada – sooner than in Europe and nearer to our idea of a social welfare state than, for example, the United States – foundations, universities, and politicians have initiated a change that has come to be known as “social innovation.”
Europe United in Diversity
Europe has elected a new parliament. Already we know that euro-skeptics will have a say in the future course of the European Union. Quo vadis, Europe?
An Interview with Michael Schaefer
The BMW Foundation Global Tables facilitate an understanding between Europe and new global players to build a multipolar world based on joint responsibility. The unconventional setting creates a space to foster trust and explore new areas of convergence.
New Members at record speed
As a Responsible Leader and scholarship holder of the BMW Foundation Christian Hauser built a learning center in Cambodia within the scope of the Bookbridge Capability Program. The aim is to fill the local people with enthusiasm for books and education.
The new Chinese president Xi Jinping is currently visiting Europe. In addition to Brussels, he is also scheduled to stop for talks in Berlin and Paris. While the EU and especially Germany, Europe’s largest economy, hold strategic significance for China, Europe’s attitude vacillates between fear and admiration. The former is unjustified.
Five Indicators to Progress
As director of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development in New Delhi, Sachin Joshi is an expert on social intrapreneurship and sustainable business. He will share his knowledge at the "Training of Trainers"-Workshop in Munich. In his essay "Five Indicators to Progress" Joshi defines a visionary company.
An Interview with Meg Garlinghouse and Till Kaestner
Pro bono work is becoming ever more popular, especially in the United States, but also in Germany, where many professionals are eager to make an impact and change their environment. LinkedIn for Good is globally connecting more than 135 million professionals' knowledge and experience with nonprofits' needs.
An Interview with Evgenia Chirikova
The preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi were accompanied by criticism of the exploitation of the natural environment. In our interview, the Russian activist Evgenia Chirikova explains why environmental and resource protection is having such a hard time in Russia.
Limited Resources –
The global race for vital resources threatens to undermine the stability in key regions of the world. Emerging economies in particular, such as China or India, face difficult conflicts of interest.
The Accountability Lab
Imagine if you couldn’t receive health services from your government unless you paid a bribe which you could not afford. This is the painful reality for millions of people all around the world.
The international Young Leaders Forums combine the BMW Foundation’s two main concerns: international dialogue and social innovation. Carla Saliba and Celia Jaber of The Infographist in Dubai illustrate why this works.
So far there has been no playbook to teach social intrapreneurs how to navigate the politics of corporate ecosystems. But there are five tools – developed by the League of Intrapreneurs – which can help social intrapreneurs in their work.
The Story Hunting Art Work
The “Story Hunting Artwork” is one of our newest tools with which we hope to gain a better feel for the impact of our forums. Our lively little video shows how it works.
Economic Growth Is Not Enough
The Gezi park protests have put the media spotlight on civil society in Turkey. Civic engagement, NGOs, and foundations are not new to Turkey, however. Responsible Leader Filiz Bikmen points out how the Turkish civil society must change to become more powerful.
An Interview with Christophe Gördes
Its instruments are old, its repertory dates from the 19th century, and its most beautiful venue – the Cuvilliés Theater in Munich – was built in the Rococo style. So what is innovative about the Munich Chamber Opera? This is the question pondered by Christophe Gördes prior to his lecture on “The Riches of Limited Means – a Cultural Enterprise Looks Towards the Future.”
Market Research Meets Policy Planning
These days, the potential coalition partners are meeting in Berlin for negotiations on their governing program: with the best of intentions, but maybe too far removed from the lives of ordinary people. In Denmark, three ministries are testing their plans prior to implementation with the help of an innovation lab. According to Sebastian Gallander, the new government should take a closer look at the MindLab.
Digital Art Project in Beijing
When the approximately 300 participants gather from all over the world for the 4th World Young Leaders Forum in Beijing, the BMW Foundation will try for the first time to artistically reflect on the dialogue and exchange between the participants. To this end, the Canadian artist Baruch Gottlieb has prepared a digital art platform.
Youth in Somalia
The fight against piracy will not be won on the Indian Ocean. What is needed are new perspectives for Somalia’s youth. Youth and social entrepreneurship can be part of the solution, not only in Somalia but also in other crisis regions. With this idea in mind, Mohamed Ali will travel to the World Young Leaders Forum in Beijing.
Investing into the Future
Four megatrends make traditional CSR less and less significant. According to Dr. Maximilian Martin, a more comprehensive approach should take its place, where companies can contribute to solving social problems through their core business practices. At the 4th World Young Leaders Forum in Beijing, he will present his ideas about sustainable capitalism.
Sustainability in Russia
The Russian government declared 2013 to be the year of environmental protection. But who in Russia is interested in this topic? Despite state interferences in the NGO sector, the Russian civic sector is steadily growing, raising people’s awareness of sustainability issues. Giving a preview of her thematic session at the World Young Leaders Forum, Angelina Davydova writes about the hampered development of civil society.
In Syria, neither a political nor a military solution is in sight. Humanitarian aid is thus needed more than ever. Bidna Capoeira helps children in refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon to deal with their traumatic experiences and regain hope. The founder of the British NGO and BMW Foundation Young Leader Tarek Alsaleh writes about how he deals with the catastrophic impact of the Syrian war.
Europe is currently experiencing economic strife and an existential crisis. Youth unemployment is soaring across the European Union, with figures reaching around 64% in Greece and 56% in Spain. Such trends are simply unsustainable in the long term. Against this background, the 12th Munich Economic Summit focused on the question of how to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness through innovation and reforms.
Study of the Students' Forum
The Students’ Forum of the Tönissteiner Kreis e.V., a student-run think tank, examined the situation of “career changers” in the German Bundestag. They found that politicians who first worked in other professions brought special expertise to parliament. That's why there should be more of them, according to Insa Reimers and Hanns Koenig.
An Interview with Marten von Velsen-Zerweck about Carbon Compensation
Everybody generates CO2 emissions: when turning on the heating, taking the bus or flying. At the upcoming 4th World Young Leaders Forum in Beijing, the BMW Foundation will for the first time be compensating for the Forum’s ecological footprint to a significant degree.
An Interview with Ilona Doughtery
That young adults have majorly contributed to declining voter turnouts in Western democracies is nothing new. The real issue is that not only the youth voice is lost, as Young Leader and Apathy is Boring co-founder Ilona Doughtery relates.
An Interview with Tamer Makary about Egypts Future
In the run-up to the 2nd Arab European Young Leaders Forum in Tunis we spoke to Tamer Makary about the challenges facing his home country of Egypt, his engagement for eye health and how he balances business and charity involvement.
In his essay, Aaron Hurst, founder of the U.S.-based Taproot Foundation and pioneer of the pro bono movement, argues for a paradigm shift in the way nonprofits and businesses cooperate.
An Interview with Serge Embacher
As a result of the professionalization of politics, there is a widening gap between the parties’ elites and their bases. Opening up political parties to civil society and its practitioners could remedy this situation. But for this to work, parties must no longer see “engaged citizens” as belonging to an enemy camp.
An Interview with Timothy Wade
Although the improper disposal of human waste pollutes coastal areas and carries health risks, it is widely practiced in poorer countries. Timothy Wade, a U.S. social entrepreneur, offers a new business model to counter this practice.
An Interview with Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu
Life is tough for Nigeria’s subsistence farmers, battling with insufficient infrastructure and educational deficit. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu set up the Smallholders Foundation, a radio channel devoted to educating rural Nigerians about effective farming techniques.
Magic Bus Visit for Zeppelin University Students
Peer Ederer got to know Magic Bus as a participant of the 2009 World Young Leaders Forum in Mumbai. He recently returned to the Indian metropolis and visited Magic Bus again as a Zeppelin University lecturer with his students in the Executive Master of Arts for Family Entrepreneurship (eMA FESH) program.
Owners Forum Abu Dhabi
Family-led businesses enjoy greater freedom and flexibility than their publicly owned counterparts. They can use this latitude to serve as pacesetters in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. It was this particular perspective that the BMW Foundation, a partner of the Owners Forum Abu Dhabi, held on October 13-15, 2012, sought to contribute to the debate.
An Interview with Barry Desker
While he sees the global power shift to Asia as irreversible, Ambassador Barry Desker still believes in Europe’s future. Barry Desker is the Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and Director of NTU’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies.
An Interview with Stefan Kornelius
Europe has turned its focus upon itself in the crisis – a fact that comes at a potentially high price for the political balance of powers. Right before the start of the 11th Expert Conference on International Relations on October 4-5, 2012, Stefan Kornelius shares his view on important issues of European policy.
An Interview with Rodrigo Baggio
CDI is one of the most recognised NGOs in Latin America: Last year alone over 70,000 children, youth, and adults from underprivileged backgrounds attended CDI’s programs focused on digital education, citizenship, entrepreneurship and employability, thereby noticeably improving their job prospects and participation in social life.
US Immigration Debate
Sayu Bhojwani won a BMW Foundation Young Leaders Award this year for her New American Leaders Project. Three decades after moving to the US she runs the initiative to help prepare first- and second-generation immigrants in the USA for civic leadership.
Recently, Jesse LeCavalier and his project group “Infrapolitics” undertook a field trip to New York and created the publication MILGRAM. In the interview Jesse speaks about Google, political imaginaries and about infrastructure that is changing our lives.
Together with his working group Michael McQuarrie recently visited Berlin for a research trip. In the interview he speaks about professionalization of social organizations and its difficulties. Also he talks about the special way of life he has recognized in the german capital.
In this interview, Wofgang Pietsch talks about the Poiesis Fellowship collaboration, his definition of infrastructure, and the citizen in the 21st century.