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Heidelberg LecturesThe COVID Crisis, Economic Insecurity, and the Impact on Women in Germany and the United States

Zoom Meeting Screen shot with 4 women and one man

Under the auspices of Deutschlandjahr USA 2018-19, the American Council on Germany and the Heidelberg University Association partnered to hold a series of in-person Heidelberg Lectures. Over the 2020 and into 2021, we continued this collaboration in an online format as part of WunderbarTogether 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people in Europe and the United States. In March 2020, non-essential businesses were closed, workers in the United were furloughed or laid off, and many of their German counterparts were subjected to Kurzarbeit. U.S. schools and daycare centers were shuttered. In both countries, families struggle to come to terms with home schooling. This disruption has had disastrous consequences for working women and their families.

On January 27, the ACG and the Heidelberg University Association hosted the third Heidelberg Lecture, a discussion on the economic impact of the COVID crisis on women in the United States and Germany with Prof. Dr. Christiane Schwieren, Professor of Economics at the Alfred Weber Institute at Heidelberg University, and Julie Kashen, Senior Fellow and Director for Women’s Economic Justice at The Century Foundation, with award-winning German television journalist Birte Meier (2009 ACG Kellen Fellow) as the moderator.

2020 Heidelberg Lectures

In “Fighting Unemployment during the Corona Crisis: A Transatlantic Perspective,” Prof. Dr. Welf Werner discussed how the labor market policies implemented in the United States and Europe to address unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic differed. As Director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies and Professor of American Studies at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at Heidelberg University, Prof. Werner was able to offer an insightful look into German Kurzarbeit and answered viewer questions.

A “Law and Order Election: The Criminal Justice System and Political Discourse” was the second of the virtual Heidelberg Lectures. Staten Island NY District Attorney, former U. S. Congressman, and Heidelberg alumnus Michael McMahon offered his perspective on the unprecedented way in which decisions being made by local police and prosecutors are taking on a national dimension in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Annett Meiritz, a U.S. Correspondent for the Handelsblatt Media Group, led this interview-style conversation.