Laboratories of Democracy Initiative in 2023
The Laboratories of Democracy Initiative brings together German and U.S. state legislators to facilitate a values-based discussion and an exchange of ideas about how to tackle shared policy challenges on the subnational level. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote about the power of states as the “laboratory of democracy,” where new and innovative policy approaches can be tested. This project draws on that notion, focusing on the role of state legislators in creating policy solutions and fostering transatlantic relations in times when national governments are dominated by political polarization and crisis management.
The Program 2023
In addition to questions of state leadership, subnational diplomacy, and transatlantic cooperation, the third round of exchanges will focus in particular on the core issue of structural transformation and the revitalization of post-industrial areas. The transformation and decline of entire industries is a shared challenges across the Atlantic, caused by geopolitical and geo-economic developments, digitalization, and the increasing importance of decarbonization. Jobs will be lost, and new jobs will be created, requiring new skills and training. The transformation will also threaten social foundations and the prosperity of rural areas, where unemployment leads to an exodus of skilled workers and young people as well as a decline of infrastructure. To address these issues, the project will provide a platform for an exchange of innovative ideas and best practices that are necessary to develop long-term strategies and sustainable growth paths to positively shape the structural transformation and mitigate its negative effects.
The project will give participants the opportunity to engage with peers and other experts from across the Atlantic and build new transatlantic networks. Participants will learn more about policies and practices in each other’s countries, conduct site visits to see best practices and innovative solutions on the ground, and explore opportunities for transatlantic collaboration. All costs for participation will be covered by the project.
In-person and virtual programming will include:
- Interactive virtual sessions between March and August 2023
- Two 5-day in-person meetings (travel time included) in Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany from May 9 to 13, 2023, and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from June 20 to 24, 2023
- Collaboration on a joint publication to include multipartisan policy recommendations for the state level and for transatlantic cooperation, to be released in August 2023
Applicants for this exchange program must:
- be German or U.S. state legislators (open to members of all U.S. states and German Länder),
- be able to actively participate in all components of the virtual and in-person exchange,
- be willing to participate in the development and publication of multipartisan policy recommendations,
- have an interest in transatlantic exchange and the topic of structural transformation,
- have sufficient knowledge of English, and
- be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Interested state legislators are asked to send a CV or resume by email to Wiebke Wartenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, January 23, 2023, to apply to be a part of this unique transatlantic exchange. Promising applicants will be asked to participate in a short Zoom or phone interview to discuss motivation and expectations for the program. From each nationality, eight participants will be selected on the basis of their interest, background, availability, and suitability for the program.
COVID-19 Disclaimer: Program components and schedule are subject to change due to changes in travel restrictions.
The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).
- Senior Program Officer
- Telefon: +49 (0) 30 804 890 12