This 1-day conference, organised by the Baltic Geopolitics Programme of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Geopolitics and the University of Greifswald’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO), supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), will investigate Germany’s changing geopolitical orientation in the wake of the Zeitenwende and its impact on the relationships between Germany, the other Baltic Sea states, and the security of the region as a whole.

In recent years, Germany has had to reevaluate its position following a series of transformative events from the fall of the Berlin Wall, German reunification, the eastwards expansion of NATO and the EU, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This conference focuses on the impact of this reassessment for international security and relationships in the greater Baltic Sea region.

It will take place on 11 July 2024 in the Howard Building Assembly Room of Downing College, Cambridge, and the preliminary programme is as follows:

 

09.15 – 09.30 Introduction and welcome

  • Prof Brendan Simms – Director, Centre for Geopolitics
  • The Rt Hon Charles Clarke – Joint Programme Leader, Baltic Geopolitics Programme, Centre for Geopolitics

 

09.30– 10.15 Keynote: The relationship between Germany and the Baltic since 1914

  •  Prof Kristina Spohr – Professor of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science

 

10.15 – 11.30 Panel 1: The evolution of German approaches to the Baltic

  • Amb Christian Schlaga – German Ambassador to Estonia (2015-2019)
  • Prof Jörg Hackmann – Alfred Döblin Professor of East European History, University of Szczecin
  • Prof Karolina Wigura – Senior Fellow at the Center for Liberal Modernity and Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw
  • Dr Anita Bunyan – College Lecturer at Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge
  • Chair: Dr Alexander Drost – Scientific Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO), University of Greifswald

 

11.30 – 11.45 Coffee break

 

11.45 – 13.00 Panel 2: Russia, Ukraine and Germany’s new era of military engagement: Domestic attitudes, regional reactions, NATO responses

  • Maira Mora – Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (2016–20) and Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus (2011-15)
  • Amb Matthias Sonn – German Ambassador to Lithuania (2019-2023)
  • Brig Gen Torsten Gersdorf – German Defence Attaché, German Embassy, London
  • Dr Timo Graf – Scientific Senior Councillor, Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr
  • Chair: Dr Andris Banka – Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO), University of Greifswald

 

13.00 – 14.00 Buffet lunch

 

14.00 – 15.15 Panel 3: From Energiewende to Zeitenwende: The energy crisis, transition, and new visions for German-Baltic energy security

  • Sven Egenter – Editor in Chief and Executive Director, Clean Energy Wire (CLEW)
  • Dr Izabela Surwillo – Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Dr Katja Yafimava – Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
  • Chair: Trevelyan Wing – Baltic Fellow, Centre for Geopolitics

 

15.15 – 15.30 Coffee break

 

15.30 – 16.30 Panel 4: Rethinking the Baltic: Contemporary German discourses

  • Dr Tobias Cremer – Baltic Desk Officer, German Federal Foreign Office
  • Dr Benjamin Tallis – Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Action Group Zeitenwende, German Council on Foreign Relations
  • Prof Wolfgang Wagner – Professor of International Security, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Chair: Prof Margit Bussmann – Professor of International Relations, Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO), University of Greifswald

 

16.30 – 17.30 Roundtable: The impact and future of the Zeitenwende

  • Maira Mora – Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (2016–20) and Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus (2011-15)
  • Amb Matthias Sonn – German Ambassador to Lithuania (2019-2023)
  • Dr Benjamin Tallis – Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Action Group Zeitenwende, German Council on Foreign Relations
  • Dr Victoria Vdovychenko – British Academy/Cara Fellow, University of Cambridge
  • Chair: Prof Brendan Simms – Director, Centre for Geopolitics 

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