The Update


What we do, what we plan, what we think



What are our ideas for the fall?

What will we work on? We have set up three interconnected programs for this fall: Governing the Planetary Commons, Depolarizing Public Debates, and Conceptions of Human Flourishing. If the world were a giant house, these programs would be about figuring out how to share the living room without breaking the couch or ruining the rug. 

Who will be our new fellows? The calls are closed now for the 2023/24 term and we are in the process of looking through the many applications. Always exciting, like a box full of surprises, a bit like a birthday present—or  hundreds of them!

Oh no. Did you miss the call? Then stay tuned. The next call for Program Chair Fellowships will be out on 15 March 2023.  


It is all about the data

Your data, public data, private data. We are working together with the city of Hamburg in the program The New Hanse, and last week we started The Urban Data Challenge Hamburg, a competition to come up with the best solutions to share data in the area of micro-mobility.

Why does this matter? Data is a key element to create a more just and sustainable society, and our Project Lead, Francesca Bria, is working to create a framework for data sharing for the public good—the focus is Hamburg, the ambition is Europe.

What can you do? Spread the word. Or join the competition. We are looking for innovative solutions from people in tech, government, public policy, and civil society. The winning idea will be supported by 40,000 Euros.


Devastation and autocracy

Between pain and rage. Our fellow Ece Temelkuran is trying to calibrate her emotions in the wake of the catastrophic earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria, and has done so by writing, among other outlets, for Der Spiegel, the New Statesman, and The Nation.

Dictators and disasters. What became evident, once again, was that rulers like Erdogan or Assad not only suppress basic freedoms, create kleptocracies, and threaten or kill their own population, but this time of crisis shows their basic disdain for human life.

How can you help? Civil society organizations like Ahbap and Birkira Biryuva are doing all they can to aid those who need it most.

Source of inspiration: From the theater

We find comfort in watching the world only through the lenses of rationality. And not understanding makes us feel uncomfortable. An average intellectual who reads a work by Kant or Descartes that they cannot at first understand will read and reread it, probably opening several reference books, until they get closer to the mystery. When that same person encounters a piece of art they don’t “understand,” they just shrug and walk away, and do not invest the same kind or amount of intellectual energy to tame the beast. Just an observation. Leaving your comfort zone opens possibilities—this morsel of common-sense is almost too cliché to quote. But you should know that once you decide to leave that padded and boring comfort zone, theater (that is, at its best, revolting and subversive by definition) is waiting for you.

László Upor is a fellow in the program The Human Condition in the 21st Century. He recently took the other fellows and part of the team to see a performance of “H: 100 Seconds to Midnight” at Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, directed by Robert Wilson and inspired by the Doomsday Clock and the writings of Stephen Hawking and Etel Adnan.


The New Enlightenment

Why do we need to rethink rationality? “The eco gender gap clearly demonstrates how rationality functions as a moral framework, and why it needs rethinking,” writes our fellow Minna Salami in her op-ed piece for Project Syndicate, part of our collaboration around the theme of The New Enlightenment.

Why is this relevant: The first enlightenment was human-centered and based on a reductive version of rationality. In the present age of polycrises, we need to reconsider what is more-than-human and how this influences the way we conceive of life, economy, and government. 

Do you want to know more? Check out our discussion paper Towards a New Enlightenment.


Let's talk books

Where? We started a new conversation series, Let’s Talk Books, in cooperation with the Felix Jud bookstore at the corner building of the Warburg Ensemble. Life-changing conversations always seem to happen randomly, we want to institutionalize this creative energy.

Don’t want to miss out? Follow us on Instagram to get a heads-up on the next conversation.

New faces

And welcome, Judith and Báyò: Two new fellows joined the institute last month – Báyò Akómoláfé, poet, teacher, essayist, and Judith Simon whose research revolves around ethics, epistemology and politics of digital technologies. 

As always, stay tuned, stay sane, stay connected.

Hamburg is our home.
The world is our habitat.
The future is our concern.


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