Common Ground

Coming up on Nov. 30: Should Christmas markets open in Germany this year?

Do you think Christmas markets in Germany should open this year? Send your response or questions you have about the unprecedented decision to cancel most of them to common.ground@kcrwberlin.org by Nov. 24.

Or send us YOUR question via the online form.
 

 
 

Latest show: Common Ground broadcast Nov. 23, 2020: The Future of the Workplace: Where and how will we work after the pandemic?

On this episode of Common Ground, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores what our future offices will look like with Helen Arvanitakis, director of London’s new Design District; James Andrade, senior vice president and head of learning and innovation at CapitaLand in Singapore and in Düsseldorf, Hans-Hermann Aldenhoff, country head and a law partner at Simmons and Simmons.

Also featuring Die Linke’s Tobias Schulze in Berlin.

This show was produced by Dina Elsayed. Voice-overs by Caleb Larson.

Common Ground broadcast Nov. 16, 2020: Is Germany ready for the new, trans-Atlantic realities?

On this episode of Common Ground, we discuss the repercussions of a Joe Biden presidency and whether he will reverse four years of Donald Trump’s antagonistic foreign policy as many in Germany and the rest of Europe hope.

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Bundestag member Daniela De Ridder (SPD), who is vice-chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Bloomberg Opinion columnist Andreas Kluth; Stormy-Annika Mildner, who heads the external economic policy department at the Federation of German Industries e. V.; and Jana Puglierin, who heads the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

Common Ground broadcast Nov. 9, 2020: Becoming German – Should religion count?

An administrative court in Baden-Württemberg recently upheld an unusual requirement for German citizenship — shaking hands with the opposite sex. A Muslim applicant refused to do it and couldn’t become a German as a result.

On this episode of Common Ground, we ask, what’s more important in Germany? Religious freedom or secular values?

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Said Ahmad Arif, imam at the Khadija mosque in Berlin; David Wengenroth, editor at the Lutheran news outlet, Idea; Sadiqu Al-Mousllie, Central Council of Muslims in Germany board member; and Ernesto Grueneberg, immigration lawyer in Berlin.

Rebroadcast Nov. 2, 2020: The upcoming U.S. presidential election and fraying U.S.-German relations (Originally aired on Oct. 5)

What many people feel about Election Day in the United States tomorrow can be described in one word: fear.

A record number of mail-in ballots already makes this an election like no other in U.S. history. To review what’s at stake, including the peaceful transition of power, the fate of democracy and women’s rights under a new Supreme Court or the global anxiety over U.S. foreign policy, listen to this episode of Common Ground first broadcast on Oct. 5.

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by John Emerson, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Kathryn Watts, Pendleton Miller Chair in Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle; Peter Beyer, Germany’s Transatlantic Coordinator; and Ralph Freund, Vice President of U.S. Republicans Abroad in Germany.

 

Oct. 26, 2020: Airbnb and vacation rental portals — A blessing or a curse for Berlin?

Airbnb and Berlin have a complicated relationship, one that’s largely playing out in court and in the media. Critics of Airbnb accuse it and similar portals of driving up rents and exacerbating the city’s housing shortage, while critics of Berlin’s approach to Airbnb complain of too much red tape and unconstitutional demands for data. But who is right?

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Wenke Christoph, state secretary in the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, Christian Eckart, an attorney and partner at Redeker Sellner Dahs and Daniel Hofmann, housing market researcher at the Hamburg-based institute for urban, regional and housing research GEWOS.

This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

 

Oct. 19, 2020: The EU’s Digital Services Act — What does it mean for Big Tech and for YOU?

The “Digital Services Act” is Brussels’ first big overhaul of European internet rules since the introduction of the camera phone two decades ago. Is it the “Magna Carta” protecting people from Big Tech companies, like proponents claim? Or are the proposed rules not transparent enough and too broad?

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Alexandra Geese, Member of the European Parliament with the German Greens; Travis Todd, co-founder of Berlin’s startup community Silicon Allee; Mackenzie Nelson, researcher and project manager at AlgorithmWatch, and Lina Rusch, a journalist with Der Tagesspiegel who writes about digital politics and artificial intelligence.

This show was produced by Monika Müller-Kroll and Dina Elsayed.

 

Oct. 12, 2020: Closed borders and quarantines – Are there better ways to travel safely during the pandemic?


The pandemic has wreaked havoc on people’s travel plans and decimated the tourism industry and airlines. The German government’s guidance on travel is ever-changing and often confusing, making business and leisure travel difficult at best.

With a new coronavirus wave erupting in Germany, across Europe and in parts of the US, will we see more border closures and quarantine rules? Or can increased testing help save holidaymakers’ fall and winter plans?

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Volker Adams, the head of government affairs at the German Travel Association (DRV); Christian Tänzler, a spokesman for visitBerlin, the city’s official tourism service and Elizabeth Becker, an award-winning journalist and author of “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism.”

This show was produced by Sylvia Cunningham.

 

Oct. 5, 2020: The upcoming U.S. presidential election and fraying U.S.-German relations


What many people feel about the upcoming U.S. presidential election can be described in one word: Fear.

Some worry there won’t be a peaceful transition of power following the vote next month. Others wonder whether democracy and women’s rights in the United States will radically change with a new Supreme Court. There is also anxiety over U.S. foreign policy, and the tone of the recent presidential debate only added to global uncertainty.

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by John Emerson, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Kathryn Watts, Pendleton Miller Chair in Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle; Peter Beyer, Germany’s Transatlantic Coordinator; and Ralph Freund, Vice President of U.S. Republicans Abroad in Germany.

Sept. 28, 2020: Is it safe to be Jewish in Germany?


Is it safe to be Jewish in Germany? Should German authorities be doing more to stop rising anti-Semitism?

Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Germany’s Commissioner for Jewish life and against anti-Semitism Felix Klein; Sigmount Koenigsberg of the Jewish Community of Berlin; Sharon Kuckuck of Berlin’s Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and Biplab Basu of ReachOut Berlin, who debate these questions one year after the deadly Halle attack and discuss how to reverse the trend.

Sept. 21, 2020: Cyclists vs. Pedestrians


Frustration is high in Berlin over the rights of cyclists vs. drivers. But what about the rights of Berlin’s pedestrians vs. cyclists? We explore that fraught relationship and other human-powered, sustainable mobility conflicts in Berlin on the third episode of Common Ground with guests Carolina Mazza of ADFC (German Cyclists Association), Roland Stimpel of FUSS e.V. (Organization for Pedesterian Protection of Germany), Alena Büttner of the German Environment Agency and Dirk von Schneidemesser of Changing Cities e.V.

Sept. 14, 2020: “Should Berlin become a tech hub?”

When Google announced plans to open a campus in the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg, local opposition was so loud that it ground the tech giant’s plans to a halt. A similar wave of protests hit Friedrichshain earlier this year against Amazon’s plans to make a 140 meter-tall office building its headquarters.

In this episode, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Nina Monaghan, the vice-chairwoman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg; Yonatan Miller, co-founder of the Berlin Tech Workers Coalition, and freelance journalist and activist John Malamatinas.

This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

Sept. 10, 2020: “Who is a real Berliner?”

John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech was embraced by an overwhelming majority of city residents nearly six decades ago. But these days, there’s a lot of disagreement over who gets to call themselves a Berliner as the German capital rapidly evolves into an international city with immigrants from around the globe.

In the hour-long premiere of “Common Ground”, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by a panel made up of Berlin politicians Sawsan Chebli and Christian Gräff,  “Der Alte Ami” – Berliner Rundfunk DJ Rik de Lisle, and Maxim Gorki Theater Director Shermin Langhoff. Find out more. 

This show was produced by Dina Elsayed and recorded live at Pfefferberg Haus 13 on Sept. 7, 2020. 


About Common Ground

The show tries to foster civil dialogue in Berlin and beyond, and its topics will range from local, including the inaugural episode, “Who is a REAL Berliner?” to transatlantic discussion on the U.S. presidential elections and their impact on the sister cities of Berlin and Los Angeles (KCRW Berlin is partnered with KCRW in L.A.) “Common Ground” is a must for the large, English-speaking community of Berlin trying to make sense of urban life in Germany’s complex capital city.

The talk-show format show features guests from diverse backgrounds and nationalities who come together to share different perspectives, learn from each other and develop new ideas. In addition, the program will feature stories, questions and interviews to provide deeper insight into topics. 

“Common Ground” features six “town hall” events each year to allow for greater community participation both in Berlin and the in United States.  Topics will range from challenges and opportunities facing the German capital, examine the impact of political, socio-economic and cultural issues on daily life.

“Common Ground” is available to download wherever you get your podcasts. It is also available to stream at kcrwberlin.com/commonground. KCRW Berlin shares “Common Ground” topic information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

You can count us for factual and informative content. We are the go-to source for the English-language community in Berlin and beyond. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to all of our original news, music and storytelling shows, including “Common Ground,” “Studio Berlin,” “Amplified,” “Leitmotifs,” and “The Bear on KCRW Berlin” available wherever you get your podcasts.

 

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