WHU General

"Chess of the World Powers – What Role Does Europe Play?"

ForumWHU 2021 promotes exchange between politics, business, and society

This year’s student congress forumWHU of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management was titled "Chess of the world powers – What role does Europe play?" Due to the pandemic, once again it had to take place in a hybrid format with the in person event being held in Vallendar’s city hall for the first time. High-ranking speakers from politics and business offered the student participants three days of exciting speeches and panel discussions on the most pressing issues of our time. The event, which as usual was organized by WHU students on their own account, was opened with a wine tasting by the student initiative In Vino Veritas.

This year's congress focused on the European Union's ability to act. Challenging topics these days are, above all, an emerging refugee crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border and Russia's gas supplies to the EU. Two aspects that underline the vulnerability and the susceptibility to blackmail of Europe. According to speaker Sevim Dagdelen, Left Party member of the Bundestag, Germany should get the North Stream 2 project underway as soon as possible. After all, despite the difficult partnership with Russia, Germany should not allow itself to become a pawn in the interests of the United States.

The panel discussion "Defense" took a similar stance. There, Dr. Erich Vad, retired brigadier general of the German Armed Forces, Dr. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, FDP federal executive board member, and Carsten Barth, CEO of Hirtenberger Defence Europe GmbH, discussed the development of a pan-European army. They agreed on many points that a common army would be better suited to the tasks ahead than the respective national defenses.

Other high-profile speakers at forumWHU this year included former Secretary of State Sigmar Gabriel and Philipp Amthor, member of the Bundestag. Topics such as digitization, free trade, and the gender pay gap were also on the agenda at the three-day congress, so that students were able to take away many first-hand analyses and assessments from the tension field between politics, business, and society. Even under pandemic conditions, the event was smoothly organized by bachelor student Philipp Thamer and the entire forumWHU team.