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forumWHU - How Are We Designing Europe’s Future?
11/23/2023

How Are We Designing Europe’s Future?

Student congress forumWHU brings together politics, business, and society

Student congress forumWHU, held over November 17 – 18 at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, posed a question for its 20th anniversary: At “The Turning Point – How Are We Designing Europe’s Future?” The established annual event has long been a platform for students, policymakers, and corporate representatives to share experiences and ideas for conducting socially responsible business.

The topic at hand this year reeled in a top-tier roster of guest speakers from the political and corporate spheres. For two days, they charmed their audience—WHU students and some 300 external guests—with interesting presentations and panel discussions revolved around some of today’s most pressing issues.

Among this group of speakers included prominent figures, such as Peter Altmaier (former Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy), Parliament member Philipp Amthor, and Julia Klöckner (former Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and current CDU Treasurer). Rounding out the roster were Franziska Hagenlocher (Managing Director of Eurowings Europe), Julian Joswig (Alliance 90/The Greens of Rhineland-Palatinate), Philipp Eischet (Managing Director at RightNow Group), the latter two WHU alumni themselves.

Professor Michael Frenkel, Academic Director of forumWHU and Chair of Macroeconomics and International Economics, kicked off the event, entirely run by WHU students, with a rousing speech. His words placed emphasis on the importance of looking out beyond one’s own backyard, dedicating oneself to the future of Europe, and establishing new contacts. The audience’s passionate response proved exactly how important the topic is.

A shift in global and political order

“Being at the turning point means a shift in the global and political order,” said Phillip Amthor. From his point of view, especially when looking at the unrest across the world, it’s important to increase international stability and strive toward regulated and law-based order.

What makes Germany an industrial country?

A panel discussion featuring Julian Joswig, Peter Altmaier, and Rainer Wieland (Vice President of the European Parliament) followed. The three spoke about current challenges that the European economy and energy policy are facing—including why it is that Europe currently has no common energy pricing strategy. The spirited exchange led to a discussion on which industries were most attractive in Germany and what defines the country as a business hub.

Attending students praised the event’s organization and exciting contributions. “It’s a great way for people to learn about topics that are truly important,” said Daniil Nazhura (BSc, 2026). “I’m happy I could take part and listen to political experts. That has only enriched my own understanding.” Krish Kumar (BSc, 2026) felt the same way, saying, “It’s cool that we’re gaining cross-generational and cross-disciplinary insights. What is clear is that we’re all striving to advance Europe and advocating collaboration. Those insights truly were inspiring.”

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