Andreas Nitsche among the 2021 Thomas Mann Fellows 

news :: 2020
by Axel Kistner on July 30, 2020

We are pleased to announce that Andreas Nitsche, board member of the Association for Interactive Democracy, is one of six fellows nominated for a 2021 2022 residency at Thomas Mann House, the former home of Thomas Mann in Los Angeles. The following press release [1] was published by Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House.

Berlin/Los Angeles July 30, 2020

2021 Thomas Mann Fellowship Recipients

The Thomas Mann House Advisory Board selected the following six fellowship recipients for a 2021 residency at the former home of Thomas Mann in Los Angeles:

Political scientist Christoph Bieber, journalist and deputy editor-in-chief of ZEIT-Magazin Maria Exner, art critic Magdalena Kröner, political scientist Christine Landfried, computer scientist Andreas Nitsche, and business journalist Felix Rohrbeck.

The Thomas Mann House is a space for debate on the most pressing questions of our time. During their three-month stays, the 2021 Thomas Mann Fellows will address the following topics:

  • Christoph Bieber researches possibilities for a Smart City Policy that is aligned with the dignity and autonomy of urban residents.
  • Maria Exner examines journalists’ and the media’s responsibilities for public opinion in an era of technology-driven polarization. What can they contribute to a successful self-reflection in the public sphere?
  • Magdalena Kröner explores how the close network of culture and digital technology in California can promote an unbiased interdisciplinary dialogue on the chances and risks of digitalization.
  • Christine Landfried analyzes how new forms of political participation such as citizen’s conferences can help recover trust in democratic policies.
  • Andreas Nitsche demonstrates how technological solutions can promote cohesion in polarized societies.
  • Felix Rohrbeck assesses appropriate policy responses to the distribution of wealth which is exceedingly perceived as unjust.

Minister of State for International Cultural Politics Michelle Müntefering said in Berlin, “The corona pandemic has once again demonstrated that we will only be able to solve the global challenges of our time if we act together. Instead of on a nationalistic ivory tower, we rely on global dialogue. The exchange between Europe and the United States therefore remains of pivotal importance. In turbulent times, it becomes even more important to build bridges across the Atlantic. The Thomas Mann House is the perfect place for this. During Thomas Mann’s exile, the house became a meeting place of European and American intellectuals. Today, it is again a hub for transatlantic dialogue. I am delighted that in the coming year thinkers from different disciplines will once again move into the Thomas Mann House to ponder the most pressing questions of our time in search for answers.”

Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Prof. Monika Grütters commented, “The newly selected Thomas Mann Fellows are uniquely qualified to develop pioneering ideas in the Thomas Mann House’s two main areas of focus: ‘Defacement -Digital Ethics’ and ‘States of Insecurity – Social and Cultural factors of Societal Cohesion.’ The corona outbreak has exposed the crucial importance of societal cohesion for the resolution of global challenges. Especially in these times, we depend on interdisciplinary approaches and ideas of fostering societal cohesion. This also applies to the development of ethical standards for digital communications. I am convinced that the eminent figures nominated for the fellowships will make important contributions within the transatlantic exchange and in the spirit of Thomas Mann.”

Due to the corona pandemic, the Thomas Mann Fellows 2020 - Mohammed Amjahid, Rainer Forst, Friedhelm Marx, Birte Meier, Christoph Möllers, Heike Paul, Claus Pias, Bernhard Pörksen, Andreas Reckwitz and Michael Zürn - make up for their stay in Pacific Palisades in 2021.

The members of the independent advisory board are Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt (President Hochschulrektorenkonferenz), Christine Benner (Deputy Chair, IG Metall Metalworkers’ Union), Christian Hänel (Head of Department – Future Issues and Foundation Development, Robert Bosch Foundation), Prof. Dr. Peter Jelavich (Professor and Department Chair, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University), Dr. Thomas Kempf (Board of Directors, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach- Foundation), Janina Kugel (Board of Supervisors, Senior Advisor BCG), Prof. Dr. Miriam Meckel (Founding Editor ada, Professor, University St. Gallen), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Raulff (President, IfA – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Dr. Steven Sokol (President, American Council on Germany) and Dr. Heinrich Wefing (Head of Politics Department, Die Zeit).

The Thomas Mann House was bought by the German government in June of 2016 and inaugurated by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in 2018. The Thomas Mann House is a residence for distinguished researchers, thinkers and intellectuals from a variety of disciplines, who will tackle the challenges of our times, and foster intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the U.S.

The residencies are financed by the Berthold Leibinger Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach-Foundation. Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House are funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as the Goethe-Institut.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House, an independent and politically unaffiliated organization of the Federal Republic of Germany, fosters the intellectual and cultural exchange between the United States and Germany.

The institution awards fellowships in the two residences, Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House, in Pacific Palisades, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA., and organizes cultural programs in the U.S. and Germany. It is a reminder of the history of the European exile to California, while presenting a lively, current, and diverse image of Germany, and allowing contemplation of societal, cultural, and political challenges.


[1] Press Release Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V.