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5 October 2006

American Ambassador Visits Heidelberg Center for American Studies

Start of a series of conferences on "Varieties of Democratic Order" supported by Manfred Lautenschläger

The international conference on "State and Market in a Globalized World: Transatlantic Perspectives" will be taking place from 5 to 8 October 2006 at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA). One of the highpoints of the conference comes right at the beginning. On 5 October, William R. Tinken, Jr., United States Ambassador to Germany, will be delivering a public talk on the subject of "Globalization: How Germans and Americans Can Help Shape Global Systems".

The conference is the first leg in a three-part series on "Varieties of Democratic Order" organised by the HCA in conjunction with Heidelberg's German-American Institute (DAI). The aim of this series is to compare the solutions devised in Europe and North America in response to the phenomenon of globalisation. The two subsequent conferences will take place in autumn 2007 and 2008.

The organisation of this interdisciplinary conference series has been made possible by generous support from Manfred Lautenschläger. Lautenschläger established the MLP AG company in Heidelberg and is the chairman of its supervisory board. He is one of the University of Heidelberg's most important benefactors. Two examples of his long-standing support for the University are the provision of the biennial Lautenschläger Research Prize, endowed with 250,000 euros, and the new building for the Heidelberg University Children's Hospital, part-funded by a donation from the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation. For his services to the University, law degree-holder Lautenschläger was made an honorary senator of the University in 1998. Since the establishment of the HCA in 2003, Manfred Lautenschläger has also been one of its most generous supporters.

With the funding for this series of conferences Lautenschläger intends to further the collaboration between the HCA and the DAI. "We are very glad to have been able to win Mr. Lautenschläger's support for this idea," says Professor Detlef Junker, founding director of the HCA. Leading international scholars from various disciplines have been invited to participate in the conferences, alongside publicists, politicians and major figures from the business world. "Without the support from Manfred Lautenschläger it would be inconceivable for us to organise a project of this size," Junker continues. In the view of Jakob K. Köllhofer, director of the DAI, the challenges posed by globalisation, terrorism, poverty and illness make it absolutely essential to think about a "new, plausible transatlantic bridge-building system."

Lautenschläger, himself a stalwart proponent of transatlantic cooperation, also believes that Europe and the United States can only face up to the global challenges of the future together. "Transatlantic differences can only be overcome by dialogue," he asserts. "We need to achieve a higher degree of mutual understanding." The conference series is designed as a contribution to this goal.

William R. Timken, Jr. has been the United States' ambassador to Germany since August 2005. He was born in Canton (Ohio) and studied economics at the Universities of Stanford and Harvard. In 1962 he entered the Timken Company, one of the world's leading manufacturers of roller bearings and specialty steel. He was chairman of the board of directors from 1975 to 2003. Timken's business experience is extensive indeed, including membership of the boards of directors of various public companies and of the advisory council of the Stanford University School of Business. He also chairs the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute, the Ohio Business Roundtable and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Ambassador Timken has received numerous honours and distinctions. He is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour and an honorary citizen of Colmar (France). He is also a holder of the Woodrow Wilson Award for corporate citizenship, the Adam Smith Award and the Ellis Island medal of honour. William Timken is married to Sue Timken. They have six children and seven grandchildren.

The first conference will analyse and evaluate the different designs and solutions proposed for regulating the relations between state and market in Europe and the USA, notably against the background of globalisation. It is intended to cast light on the interaction between market activity, the state and democracy. How can market and state best serve each other's interests? Where do they compete? Notably in the research and education sectors, but also with a view to tottering social security systems and demographic change, it is obvious that new answers to these questions have to be found.

The conference investigates the political, cultural and economic recipes the United States and Europe have come up with in response to these problems. At the same time there will be discussion of the way in which these proposed solutions affect Asia, Africa and Latin America. The complete conference programme can be found at www.hca.uni-hd.de

The interdisciplinary Heidelberg Center for American Studies HCA was established on 1 May 2003 on the initiative of Heidelberg professors. Since 2004 the HCA has been a central academic institution of the University of Heidelberg. It fulfils three functions. As a forum for public debate it organises series of talks by visiting international scholars. As a research institute it supervises and coordinates interdisciplinary research projects. As a teaching institute the HCA offers the one-year, English-language graduate course "Master of Arts in American Studies". For further information go to www.hca.uni-hd.de.

The German-.American Institute (DAI) is a bi-national institution providing information on social, political and cultural events on both sides of the Atlantic. To this end it organises lectures, lecture series, seminars and discussions in German and English, concerts, film showings and exhibitions. For more information on the DAI go to www.dai-heidelberg.de.

Please address any inquiries to:
Daniel Sommer
Phone: 06221/543875 or 0171/2131118

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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