Press Release 016/2012

Chaos, Uncertainty, and Risk

New Obscurities in the Focus of the 16th Karlsruhe Dialogues - Lectures, Discussions, and Cultural Events from February 10 to 12, 2012
Wachsende Unsicherheiten und Zukunftsängste – ein Thema der Karlsruher Gespräche 2012  (Foto: Specktakulär)
Growing uncertainties and fears of the future are being discussed at the Karlsruhe Dialogues 2012. (Photo: Specktakulär)

Euro bailout fund, disenchantment with democracy, and climate change: The 16th Karlsruhe Dialogues entitled “Everything in (Dis)Order? New Obscurities in a Globalized World” are trying to get to the bottom of whether today’s crises and upheavals present new challenges, chances or risks. From February 10 to 12, 2012, ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies at KIT will present lectures, discussions, and cultural events. Most events within the Karlsruhe Dialogues can be attended without an entrance fee.  

Day after day, we are flooded with bad news of economic, political, and social crises from all around the world: There is a call for more democracy, a venturing and hazarding causing whole nations to plummet into the abyss, a fighting of the climate change or otherwise a preaching of more growth at any price. And besides that, our everyday lives are becoming ever more confusing and complex with regard to, for example, money matters, family planning or social involvement. It seems as if predictability and “planability” have been replaced by risk. “When everything around us becomes “certainly uncertain”, we ask where orientation comes from,” explains Professor Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Director of the ZAK. “How important are security, freedom or codetermination while fears of the future and uncertainties are growing at the same time? And what about the institutional responsibility of educational establishments and universities?”

The 16th Karlsruhe Dialogues will focus on today’s obscurities and examine their effects on individuals and societies. The Dialogues, which are unique in Germany, boast international participants  who will shed light on whether social change is necessarily attended by  upheavals or whether these do threaten well-established achievements such as democracy. 
Moreover, emphasis will be on growth limits, fears of the future, risk perceptions, and new economic orders. The Dialogues are supported by Stiftung Kunst und Kultur of Sparda-Bank Baden-Württemberg and by the City of Karlsruhe.

Journalists are welcome to attend the event.
Please register by e-mail to: anna kwiatkowski does-not-exist.kit edu or phone: ++49 (0) 721 608 48027.

From the Program of the 16th Karlsruhe Dialogues:

At the opening reception on Friday, February 10, from 7.30 p.m. at the Karlsruhe SpardaEvent Center, Baumeisterstraße 21, Professor Wolfgang Franz, one of the five members of the German Council of Economic Experts and President of the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW), and Professor Margrit Kennedy, advocate of a “complementary” currency and foundress of MonNetA, will look into the question “Do we need a new economic order?”
The symposium on Saturday, February 11, from 9.30 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Karlsruhe, Lammstraße 13-17, will be opened by sociologist and philosopher Professor Dr. Zygmunt Bauman with a lecture on “Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty”. Professor Britt-Marie Drottz-Sjöberg and David Ropeik then discuss the subject of risk perception, and Shimon Stein, former ambassador for Israel in Germany, and Turkish journalist Fehim Tastekin speak about the current events in the Arab world asking “Is a new order of freedom possible for the Middle East?” The agenda is completed by a lecture on growth and its limits held by the writer Ilija Trojanow, a contribution by professor of sociology Surendra Munshi on the challenge of democracy, and a talk about the balance of a nuclear world order given by Dr. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA. 

The international morning panel discussion on Sunday, February 12, from 11 a.m. at the SpardaEvent Center will be dedicated to the youth protests in Europe.

The 16th Karlsruhe Dialogues will be accompanied by a cultural program presented in cooperation with ARTE and ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe: A film night with numerous documentaries and short films as well as the mockumentary “The Yes Men fix the World” take place on Saturday, February 11, from 8.00 p.m. at ZKM_Medientheater. On Sunday, February 12, 2.15 p.m., Ilja Trojanow reads from his latest book “EisTau” at MITTLERES FOYER, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. In the evening at 8.00 p.m., the play “Quizoola!” will be performed at the STUDIO of Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe.

Registration is appreciated by phone ++49 (0) 721 608 44384 or at

Further information as well as the entire program can be obtained at


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

ak, 03.02.2012

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presse does-not-exist.kit edu

Contact for this press release:

Anna Moosmüller
ZAK | Zentrum für Angewandte Kulturwissenschaft und Studium Generale
Phone: +49 721 608-48027
Fax: +49 0721 608-44811
E-Mail:anna moosmueller does-not-exist.kit edu

The press release is available as a PDF file.