Prof. Dr. Kemmerling started off the event by giving a few welcoming remarks and introducing the new distinguished Senior Brandt Fellows, Carmen Niethammer and Achim von Heynitz. Prof. Dr. Talaulicar, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Law, and Social Sciences, then offered his own warm welcome to the students and faculty.
The highlight of the event was a speech by Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos, the extraordinary Professor for Democratic Institutions in the Global South. She shared how her own personal journey intertwines with her work on institutions and democracy, and then imparted with students three lessons she has learned along the way:
- Democratic institutions are not confined to the abstract world of political scientists, but rather they can be real motors for change.
- Broadening a field of study across geographic regions, especially the Global South, is crucial – her own work on institutional diversity is proof of this.
- The study of institutions is more pressing than ever in the face of democratic backsliding and erosion. In her words, “under democracy, everything needs to go through the sieve of institutional machines”.
Professor Llanos’ speech was followed by an insightful and warm speech by Brandt School's Student Government Vice President, Daphnee Aguilar, as well as a dazzling musical interlude by the Brandtettes, a group of talented 2nd year students. Both imparted a vision of solidarity and unity among Brandt School students.
The evening finished with Prof. Dr. Andreas Goldthau presenting four Graduation Prizes to students of the Class of 2019-2021. There was then time for students to mingle and get to know each other (virtually) – the Student Government even prepared a fun fact-filled Kahoot quiz!
The event may have been virtual, but the Brandt School is excited to open its physical doors once again and welcome students for in-person classes this semester!