Bridging political divides, one conversation at a time

How did it start?

In 2017, the ZEIT ONLINE newsroom was searching for a new way to answer one central question: In times of filter bubbles and polarized discourse, how can we restart the conversation across political divides?

The answer was "Germany Talks," a dating platform for politics. The premise was simple - the program matched pairs of readers with completely opposing political views. On June 18, 2017, 1,200 people across the country met up for face-to-face discussions.

After the first edition of "Germany Talks", media organisations from around the world reached out to us and said that their countries were also in need of more debate across political divides. Together with a group of international news outlets, we launched My Country Talks, which today is a tool that newsrooms, governments, civil society organizations or NGOs can use to start one-on-one discussions in their countries.

The software was developed by the Berlin-based agency diesdas.digital. The project has been awarded with the Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration, the Grimme Online Award, and the IPRA President's Award.

Meet the team

Hanna Israel

Project Lead

Hanna Israel took over the project leadership for all MCT projects in October 2020. A journalist and moderator, she worked as editor for the leading German quality TV talk format "Anne Will” until summer 2020. In 2019 she became a freelance journalist, presenter and author for ZEIT ONLINE. In 2015 she co-founded “InPerspective”, an online magazine for international perspectives, that aims to develop a worldwide network of journalists.

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Sara Cooper

Technical Project Manager

Sara Cooper is responsible for technical project management at My Country Talks. She has a bachelor's degree in international studies and a master's in public policy. Sara has worked for several organizations and startups in intersection of media and technology, as well as cross-border dialogue, in both the U.S. and Europe. Before coming to My Country Talks, she was a business intelligence and strategy analyst at the Berlin-based media startup Opinary.

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Ulrike Zimmerman

Project Manager

Ulrike Zimmerman joined the My Country Talks team in March 2020 as project advisor. Before that, she was head of office and social secretary at the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C. (2016-2018), project coordinator for “Europeana Newspapers” (2012-2014) and project consultant for several EU- funded projects (2010-2014). Her area of responsibility includes media partner management, external communication, funding and financial monitoring.

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My Country Talks founders

My Country Talks started in 2017 in the newsroom of the prominent German news outlet, ZEIT ONLINE. With the work and support of the original team of journalists, it has grown into an international platform today.

Jochen Wegner - Editor-in-Chief, ZEIT ONLINE
Maria Exner - Editor-in-Chief, ZEIT Magazin
Philip Faigle - Special Projects Editor, ZEIT ONLINE
Sebastian Horn - Deputy Editor in Chief, ZEIT ONLINE

Our Partners

My Country Talks is funded by