Deutschland spricht 2019 coincided with an important date for all of
Germany: the 30th annivery of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Three decades
later, many of the political and social debates have stayed the same,
and many have changed. Participants of the 2019 Germany Talks event
therefore had a lot to discuss, from taxes to equal opportunities for
men and women, and the key question post reunification: does Germany
care enough for East-Germans?
Deutschland spricht 2019 was launched by ZEIT Online on August 15 2019 with a cooperation of six other German media partners: Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung, der Sächsischen Zeitung, des Weser Kurier, der Berliner Zeitung, Chrismon und evangelisch.de. In total, approximately 18,000 participants registered to debate with their political opposite on October 30, 2019.
Germany Talks 2019 was also the study of behavioral economist Armin Falk, who conducted scientific research into whether these conversations have a measurable effect on polarisation and empathy in participants. The study concluded that participants were demonstrably more empathetic and less polarised in their views toward people who hold different political opinions from them, and their belief in social cohesion also rose.
just a two-hour conversation between people with completely different
political views is enough to weaken polarization. The meetings helped
dismantle prejudices against those who think differently and, after the
conversations, participants considered people with other views on
average to be less incompetent, less malicious and less poorly informed.
Read an interview with Armin Falk on ZEIT Online