#MCT18 – Bridging the Divide

An unconference for practitioners – September 23 at Radialsystem V in Berlin, Germany

#MCT18 brings together initiatives from around the world that aim to facilitate dialogue and overcome polarization in society.


The venue: Radialsystem V in Berlin

The #MCT18 Unconference

We will start this one-day event within an unconference setting that features lightning talks and workshops. Participants are invited to discuss projects that bridge social divides and inspire meaningful political debates. The goal is to learn from each other's experiences and to share best practices.

Amanda Ripley (author of "Complicating the Narrative"), The finalists of Finding Common Ground, More in Common, Die offene Gesellschaft, Disrupted Society Institute Amsterdam, and the European Journalism Centre will be among the attendees. Many international partners with the My Country Talks initiative will also participate: La Repubblica from Italy, Der Standard from Austria, Morgenbladet from Norway and many more.

Unconference Agenda

9:00 – 9:05 — Welcome (Jochen Wegner & Sebastian Horn, ZEIT ONLINE)

9:05 – 9:15 — Key Note by Amanda Ripley, journalist and senior fellow at Emerson Collective

9:15 – 9:35 — Lightning Talks (Main Stage)

  • Laura Krause, More in Common – "More in Common? The myth of a divided society"
  • Anne Hilman, Alaska Public Radio – "Beyond the Prison Walls"
  • Lasse Stötzer, briq Institute on Behavior & Inequality – „My country talks – a scientific perspective“

9:45 – 10:45 — Workshops I

  • Workshop 1a, Kubus (1st floor): "The power of framing: Are we asking the right questions?" (Anatol Itten, Disrupted Societies Institute)
  • Workshop 1b (Hall): "What's next for My Country Talks?" (Christina Elmer, Spiegel Online; Sten Jørgensen, Morgenbladt; Philip Faigle, ZEIT ONLINE)
  • Workshop 1c (Main Stage): "Can news organisations regain trust by engaging more directly with communities?" (Eric Gordon, Emerson College Engagement Lab)

11:00 – 12:00 — Workshops II

  • Workshop 2a (Main Stage): "Does bringing people together really reduce prejudices and polarisation?" (Andrea Wenzel, Assistant professor of Journalism, Temple University)
  • Workshop 2b (Halle): "Wolves and immigration: What issues are really dividing our societies?" (Alessio Sgherza, La Repubblica; Anna Jenssen, Morgenbladet; Richard Hoechner, Die Republik)
  • Workshop 2c (Kubus, 1st floor): "Can we engage everyone? Do we need to?" (Kathryn Geels, European Journalism Center)

12:00 - 12:30 — Summary and Conclusions (Main Stage)


Philip Faigle (ZEIT ONLINE, on the left) and Alessio Sgherza (La Repubblica)

Germany Talks

In the afternoon, we will welcome guests for the second edition of "Germany Talks," a project organized by 11 German media partners. "Germany Talks" will initiate thousands of one-on-one conversations on September 23 by introducing pairs of participants who live close to each other but hold opposing political views. More than 20,000 have already signed up in the first three weeks of registration.

At 2 a.m., German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will give the opening keynote speech for "Germany Talks" before we invite the following guests and partners to the stage:

  • "Germany Talks" participants from 2017 will share their experiences: a father-in-law and his daughter-in-law who were coincidentally matched by the algorithm; a professor and his student; a refugee and a conservative publish
  • With the help of journalists and My Country Talks partners from all over Europe, we will discuss what's dividing countries like Italy, Norway or Poland, and examine how unexpected issues like the rewilding of wolves can polarize entire countries
  • We will have talks and discussions with Jan Fleischhauer (columnist at DER SPIEGEL), Eva Schulz (presenter at Deutschland3000), Mely Kiyak (columnist for ZEIT ONLINE), and Harald Martenstein (columnist for ZEITmagazin and Tagesspiegel

At 3 p.m., people all over the country will meet and have their one-on-one conversation as part of "Germany Talks." About 100 of these pairs will do so at Radialsystem V in Berlin, turning the venue into a buzzing arena for political debate.


Participants of "Germany Talks 2017"


Unfortunately, registration for #mct18 is closed.

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