Events | The City of Man: The Future of Multilateral Politics – Nina Hachigian, Friedhelm Marx & Michael Zürn in Conversation

Online | June 3, 2021 | 11:00 AM (PDT)

From the threat of a global pandemic, to climate change, the rule of law, terrorism and human rights: The world faces problems that states cannot solve alone. But the necessary cooperation in a globalized world presupposes that certain principles and values are shared by all parties. Multilateralism is as much a prerequisite as an instrument for all states to cooperate with each other and promote common goals, but also to balance and regulate competing interests.

As the Brookings Institution has shown in the recent study Competing for Order, the current malaise of the multilateral order goes deeper than the nationalistic aspirations of individual politicians. A logic of "you're with us or you're against us" threatens to prevail in the international arena.

It is time to ask: What is the future of multilateral politics? And what concrete measures can revive it today? And - very concretely - what lessons can be learned from the initiative The City of Man. A Declaration on World Democracy, which Thomas Mann launched in 1940 together with Reinhold Niebuhr, Antonio Giuseppe Borgese, and others to outline their vision of a global and stable system of states in which humanity would be the guiding principle for securing peace and social welfare.

The program presents perspectives from diplomacy, political science, and literature and brings them into a joint conversation.


Ambassador Nina Hachigian was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the first Deputy Mayor of International Affairs in 2017. Her office seeks to expand Los Angeles' global ties to help bring jobs, culture, visitors to the city and to share L.A.'s values and experience. Prior to this, she served as the U.S. Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. She was a Senior Fellow and a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress and the director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy. She served on the staff of the National Security Council in the Clinton White House from 1998-1999.

Friedhelm Marx studied linguistics and litrature and catholic theology in Tübingen, Bonn and at the University of Virginia. In 1994, he received his doctorate in Bonn with a thesis on Goethe and Wieland; in 2000 he habilitated at the University of Wuppertal with a thesis on Christ Figurations in the Work of Thomas Mann. Since 2004, Friedhelm Marx has held the Chair of Modern German Literature at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg. He is a 2021 Thomas Mann Fellow.

Michael Zürn is a political scientist. His research particularly focuses on the emergence and functioning of international and supranational institutions and their effects on the global political order. Prof. Zürn is Director of the Department of Global Governance at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and Professor of International Relations at Freie Universität Berlin. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and of the Academia Europaea since 2014. He is a 2021 Thomas Mann Fellow.

The conversation will be moderated by Kimberly Marteau Emerson. Emerson is a lawyer, civic leader and human rights advocate who serves on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, the Europe and Central Asia Advisory Committee, the Berlin and Los Angeles (co-chair emerita) City Committees, and many more.

With introductory remarks by Consul General Stefan Schneider, Los Angeles.

Livestream on June 3, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. (PST).

Free admission.

Please register here.


This event is presented by the Thomas Mann House in collaboration with the American Council on Germany and the German Consulate General Los Angeles.

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