Projects of the "Friends of the WZB"

The Friends of the WZB Award

In 2015, doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers at the WZB initiated the “The Friends of the WZB Award”. It is endowed with 1,000 Euros. The jury consists of three WZB directors and the chair of the Friends of the WZB.

This year’s recipient of the “The Friends of the WZB Award” is Sönke Matthewes, Research Fellow in the Skill Formation and Labor Markets Unit, for his publication “Längeres gemeinsames Lernen macht einen Unterschied“ about the early separation of students in the German school system to go to different school types and its consequences for students’ competency development. On the basis of an empirical investigation, using a new set of data and new methodology, Matthewes answers a highly relevant question that has been heatedly debated in politics and society for decades. He can show that prolonged comprehensive schooling has positive effects for low-achieving students, without disadvantaging higher-achieving students. He puts his theses clearly and easy to understand, making his research accessible for public debate and political decisions.

Previous award recipients:

  • Julia Pohle (Politics of Digitalization) for her contribution about the urgency of questions regarding politics of digitalization and the relevance of adequate decision-making structures and financial resources,
  • Werner Krause (Democracy and Democratization) for his analysis of the question, whether and how moderate political parties react to the election success of radical right-wing and populist parties,
  • Tine Hanrieder (Global Governance) for her examination of the failure of reform efforts within the WHO,
  • Anselm Rink (Migration, Integration, Transnationalization) for demonstrating that German social assistant officers seem to give better advice to people of German origin,
  • Maja Adena (Economics of Change) for her contribution about the effect of radio-propaganda on the election success of the NSDAP at the end of the Weimar Republic,
  • Aiko Wagner (Democracy and Democratization) und Heiko Giebler (Democracy and Democratization) for developing a concept for measuring right-wing populism.


The WZB’s 50th Anniversary

On July 19, 2019, 800 guests joined the celebration of the WZB’s 50th anniversary at the Pierre Boulez Saal. The evening entitled “Europe: Myth and Vision” was a cooperation with the Barenboim-Said Akademie. The focus was on the premiere of Jörg Widmann’s new piece, Labyrinth IV, interpreted by Daniel Barenboim and the Boulez ensemble. The program included speeches by Jutta Allmendinger, Daniel Barenboim, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek and Berlin mayor Michael Müller; a science slam on the subject of democracy by political scientist Christian Rauh, and an enthusiastic performance by the children of the Kreuzberg art lab S27. In the second part of the evening, American artist Joe Ramirez presented his installation entitled The Gold Projections, which included films specially produced in celebration of the WZB’s 50th anniversary, and an exhibition and short films gave insight into the WZB’s research topics. The anniversary celebrations were made possible in large part thanks to the generous donations of the “Friends of the WZB.”


Children’s Card Game on Children’s Rights “Geräecht”

“You are so mean!” Children often feel treated unjustly, but they rarely know exactly what their rights are. The card game on children’s rights funded by the “Friends of the WZB” helps children learn about three of their rights – the right to protection, the right to participation and the right to support/advancement – in order to better be able to assert themselves against adults. The game was developed by Michael Wrase, WZB legal scholar, and Ferdinand Weigel, student of visual communication at the University of the Arts’ “Visual Society Program”, in which designers and social scientists work and research together. The “Friends of the WZB” were the main sponsors of the project, with additional financial support by the German Children’s Fund who also distributed the free game.


Brochure WZBabies

As part of an internal WZB study on family friendliness and birth rates, the number of births and parental leaves between 2011 and 2017 were compiled and analyzed. Moreover, a survey of parents working at the WZB, the “Parents’ Diary”, collected personal experiences and opinions of colleagues with children. The results were published in the brochure “WZBabies” and show how the working environment of an institution like the WZB can become more family-friendly.


WZB Interview Project

In the past four decades WZB has shaped the Social Sciences in Germany. It is connected in many ways with German and international institutions but stands out in its multidisciplinary approach. The video interviews with researchers, politicians, presidents and administrative staff shall give an impression of the changes within the WZB, the influence of important researchers and its impact on many scientific careers. They are part of the inter-institutional history and are preserved in the WZB archives. The "Freunde des WZB" supported this project with a sum of 14.000 Euro.

The video-interviews can be found here.