Symposium 2007

Ways to More Children

In the next decades Germany’s population will shrink and grow older. As this demographic change can no longer be stopped, the scientific community must identify the opportunities and risks of this development and mark out a course of action. Adjusting to the change can however not be the sole strategy. The twin sprirals of ageing and shrinking will continue to increase if their root cause, a fall in birth rate, is not addressed.

In order to highlight new ways to more children in Germany within politcal and societal discussions, the Institute for a Better Demographic Future (idz), an institute of the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG), has sponsored the 1st annual Demography Prize for Young Scientists with the topic “Ways to More Children in Germany under the Framework of a Liberal Society”. The 10,000 Euro award for this biannual prize is financed by the Apfelbaum Foundation, who also inspired the competition. The award ceremony took place within a public symposium on Nov. 9, 2007 in Berlin. There scholars and politicians discussed along with the young winners how to make it easier for couples’ present desires for children to become a reality.  
Participants could also expect exciting presentations, discussions, and the celebrations of the award ceremony of the 1st Demography Prize. 

Read the report of the Symposium as well as the award ceremony of the 1st Demography Prize for Young Scientists in the following:

Recently the FRFG gave already for the fourth time one of its prizes, but this awards ceremony and symposium “Ways to More Children in Germany”, which took place on November 11, 2007 in the Government Offices of Saxony in Berlin, was the most successful and smooth-running yet. There were also a very high number of participants—after 120 registrations the FRFG could accept no more. Because of very rainy weather some of these people did stay home, but the number was still much higher than former ceremonies. A reason for this was a cooperation with the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) and the Inforadio Berlin, who transmitted part of the seminar on the radio (listen at: http://www.inforadio.de/static/dyn2sta_article/843/215843_article.shtml ).

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Prof. Reiner Dinkel during his speech on demographic research and fertility
 

The celebration was opened by an amusing greeting by Michael Sagurna, a new minister in the Saxon Government. He emphasized that Saxony was the laboratory of Germany for demographic change because Saxony is going through today what will later happen in other German states.  Next Prof. Dr. Reiner H. Dinkel, Chair of Demography and Econometrics at the University of Rostock, gave a keynote address on demographic research in Germany, especially concerning fertility. After a light lunch Prof. Dr. Ralf Ulrich from the Institute for Population and Health Research introduced the prize winners, who introduced their works shortly. The 1st prize of 4000 Euro was given to Franziska Höring,  Jan Lemanski,  Stephan Schütze, Christoph Sperfeldt for their co-authored work “Changing Minds and Politics—Appeals for Sustainable Family Policy”. Wolfgang Gründiger won the 2nd prize of 2,500 Euro for his contribution “Dare for more Children—For an Active Birth Policy in Germany for a Better Demographic Future”. The contributions from both Inés Brock “Lack of Siblings and how Multi-Children Families can be Encouraged” and Annelene Wengler und Anne-Kristin Kuhnt “Children, Children, Children—Is a Rise in the Number of Children in Germany Even Possible?” were awarded the 3rd prize of 1,500 Euro. Susanne Mey received Honorable Mention for her contribution “The Crisis as a Chance for Change”. A total of 15 young scientists contributed works for the competition, and 61 asked for application materials. The prize was financed by the Apfelbaum Foundaton’s Learning Project for Co-Evolution and Integration.

After the awards ceremony there was also a podium discussion that took place as part of the IZT series “Berlin Discussions for the Future” with the following participants:  
-         Prof. Dr. Dr. Helmut Schneider, Research Center for Family Friendly Employment Policy, University of Münster / Steinbeis-Hochschule Berlin
-         Dr. Harald Michel, Institute for Applied Demography, Berlin
-         Malte Ristau-Winkler, Leader of the “Family, Welfare Maintenance and Civic Engagement” Department of the Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth
-         Mrs. Michaela Wölk, IZT, Berlin
-         Moderation: Alfred Eichhorn, Inforadio

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the participants of the podium discussion (f. l. Michel, Schneider, Ristau-Winkler, Eichhorn and Wölk)

 
On the whole this was a successful start for the idz, for whom this was the first public event and received a high level of recognition in the demography scene from the start. The complete documentation of the symposium is on our websites www.generationengerechtigkeit.de und www.demografie.org in German.

The flyer for the symposium, you can download here.

Conference Location:
The symposium took place in the Government Offices of Saxony (Vertretung des Freistaates Sachsen) in Berlin. The offices are ideally suited to the conference because of their association with demographic change.