Our Projects

Who we are /​ Project activities
As of Novem­ber 2020

LibMod stands up for the defense and renewal of the open society. Liberal moder­nity as such, i.e. the com­bi­na­tion of indi­vid­ual freedom, demo­c­ra­tic repub­lic, cos­mopoli­tanism, science-based inno­va­tion and cul­tural diver­sity, is facing strong pres­sure world­wide. Liberal democ­ra­cies are being chal­lenged from within, by pop­ulist and anti­de­mo­c­ra­tic move­ments and parties, as well as by author­i­tar­ian regimes such as China and Russia. In times of fun­da­men­tal and rapid change – glob­al­iza­tion, digital rev­o­lu­tion, climate change and world­wide migra­tion – there is a need for cross-par­ti­san reflec­tion about the future of open soci­eties and the inter­na­tional order.

In our view, indi­vid­ual freedom and social cohe­sion, per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity and strong public insti­tu­tions, belong together. LibMod wants to provide a meeting place for free thinkers from dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal camps, looking for liberal answers to the chal­lenges of our time and pro­mot­ing polit­i­cal thought in that spirit. The Center for Liberal Moder­nity (LibMod) was founded in 2017 by Ralf Fücks and Marieluise Beck who have both been engaged in German pol­i­tics for more than 35 years.

=> More infor­ma­tion on our website: https://libmod.de/en/


Project Overview (selected projects)

Secu­rity in Times of Change

The key ques­tion of this project is what answers liberal democ­racy can find to the chal­lenges of rapid change and the result­ing inse­cu­rity. We cannot shield our­selves from the great turmoil of our time but rather must take this as a challenge.

The guiding prin­ci­ple for demo­c­ra­tic pol­i­tics should not be secu­rity by iso­la­tion but rather secu­rity in times of change. This involves much more than simply adjust­ing to per­ceived factual con­straints. We have to shape trans­for­ma­tion processes proac­tively and strengthen trust in demo­c­ra­tic pol­i­tics’ ability to govern.

As part of this project, a 14-member com­mis­sion of experts pre­sented the results of their work con­cern­ing the key ques­tions of secu­rity in times of rapid change, in March 2019. In this report, 55 con­crete rec­om­men­da­tions were made for action in the fields of edu­ca­tion and train­ing, social secu­rity, inter­nal secu­rity and public insti­tu­tions. The report of the Expert Com­mis­sion can be down­loaded here: www.sicherheitimwandel.de (in German), or parts of the report in English here: https://libmod.de/en/security-in-times-of-change/
Fol­low­ing up on the Com­mis­sion, we want to look deeper into a number of the pro­pos­als made in the report. We started with the basic edu­ca­tional income for life­long learn­ing this summer. This concept, which puts the financ­ing of con­tin­u­ous train­ing on a new basis, is to be devel­oped further. We are cur­rently working on a study to examine what indi­vid­ual, social and eco­nomic effects a basic edu­ca­tional income may develop in the German context. It will be pre­sented in January 2021.

Renewal of Liberalism

LibMod is part of an inter­na­tional dis­cus­sion with liberal-demo­c­ra­tic think tanks and intel­lec­tu­als, includ­ing the “Forum 2000” in Prague, the Polish “Kultura Lib­er­alna” and the IDC Her­z­lyia in Israel. We par­tic­i­pate in con­fer­ences and sem­i­nars. In October 2020, our first inter­na­tional net­work­ing work­shop “Rethink­ing Lib­er­al­ism” was held in Berlin as a hybrid offline/​online event. The all-day seminar was attended by schol­ars and polit­i­cal intel­lec­tu­als from 10 coun­tries. We intend to expand these activ­i­ties further in 2021.

As a part of our “Renewal of Lib­er­al­ism” project we are also coop­er­at­ing with “Das Pro­gres­sive Zentrum” to orga­nize the “Chal­leng­ing Democ­racy” event series, which exam­ines the chal­lenges that pop­ulism and anti-liberal move­ments pose for democ­racy. We are also con­duct­ing our “Liberal Moder­nity Salon” in Berlin reg­u­larly, to serve as a forum for intel­lec­tual dis­cus­sions across party lines.

Eco­log­i­cal Modernization

Today’s economy needs too many resources to be sus­tain­able. How can we “grow smartly” and main­tain a liberal way of life without destroy­ing global ecosys­tems? A key to recov­er­ing the eco­nomic dynamic and con­fi­dence in the ability of demo­c­ra­tic poli­cies to act, is the eco­log­i­cal mod­ern­iza­tion of indus­trial society. It links the pro­tec­tion of the plan­e­tary ecosys­tems with a new boost in

sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion. We can tackle climate change, the over­ex­ploita­tion of natural resources, the threat to the oceans and the loss of fertile arable land. At the same time, “zero growth” is neither desir­able nor real­is­tic given the needs of bil­lions of people. The answer to the eco­log­i­cal chal­lenge lies in the decou­pling of eco­nomic value added and natural con­sump­tion. This requires nothing less than a new indus­trial rev­o­lu­tion that includes a long wave of inno­va­tion, invest­ment and employment.

Part of the project was the pub­li­ca­tion of an edited volume of the Renewal of the market economy by LibMod Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Ralf Fücks and Thomas Köhler of the Konrad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion. In this book, well-known authors discuss the reg­u­la­tory guide­lines for the eco­log­i­cal devel­op­ment of the indus­trial society on a market-based foundation.

In coop­er­a­tion with the German avi­a­tion indus­try, we also orga­nize a high-profile series of talks with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of avi­a­tion and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, members of the gov­ern­ment and sci­en­tists. The aim is to iden­tify key guide­lines for the future of sus­tain­able avi­a­tion. The project will run until Decem­ber 2020. We plan to con­tinue this format with other industries.

As part of this topic we are also engaged in the dis­cus­sion about climate change and democ­racy to con­sider this subject from a less tech­ni­cal per­spec­tive. The ques­tion is what liberal answers we can give to climate change without resort­ing to author­i­tar­ian mea­sures such as bans. We are con­duct­ing dis­cus­sions on that ques­tion in dif­fer­ent formats, e.g. at the Forum 2000, together with the German Agency for Civic Engage­ment, at our Salon Lib­erale Moderne etc.


The ini­tia­tive “o[s]tklick — demokratisch antworten” (literal trans­la­tion: east­k­lick — answer­ing demo­c­ra­t­i­cally) sup­ports german reset­tlers from Russia and other coun­tries of the former Soviet Union in the pro­mo­tion of demo­c­ra­tic dis­course in Social Media and instant mes­sen­ger ser­vices. By doing so, it encour­ages coun­ter­speech to illib­eral and far-right pop­ulist pro­pa­ganda tar­geted at the community.

o[s]tklick is a play on words. In German, the [s] allows it to be read as “klick from the East”, whereas the absence of the [s] turns it into the russian equiv­a­lent to answer, res­o­nance or echo.

Start­ing point of the project are video inter­views. These are built on the diver­sity of the com­mu­nity and per­sonal life stories, cov­er­ing topics such as democ­racy, dis­crim­i­na­tion, equal­ity of oppor­tu­nity and migra­tion. These and other con­tents are promoted/​distributed? via social media. In addi­tion to the online activ­i­ties, o[s]tklick offers work­shops on freedom of speech, dis­in­for­ma­tion and strate­gies against pop­ulist discourse.


The project is funded for 2,5 years by the Robert Bosch Foun­da­tion and by the German Federal Min­istry of the Inte­rior, Build­ing and Community.

Ana­lyz­ing Adversaries

The “Liberal Democ­racy and Its Adver­saries” project exam­ines the history of anti-liberal thought from the Weimar Repub­lic to the present day and dis­cusses its impor­tance for ana­lyz­ing and dealing with the oppo­nents of the open society today. The aim is to provide mate­r­ial to cit­i­zens’ ini­tia­tives, schools and other insti­tu­tions, indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions in the field of civic edu­ca­tion and also to jour­nal­ists to support their inves­ti­ga­tion of anti-demo­c­ra­tic forces.

Crit­i­cal analy­ses of 16 influ­en­tial anti-liberal thinkers and their ideas are posted on the website www.gegneranalyse. de and sub­se­quen­tially pub­lished as an anthol­ogy “Das alte Denken den Neuen Rechten” (“The Old Think­ing of the New Right” Frank­furt 2020, all in German).

In 2021, we want to focus on the new coali­tions between the alter­na­tive and middle-class milieu and right-wing actors and alter­na­tive media driving the anti-Covid-19 protests in Germany.


Inter­na­tional Projects 


Russia has been high on LibMod’s agenda since we started in 2017. Our aim is to deepen dia­logue with those in favour of a modern, liberal society. We have two con­fer­ence formats that reg­u­larly bring together experts from Russia and many other coun­tries — the Yury-Schmidt-Con­fer­ence looks at human rights, while “Russia and the West” is all about foreign policy towards Russia. More details about our Russia-related work can be found on www.russlandverstehen.eu (German), our website devoted to under­stand­ing Russia.


LibMod runs several Ukraine-related pro­jects, making the centre the largest Ukrai­nian initia­tive (by the number of pro­jects, areas of inter­ven­tion and human resour­ces invol­ved) among German non-profit orga­ni­za­tions. Our work includes par­lia­men­tary con­sul­ta­tions with the Verk­hovna Rada, expert dis­cus­sions and EU policy brief­ings. You can find an English-lan­guage overview about our Ukraine-related projects on www.ukraineverstehen.de, our website devoted on all things Ukrain­ian. The German-lan­guage site offers regular updates on the state of reforms, and on human rights in Eastern Ukraine and on the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Holocaust

Our remem­brance projects aim to reveal the largely unknown fate of the Jewish pop­u­la­tion in Ukraine during World War II. In 2021, we laid the foun­da­tion for a new memo­r­ial at the site of the 1941 Odesa mas­sacre. More on this project, which is funded by the German Society for Inter­na­tional Coop­er­a­tion (GIZ) can be read here (in German).

Eastern Part­ner­ship 2.0

Launched in October 2019, this project brings inno­v­a­tive ideas and policy rec­om­men­da­tions from the eastern part­ner­ship coun­tries to Berlin. This pro­vides experts and NGOs from Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia with a plat­form to work together to develop rec­om­men­da­tions for action to be taken by Germany and the EU. The project is sup­ported by the Open Society Foun­da­tions and was pro­longed in 2021. Read more about it at Eastern Part­ner­ship Plus.

Climate Change and Eco­nomic Mod­ern­iza­tion in Russia
Is there a future beyond oil, gas & coal for Russia and how to get there?

The Russian lead­er­ship con­tin­ues to rely on oil, gas and coal as the eco­nomic back­bone of the polit­i­cal system that has devel­oped since Putin came to power. This fossil-fuel-based model is increas­ingly con­flict­ing with the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agree­ment and stands in the way of a general mod­ern­iza­tion and diver­si­fi­ca­tion of the Russian economy. The project’s purpose is to promote and broaden the mod­ern­iza­tion dis­course in Russia against the back­drop of climate change and to develop sce­nar­ios of change towards an eco­log­i­cal mod­ern­iza­tion of the Russian economy.