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Common Ground Berlin

Common Ground was launched in September 2020 as the flagship talk show of KCRW Berlin 104.1 FM. Every week, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson brings together prominent guests from all walks of life to tackle questions on everything from local to transatlantic topics. Look for us every Monday wherever you get your podcasts.

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  • 21.06.2021
    29 MB
    30:59
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    Summer’s here! But are travel and tourism?

    It’s the first day of summer and #berlinreopens is trending, but are tourists coming back? And what about international travel? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores how the pandemic has changed the way we vacation and the kinds of summer travel we can expect. Her guests are: Christian Tänzler, spokesman for visitBerlin, the city’s official tourism service; Volker Adams, head of government affairs at the German Travel Association; and Nicky Gardner, travel writer and editor of Hidden Europe magazine and co-author of “Europe by Rail.” This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 14.06.2021
    31 MB
    32:28
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    Afghanistan 2.0: What happens to Civil Society and Afghan women after NATO forces leave? (Part Two)

    As NATO leaders meet in Brussels, our episode features the second part of a special town hall Common Ground co-hosted with the German Marshall Fund of the United States about the future of Afghanistan once the alliance’s troops leave in the coming months. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with: Atia Abawi, award-winning foreign correspondent and children’s author. Kathy Gannon, award-winning News Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Associated Press and author. Marina Kielpinski LeGree, founder and head of "Ascend," an NGO that trains Afghan girls and women to be leaders through mountain climbing and community service. Metra Mehran, Fulbright Scholar who co-founded the Feminine Perspectives Movement, which provides a platform for women across Afghanistan to raise their voices and ensure their views are heard at the peace talks. Almut Wieland-Karimi, executive director of the Center for International Peace Operations. Ellinor Zeino, Afghanistan Country Director for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Also featuring Pen Farthing, founder of the Nowzad Veterinary Clinic in Afghanistan, Veterinarian Zahra Nasiri and Renja Farein Ahmadi of the Enabled Children Initiative (ECI).

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  • 07.06.2021
    31 MB
    33:11
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    Afghanistan 2.0: What happens to Civil Society and Afghan women after NATO forces leave? (Part One)

    On May 27th, Common Ground and The German Marshall Fund of the United States co-hosted a special town hall with Afghan women, aid workers and analysts on three continents to talk about the future of the Central Asian Country after two decades of military and humanitarian intervention. This episode includes excerpts and interviews from that event. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with: Atia Abawi, Award-winning foreign correspondent and children’s author. Kathy Gannon, Award-winning News Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Associated Press and author. Marina Kielpinski LeGree, Founder and CEO of "Ascend," an NGO that trains Afghan girls and women to be leaders through community service and mountain climbing. Metra Mehran, Fulbright Scholar who co-founded the Feminine Perspectives Movement, which provides a platform for women across Afghanistan to raise their voices and ensure their perspectives are reflected in the peace talks. Almut Wieland-Karimi, Executive Director of the Center for International Peace Operations. Ellinor Zeino, Afghanistan Country Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Also featuring GMF Editorial Director Rachel Tausendfreund and Ascend Program Assistant Shogufa Bayat.

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  • 24.05.2021
    32 MB
    33:47
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    Voting while young

    What role will Germans between the ages of 18 and 35 play in choosing the next chancellor? Germany is often called a “pensioner democracy,” which has made it hard for young people to make a difference. That could change this year following a rare court victory and the surge of the Green Party and Annalena Baerbock, who could become the youngest chancellor in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with Green Party national deputy chairwoman Ricarda Lang; climate activist and Fridays for Future co-founder Carla Reemtsma, and GMF Europe program associate Anne Flotho-Liersch, who also coordinates the Berlin chapter of the Young Transatlantic Network. We also hear from Andrea Ugrinoska, who chairs the Advisory Council on Youth, which is the voice of young people in the Council of Europe. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 17.05.2021
    1 MB
    01:29
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    Coming up on Common Ground: Young German voters and a live episode!

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  • 10.05.2021
    34 MB
    36:10
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    Why don’t women feel safe? Outrage in Europe and beyond after the murder of Sarah Everard in London

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson delves into why women struggle with fear despite wielding more political and economic power than ever before, with guests Anne Ruetten, social media manager of Plan International; Conny Vogt of Heimwegtelefon, a private initiative in Germany and Austria helping women feel safer when they walk home at night; and Sarah Riese, a researcher on violence prevention at the independent institute, Camino. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 03.05.2021
    35 MB
    36:26
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    No Roof over our Heads, Part II: The Mietendeckel is no more, so what happens to affordable housing in Germany?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores what the end of the Berlin rent cap means for renters, landlords and the upcoming German federal elections with guests Wenke Christoph, state secretary in the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing; Economist Konstantin Kholodolin of the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin; and Kalle Kunkel, a Berlin activist with the Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Company initiative. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 26.04.2021
    37 MB
    39:30
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    Old But Not Broke -- Can we afford to retire?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores the impact of changing attitudes, governments and the pandemic on people’s plans to retire, with guests llka Houben, head of pensions policy at the German Insurance Association; Michael Heuser, research director of the German Institute for Wealth Creation and Retirement Insurance and Megan Leonhardt, senior money reporter with U.S. broadcaster CNBC. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 19.04.2021
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    01:05
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    Catching up with Common Ground

    Tune in on Mondays for interesting insights about Berlin and beyond. Our next episode is coming up Apr. 26, 2021.

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  • 12.04.2021
    34 MB
    35:51
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    A Shot In The Arm -- Should immigrants living in Germany fly home for their COVID-19 vaccine?

    Common Ground’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Korinna Hennig, co-host of a top German coronavirus podcast and Stefan Gosepath, a German philosopher and professor at the Freie Universitat Berlin, about the growing exodus in search of inoculations. We also hear from an American in Berlin who returned to the United States to get vaccinated and two others who are thinking of doing so. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 05.04.2021
    1 MB
    01:00
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    Coming up on Common Ground

    Teaser: A Shot In The Arm -- A growing number of expats living in Germany are headed home for the COVID-19 vaccine, but is it ethical or safe for them to do so?

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  • 29.03.2021
    34 MB
    35:49
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    Agree to disagree? The U.S. and German do-si-do on China

    The Western allies’ coordinated sanctions on China this month for human rights abuses in Xinjiang are the first of their kind since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. But do they signal a new, unified approach by Washington and Berlin toward China? Or will the transatlantic unison be short-lived? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with Noah Barkin, a senior visiting fellow with the German Marshall Fund’s Asia program and managing editor of Rhodium Group’s China practice; and Glacier Kwong, a political and digital rights activist from Hong Kong who is a columnist and also a doctoral student at the University of Hamburg. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 22.03.2021
    38 MB
    40:08
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    Wir Schaffen Das -- Except in the Bundestag?

    Immigrants and their descendants account for a quarter of Germany’s population, but still have a hard time breaking into the political arena. Will any of that change this election year? Is the first-ever Syrian refugee candidate a good start? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with MP Aydan Özoğuz, a Social Democrat who was previously the federal commissioner for migration, refugees and integration and Andreas Wüst, a professor of political science and government at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed. Update 30.3.2021: The Green Party says the first refugee to run for the Bundestag -- Syrian Tareq Alaows, who we report on in this episode -- has since withdrawn his candidacy because of threats against him and his family.

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  • 15.03.2021
    33 MB
    35:13
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    Time to reboot -- Germany’s rocky road to the digital age

    What accounts for the slow digitalization of Europe’s economic powerhouse? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores Germany’s digital reality with Social Democratic MP Daniela Kolbe, who serves on the Artificial Intelligence Study Commission; MP Anke Domscheit-Berg, The Left party’s spokeswoman on the Digital Agenda parliamentary committee; and Philip Meissner, founder and head of the European Center for Digital Competitiveness at the ESCP Business School Berlin. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 08.03.2021
    44 MB
    46:41
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    No roof over our heads -- A look at Germany’s growing housing shortage

    Affordable housing in German cities is increasingly hard to find. What went wrong and can it be fixed? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks with Berlin housing activist Thomas McGath of Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co; Barbara Steenberger, head of the EU Liaison Office of the International Union of Tenants and Konstantin Kholodilin, senior economist at the German Institute for Economic Research. Also featuring commentary by Berlin MP Iris Spranger (SPD). This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 01.03.2021
    35 MB
    37:27
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    Climate Change -- A Reality Check

    Where are we in the fight to curb climate change? And will having Joe Biden as the U.S. president help? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Douglas Hengel, senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund who writes about global energy, climate and resource challenges; Tim Gore, head of the Low Carbon and Circular Economy Program at The Institute for European Environmental Policy in Brussels, and co-founder of @fridaysforfuture.de Carla Reemtsma. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 22.02.2021
    2 MB
    01:07
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    ICYMI on Common Ground

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  • 15.02.2021
    40 MB
    41:53
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    Fighting Fake News - Is it censorship or necessary to preserve democracy?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck, founder of the news literacy project Lie Detectors in Brussels; Lisa Dittmer, Reporters without Borders’ advocacy officer in Berlin for internet freedom; Damaso Reyes, multimedia journalist and founder of Clarify Media; and Jacob Mchangama, founder of the Copenhagen-based think tank Justitia. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 08.02.2021
    41 MB
    42:43
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    Rollout Roulette - When will we get our COVID-19 shots?

    The coronavirus vaccination efforts in Germany and the EU are a mess. Why are some countries so much better at getting people inoculated? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Die Welt Middle East Correspondent and author Christine Kensche in Tel Aviv; Wall Street Journal Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov in Dubai and ARD Radio Correspondent Helga Schmidt in Brussels. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 01.02.2021
    35 MB
    36:47
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    “Lockdown Leiden” -- Are Germany’s virtual schools during the pandemic failing?

    E-learning isn’t working the way many students, teachers and parents would like. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson explores the ramifications with psychologist Dr. Ilka Wolter, diversity consultant and parent Annette von Wedel and Berlin teachers Ryan Plocher and Adrianne Oldham. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 25.01.2021
    31 MB
    32:41
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    Can German automakers survive Tesla?

    The California company's new facility in Brandenburg is set to open this summer, leaving Germany’s auto giants scrambling to retain their dominance in the global luxury car market. Common Ground host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Jens Hanefeld, who is in charge International and European Policy at Volkswagen, and Bloomberg Correspondent Stefan Nicola about the future of German electric cars. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 21.01.2021
    36 MB
    38:15
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    Silencing Donald Trump – Is it justified?

    Unprecedented bans by the U.S.-based tech giants are sparking debate in Germany over who should control social media. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by German MP (Greens) Renate Künast, Bloomberg Opinion’s Andreas Kluth, digital rights blogger and lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel and Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This show is produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 21.01.2021
    1 MB
    01:07
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    Teaser: Coming up on Common Ground...

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  • 21.01.2021
    36 MB
    37:58
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    An American ‘Botschaft’

    On the last episode of Common Ground in 2020, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to a man who has profoundly influenced Berlin and transatlantic relations for many decades: Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, John Kornblum. Tune in to hear about key moments in Berlin and the Cold War, the public radio station in the German capital he helped create, and the future of transatlantic relations. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 21.01.2021
    23 MB
    24:39
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    Looking back on KCRW Berlin — Part 2

    During KCRW Berlin’s last week on air, we're sharing the story behind the story. Listen to the second of a special, two-part episode in collaboration with Studio Berlin, where we reflect on our favorite on air moments from the past year and look ahead to 2021. This show was produced by Monika Müller-Kroll.

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  • 21.01.2021
    21 MB
    28:07
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    Looking back on KCRW Berlin — Part 1

    Tune into the first part of a special, two-part episode with Studio Berlin. This show was produced by Monika Müller-Kroll.

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  • 04.12.2020
    26 MB
    27:23
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    Germany’s Christmas season without Christmas markets

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Christian Gräff, CDU member of the Berlin House of Representatives; Christian Stender, culture manager at Ketering GmbH that organizes the Lucia Christmas Market at Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei, and our Studio Berlin co-host Sylvia Cunningham. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:14
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    The Future of the Workplace: Where and how will we work after the pandemic?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Helen Arvanitakis, director of London's new Design District ; James Andrade, senior vice President and Head of Learning and Innovation at CapitaLand in Singapore and in Düsseldorf, Hans-Hermann Aldenhoff, country head and law partner at Simmons and Simmons. Also featuring Die Linke Berlin ’s Tobias Schulze . This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:27
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    Is Germany ready for the new, transatlantic realities?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Bundestag member Daniela De Ridder (SPD), who is vice-chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Bloomberg Opinion columnist Andreas Kluth; Stormy-Annika Mildner, who heads the external economic policy department at the Federation of German Industries e. V. and Jana Puglierin, who heads the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:14
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    Becoming German - Should religion count?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Said Ahmad Arif, Imam at the Khadija mosque in Berlin; David Wengenroth, editor at the Lutheran news outlet, Idea; Sadiqu Al-Mousllie, Central Council of Muslims in Germany board member; and Ernesto Grueneberg, immigration lawyer in Berlin. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:29
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    The upcoming U.S. presidential election and fraying U.S.-German relations (Originally aired on Oct. 5)

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by John Emerson, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Kathryn Watts, Pendleton Miller Chair in Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle; Peter Beyer, Germany’s Transatlantic Coordinator; and Ralph Freund, Vice President of U.S. Republicans Abroad in Germany. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    26 MB
    27:49
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    Airbnb and vacation rental portals - A blessing or a curse for Berlin?

    Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talks to Wenke Christoph, state secretary in the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing , Christian Eckart, an attorney and partner at Redeker Sellner Dahs and Daniel Hofmann, housing market researcher at the Hamburg-based institute for urban, regional and housing research ( GEWOS ). This show was produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:14
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    The EU’s Digital Services Act - What does it mean for Big Tech and for YOU?

    The EU’s Digital Services Act - What does it mean for Big Tech and for YOU? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Alexandra Geese , Member of the European Parliament with the German Greens; Travis Todd, co-founder of Berlin’s startup community Silicon Allee ; Mackenzie Nelson, researcher and project manager at AlgorithmWatch , and Lina Rusch , a journalist with Der Tagesspiegel who writes about digital politics and artificial intelligence. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed and Monika Müller-Kroll.

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:29
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    Closed borders and quarantines - Are there better ways to travel safely during the pandemic?

    The pandemic has wreaked havoc on people’s travel plans and decimated the tourism industry and airlines. The German government’s guidance on travel is ever-changing and often confusing, making business and leisure travel difficult at best. With a new coronavirus wave erupting in Germany, across Europe and in parts of the US, will we see more border closures and quarantine rules? Or can increased testing help save holidaymakers’ fall and winter plans? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Volker Adams, the head of government affairs at the German Travel Association (DRV); Christian Tänzler, a spokesman for visitBerlin, the city’s official tourism service and Elizabeth Becker, an award-winning journalist and author of “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism.” This show was produced by Sylvia Cunningham.

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:29
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    The upcoming U.S. presidential election and fraying U.S.-German relations

    What many people feel about the upcoming U.S. presidential election can be described in one word: Fear. Some worry there won't be a peaceful transition of power following the vote next month. Others wonder whether democracy and women’s rights in the United States will radically change with a new Supreme Court. There is also anxiety over U.S. foreign policy, and the tone of the recent presidential debate only added to global uncertainty. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by John Emerson, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Kathryn Watts, Pendleton Miller Chair in Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle; Peter Beyer, Germany’s Transatlantic Coordinator; and Ralph Freund, Vice President of U.S. Republicans Abroad in Germany. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:21
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    Is it safe to be Jewish in Germany?

    Is it safe to be Jewish in Germany? Should German authorities be doing more to stop rising anti-Semitism? Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Germany's Federal Commissioner for Jewish life and against anti-Semitism Felix Klein; Sigmount Koenigsberg of the Jewish Community of Berlin ; Sharon Kuckuck of Berlin’s Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and Biplab Basu of ReachOut Berlin , who debate these questions one year after the deadly Halle attack and discuss how to reverse the trend. Produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    27 MB
    28:21
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    Cyclists vs. Pedestrians

    Frustration is high in Berlin over the rights of cyclists vs. drivers. But what about the rights of Berlin’s pedestrians vs. cyclists? We explore that fraught relationship and other human-powered, sustainable mobility conflicts in Berlin on the third episode of Common Ground with guests Carolina Mazza of ADFC (German Cyclists Association), Roland Stimpel of FUSS e.V. (Organization for Pedesterian Protection of Germany), Alena Büttner of the German Environment Agency and Dirk von Schneidemesser of Changing Cities e.V. Produced by Dina Elsayed

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  • 04.12.2020
    26 MB
    27:21
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    Should Berlin become a tech hub?

    When Google announced plans to open a campus in the Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, local opposition was so loud that it ground the tech giant’s plans to a halt. A similar wave of protests hit Friedrichshain earlier this year against Amazon’s plans to erect a 140 meter-tall office building. In this episode, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by Nina Monaghan, the vice-chairwoman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg; Yonatan Miller, co-founder of the Berlin Tech Workers Coalition, and freelance journalist and activist John Malamatinas. This show was produced by Dina Elsayed and hosted by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

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  • 04.12.2020
    51 MB
    53:38
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    Who is a REAL Berliner?

    John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech was embraced by an overwhelming majority of city residents nearly six decades ago. But these days, there’s a lot of disagreement over who gets to call themselves a Berliner as the German capital rapidly evolves into an international city with immigrants from around the globe. In the hour-long premiere of “Common Ground”, host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is joined by a panel made up of Berlin politicians Sawsan Chebli and Christian Gräff, “Der Alte Ami” – DJ Rik de Lisle, and Maxim Gorki Theater Director Shermin Langhoff . This show was recorded live on Sept. 7, 2020 and produced by Dina Elsayed.

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  • 04.12.2020
    3 MB
    03:08
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    Introducing Common Ground

    “Common Ground” is a 30-minute radio show airing weekly on 104.1 FM, KCRW Berlin. The one-hour premiere airs on Sept. 10, 2020. The show, hosted by former NPR international correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, aims to bring people together on sensitive issues, existential questions and flashpoints to find mutual understanding, compromise and solutions. In this short preview, we share a little about the background of the show, what it's about, and preview the one-hour premiere that is airing on Thursday, September 10. You're invited to attend the taping of the first show, live, via Zoom, on September 7, 2020. Visit our website to sign up. www.kcrwberlin.com/commonground.

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