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Press release

Berlin, February 8, 2016

Opening of the Digital Society Institute Berlin (DSI) at ESMT

  • Newly established independent institute for research on topics of digitalization
  • Opening ceremony with State Secretaries Vitt and Zypries and panel discussions on the digitalization of industry, cybersecurity, and human rights

The Digital Society Institute (DSI) at ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Berlin is celebrating its inauguration today. The academically independent institute provides research on topics relevant to digitalization and uses scientific expertise to strengthen the discourse between business, politics, and society. The institute’s goal is to provide reliable information and to develop cross-sector analyses on and strategies for the digital future. Supporters of the DSI are the global companies Allianz, BASF, EY, and Volkswagen.

The opening of the DSI at ESMT includes several keynote speeches and panel discussions on the topics of digitalization of industry, cybersecurity, and human rights. These will be moderated by TV journalist Cherno Jobatey. Brigitte Zypries (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) will lay out the central endeavors needed in politics and business in the face of increasing digitalization in her opening speech. In the subsequent panel discussion, Prof. Dr. Robert Blackburn (President, Information Services & Supply Chain Operations, BASF), Dr. Stefan Heißner (Partner, EY), Dr. Martin Hofmann (CIO, Volkswagen), and Dr. Ralf Schneider (Group CIO, Allianz) will discuss the challenges for German industry.

The keynote of Klaus Vitt (State Secretary, Federal Ministry of the Interior) will focus on the tension between security and human rights. Dr. Thomas Bagger (Head of the Policy Planning Staff, Federal Foreign Office), Michael F. Gaul (Senior Advisor, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO) and Ambassador Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ischinger (Chairman, Munich Security Conference) will deepen the discussion. In a concluding keynote, James A. Lewis (Director, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies - CSIS) will speak about the future role of Germany on issues regarding digitalization.

Dr. Sandro Gaycken, Director of the Digital Society Institute at ESMT, commented, “As digitalization progresses, it continuously poses many new challenges for Germany – economically, politically, and socially. The DSI has been founded to examine the key issues of this development more closely and to work on practical solutions. We are pleased to already have so many renowned supporters.”

The DSI will focus on three main areas: digital society and strategy, digital risks and the evaluation of possible solutions, and innovation and regulation. Its first goal is to develop analytical methods, evaluation capabilities, and effective strategic plans for safe, secure, and liberal information technology in the field of cybersecurity and privacy. In the long term, expertise coming out of the DSI should support decision-making processes, innovation development, technological impact assessments, and IT market management.

About ESMT

ESMT European School of Management and Technology was founded by 25 leading global companies and institutions. The international business school offers a full-time MBA, an executive MBA, an executive MBA/MPA, a master’s in management as well as open enrollment and customized executive education programs. ESMT focuses on three main topics: leadership and social responsibility, European competitiveness, and the management of technology. ESMT faculty publishes in top academic journals. Additionally, the business school provides an interdisciplinary platform for discourse between politics, business, and academia. ESMT is based in Berlin, Germany, with Schloss Gracht as an additional location near Cologne. ESMT is a private business school with the right to grant PhDs and is accredited by the German state, AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS, and FIBAA.