Skip to Main Navigation

Thirty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Lessons for the Future

April 7, 2020

Washington, DC


A landmark location of the Berlin Wall in Germany. August 2019.

By P Gregory/ Shutterstock

Please note: This event is postponed until further notice.

  • The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 ended the Cold War and saw the demise of Soviet satellite governments in Eastern Europe. Two years later, in December 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. The subsequent unification of East and West Germany revived aspirations for a peaceful world, without walls and united under the ideals of liberal democracy. For many people, the hopes and dreams of the early 1990s were realized: countries in Central and Eastern Europe witnessed strong economic growth, rising living standards, and new-found personal and political freedoms.

    In 2020, however, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, much of Europe is fragmented. Demographic and refugee crises, along with increased economic uncertainty, have helped reactivate populist and isolationist movements.

    What have we learned over the last thirty years? Looking back, what policies worked, and under what conditions? Could the gradual transition to market economies have been less costly? Looking forward, how will countries in the region respond to the challenges of population aging, climate change, and the digital revolution? What is the future of liberal democracy and capitalism in Europe?

  • Image

    Joseph E. Stiglitz

    Professor at Columbia University and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001

    Joseph E. Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is also the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chairman of the (US president's) Council of Economic Advisers. In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University.


    William Easterly

    Professor of Economics, New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute

    William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute, which won the 2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Development Cooperation Award. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (March 2014), The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).


  • DATE: Postponed Until Further Notice
  • Time: Postponed Until Further Notice
  • Venue: Postponed Until Further Notice
  • Chair: Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
  • CONTACT: Ekaterina Ushakova