Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg, was often a center of critical thinking. When Frederick the Great invited Voltaire to Sans Souci, or Albert Einstein made Caputh his summer home, local and international intellectual forces combined to reflect on the central issues of their times. In establishing the Einstein Forum in 1993, the State of Brandenburg affirmed its commitment to renewing Potsdam's traditional role as a center of the Enlightenment, in the very broadest sense.
The extraordinary success of the Einstein Forum's first years showed that it fills a need met nowhere else. By offering an institutional context for intellectual innovation outside the university, the Einstein Forum promotes the exchange of ideas across disciplinary as well as national borders.
Through lectures, workshops and conferences which are open to everyone, the Einstein Forum serves a double function: to give the general public the opportunity to engage with major thinkers at work, and to encourage those thinkers to overcome traditional academic boundaries. At their best, such exchanges not only make available opportunities traditionally confined to elite audiences, but also lead to a democratization of the intellectual process itself.
The Einstein Forum is located at the crossroads of discussion in eastern and western Europe. Guests enjoy the quiet beauty of the loveliest 18th century square in Potsdam and the cultural riches of downtown Berlin. Operating expenses are provided by the State of Brandenburg, while individual programs and projects are supported by grants from public institutions and private sponsors. All contributions are tax-deductible.
As an institution whose mission is to develop work on and between the borders of different fields, the Einstein Forum is not limited to particular research topics. It's program is divided into four general areas: ethics and society, the past as present, understanding nature, art and knowledge. The following pages present examples of lectures and workshops offered in the recent past.