Annual Report 2020: A Year in Between Challenges and New Perspectives

Annual Report 2020: A Year in Between Challenges and New Perspectives

It is almost always impossible to summarize a year that has just passed using only a single label. The year 2020, however, is different. Many people from different parts of the world would certainly agree that it carries the title ‘COVID-19 pandemic’. Events such as the assassination of Iranian military commander Soleimani, the explosion in the port of Beirut, the terrorist attacks of Vienna, or the poisoning of Alexej Nawalny in Russia fade in light of a year amid lockdowns, COVID-19 relief packages, the hope for an effective vaccine and above all: sickness and death, fears, standstill, and social distancing. The pandemic has further unveiled global inequalities and made them even worse. Social divide, as well as polarization, have increased around the globe. In connection to the pandemic, conspiracy theories and disinformation have reached an extent to which constructive discussions and dialogue between different perspectives have become difficult, if not impossible. And yet the year has also initiated positive developments. The most significant among them is the Black Lives Matter movement. Provoked by the death of George Floyd, the movement shifted the topic of racism back into the focus of a broader public – also beyond US borders. We may hope for 2021 that there will not only be a continuation of the discourse on racism but also some noticeable changes and improvements.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IFAIR also needed to find new levels of creativity and flexibility, and in some instances had to put things to a halt. Some of our projects as well as our annual meeting had to be canceled or shifted online. Still, we look at 2021 with optimism and hope that we can continue our projects. At this point, we also want to mention that all of our activities and success stories would not have been possible without the support of many different institutions and individuals. Therefore, we want to seize this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us on our journey so far.


Our highlights in 2020:

  • We are happy to report that for the third year in a row, more of our new members are internationals rather than German nationals.
  • We have welcomed eight new members to IFAIR’s core team.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, we started our “IFAIR Series in Times of Corona”, a series of short stories from around the world, including comments, perspectives and analyses on the pandemic, that we published in our Think Tank.
  • Happy Birthday, IFAIR! As part of the ten-year anniversary of IFAIR’s foundation, we celebrated by traveling back in time and publishing a series of articles and short interviews with IFAIR alumni. Not only did we illustrate IFAIR’s development as an organization over the past ten years, we also provided future perspectives for the coming year
  • In August 2020, our “Latin America Weeks” took place in the course of which our Think Tank published all analyses and publications written as part of the successful Impact Group LACALYTICS II.
  • We started our own Podcast series called “IFAIR Hot Seat”. The concept of the podcast is that young people interview and debate with policymakers, academics, and journalists about current hot topics in world politics and what it means to work in the field of international affairs.
  • IFAIR founded the Impact Group ‘Future of the International Monetary System’ and started recruiting members for its project team. By developing an online tool, the project aims at raising awareness about the structures of the international monetary system and make knowledge available to a broader population.

More information about our highlights, projects and new members can be found in our Annual Report 2020: A Year in Between Challenges and New Perspectives.