Father Nikodemus, since 2018 you have advised the Federal Foreign Office in the Religion and Foreign Policy section. Normally you live as a monk in a Benedictine abbey in Jerusalem. What brought you to Berlin? The precursor to the department was the Task Force on the Responsibility of the Religions for Peace. In 2017 and 2018, it organised large-scale network meetings of religious actors that I also had the chance to attend. I was therefore familiar with the work of the Federal Foreign Office, and the Federal Foreign Office – and in particular the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication – was aware of my expertise.
Among the non-English-speaking countries, Germany is now the most popular host country for students from abroad. Behind the USA, Great Britain and Australia, the Federal Republic has in other words ousted France from the number-four slot. In 2016 just short of 252,000 people studied in Germany having completed high school in another country. According to the new report “Wissenschaft weltoffen 2019” released by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), this is approx. 6,000 more than in France.
In early May, Kevin Kühnert, who heads the left-wing SPD youth organization – the Jusos – sparked national and even international discussion. In an interview with the weekly “Die Zeit”, asked whether he favored the collectivization of the automaker BMW, he answered: “In a democratic way, yes.”
84 percent of the world’s population belong to a religion – a percentage that is rising all the time. The opposite trend can be observed in Germany, however, where fewer and fewer people feel tied to a religion. In a survey, almost 80 percent of young people said that they could live without a religious faith.