Can we upgrade our foreign policy toolbox by gathering the views of involved citizens, technological innovators and experts from other disciplines? Can ideas that come out of their everyday experience influence foreign-policy-makers? How can we convey the complexities of German foreign policy? Between 2015 and 2018 Stiftung Mercator explored these question in its Open Situation Room (OSR).
In total, 15 OSR were held in various cities in Germany and Europe to find solutions for challenges such as: "How can we re-shape transatlantic relations in the Trump era?", "How can we use international cultural work to prevent radicalisation?", "How can we reduce the impact of fake news and cyber attacks on voters during elections?".
The OSR can be understood as a contemporary interpretation of the ‘Situation Room’ that US President John F. Kennedy created for discussing acute crisis situations – in 1962. While that situation room was used for gathering government experts, the Open Situation Room brings together experts and practitioners who may come from other fields. In this way, the OSR supplements the classical crisis meeting by providing representatives of other disciplines and viewpoints with a forum to discuss German foreign policy challenges.
As a workshop format the OSR is well suited to find solutions for all kinds of challenges. For further information on how the Open Situation Room works methodically, please refer to this site (in English):
Open Situation Room - Introduction & Instruction.