An International Conference on "Common Digital Future"
The German-French Young Leaders Conference on "Common Digital Future" was held from 12-15 May 2016 in Paris. The Conference offered three days of open discussions and inspiring workshops, of respectful exchanges and thought-provoking presentations exploring the question of how to shape the digital future. The objective of the conference was furthermore to unite talents and young leaders from France, Germany and Europe to envision what, from our European point of view, the digital future should look like.
Under the auspices of the then German and French ministers of Economy Sigmar Gabriel and Emmanuel Macron, 76 young professionals followed our call to Paris. In the French capital, the exchange of promising ideas led to mutual inspiration for all participants, a new, modern perception of the German-French friendship and of European unity
Experienced speakers reflected on a wide range of disciplines and shared their thoughts and knowledge in inspiring talks, presentations and panel discussions. Their topics covered not only politics, diplomacy and democracy but also natural sciences and technology. Exchanges on education and privacy were complemented by questions around management and the banking sector. We welcomed representatives of international cooperations (e.g. Microsoft and L’Oréal), as well as of buzz-creating startups like Qwant. Moreover, our guest list included state officials like the German Ambassador to France who debated with influencers from the digital world, such as Amal Taleb from CNNum, startup investors namely Gunnar Graef from Deutsche Ventures, as well as consultancy representatives working in the area of digitalisation.
"Digitalisation is the fastest technological revolution in human history and the society is only at the beginning of its transformation."
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Former Speaker of WikiLeaks, Speaker at GFYL conference 2016
Next to diverse keynote speakers, the Conference applied a highly participatory approach. By inviting all participants to become speakers themselves in TED-like talks or to lead workshops, the Conference covered a rich variety of topics going beyond anticipated questions by also including fields like health and brain science, the future of work, education or even journalism, art and philosophy. It was very much an Alexander von Humboldtian approach where participants and speakers alike and together explored different aspects of digitalisation in order to better understand its whole nature.
The diverse Conference program with plenty of opportunities for networking and deep conversations completed the unique and vibrant atmosphere of the event. The Conference sessions took place at inspiring venues in the Paris area: Starting off at the French Ministry of Economy, the group moved to the international startup incubator NUMA. Live music and a visit to the Musée des impressionnismes in Giverny rounded off the event serving as a reminder that both creativity and technology support human progress.
Our thanks go to our partners whose contribution to the conference is greatly appreciated.