News Release

Impact of digitization on democracies

Joint Symposium of the Science Academies of Germany, Israel and the USA

Meeting Announcement


Digitization is an integral part of democracy today. This is particularly evident in election campaigns, political initiatives, and societal debates that are increasingly being conducted via social media. On Tuesday, 22 June, and Wednesday, 23 June, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences are organizing the virtual symposium "Digitization and Democracy" in order to discuss associated risks, policy options, and trends from a scientific point of view.

Joint symposium by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

"Digitization and Democracy"

Tuesday, 22 June 2021, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Berlin/Germany) and Wednesday, 23 June 2021, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Berlin/Germany)

Online via Zoom

The COVID-19 pandemic and related public measures for social distancing have further intensified this trend towards digitization. The virtual space offers new opportunities for democratic participation, but at the same time, there is rising concern for its place and influence in politics and society. Fake news, hate speech, and conspiracy theories are able to sway political opinions and the results of elections, and the power of transnational social networks and platforms is also the subject of many recent public debates.

Speakers from Germany, Israel, and the United States will discuss the topic over four virtual sessions, in an interdisciplinary manner. Among others, computer scientist Shafrira Goldwasser (Berkeley/USA), legal scholar Michael Birnhack (Tel Aviv/Israel) and computer scientist and Leopoldina member Gerhard Weikum (Saarbrücken/Germany) have confirmed their participation.

The Leopoldina, acatech, and the Union of German Academies will jointly publish a statement on the topic of "Digitization and Democracy" on Wednesday, 16 June 2021. The German language version can be found on Wednesday 16 June, 10 a.m. at:

An English language short version can be found on Tuesday 22 June at:


The event is open to all interested parties and will be held in English. Participation is free of charge. Prior registration is required.

The program and further information can be found at:

The Leopoldina on Twitter:

About the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

As the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina provides independent science-based policy advice on matters relevant to society. To this end, the Academy develops interdisciplinary statements based on scientific findings. In these publications, options for action are outlined; making decisions, however, is the responsibility of democratically legitimized politicians. The experts who prepare the statements work in a voluntary and unbiased manner. The Leopoldina represents the German scientific community in the international academy dialogue. This includes advising the annual summits of Heads of State and Government of the G7 and G20 countries. With 1,600 members from more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina combines expertise from almost all research areas. Founded in 1652, it was appointed the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2008. The Leopoldina is committed to the common good.


Dr. Jan Nissen
Senior Officer, Department International Relations

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