Episode 89: Forty Years of Anticipating Trends

Eric Langenbacher

Senior Fellow; Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program

Dr. Eric Langenbacher is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Society, Culture & Politics Program at AICGS.

Dr. Langenbacher studied in Canada before completing his PhD in Georgetown University’s Government Department in 2002. His research interests include collective memory, political culture, and electoral politics in Germany and Europe. Recent publications include the edited volumes Twilight of the Merkel Era: Power and Politics in Germany after the 2017 Bundestag Election (2019), The Merkel Republic: The 2013 Bundestag Election and its Consequences (2015), Dynamics of Memory and Identity in Contemporary Europe (co-edited with Ruth Wittlinger and Bill Niven, 2013), Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations (co-edited with Yossi Shain, 2010), and From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic: Germany at the Twentieth Anniversary of Unification (co-edited with Jeffrey J. Anderson, 2010). With David Conradt, he is also the author of The German Polity, 10th and 11th edition (2013, 2017).

Dr. Langenbacher remains affiliated with Georgetown University as Teaching Professor and Director of the Honors Program in the Department of Government. He has also taught at George Washington University, Washington College, The University of Navarre, and the Universidad Nacional de General San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has given talks across the world. He was selected Faculty Member of the Year by the School of Foreign Service in 2009 and was awarded a Fulbright grant in 1999-2000 and the Hopper Memorial Fellowship at Georgetown in 2000-2001. Since 2005, he has also been Managing Editor of German Politics and Society, which is housed in Georgetown’s BMW Center for German and European Studies. Dr. Langenbacher has also planned and run dozens of short programs for groups from abroad, as well as for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense on a variety of topics pertaining to American and comparative politics, business, culture, and public policy.



Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.



Jill McGovern

AGI Trustee

Dr. Jill E. McGovern is a member of the Board of Trustees at the American-German Institute. Between 1993 and 2007, she served as CEO of The Marrow Foundation, the partner of the National Marrow Donor Program, which maintains the national registry of unrelated blood stem cell donors. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Baltimore International Festival and senior assistant to the President of Johns Hopkins University. Between 1975 and 1981, she was associated with the Department of Education at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, and chaired the Department from 1978 to 1981. In addition, Dr. McGovern taught at the Citadel in Charleston and Tulane University in New Orleans. She also taught in the Orleans Parish Schools for seven years after she had spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer on Mogmog, Ulithi, Federated States of Micronesia.

Dr. McGovern has served on the Board of Trustees of Legg Mason Funds since 1989. Between 1994 and 1999, she chaired the Board of the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, and she continues to serve as a member of the Museum's Advisory Council. She also served on the Boards of the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust and the International Biomedical Research Alliance. From 2012 to 2014, she chaired the Board of the Lois Roth Endowment, a non-profit organization devoted to fostering international cultural dialogue. In addition, she is an Army Arlington Lady.

Dr. McGovern is involved with Johns Hopkins University in a variety roles: as a member of the Rising to the Challenge Campaign Cabinet, the Evergreen Campaign Committee, the Peabody National Advisory Council, the SAIS Europe Advisory Council, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Council; and as co-chair of the SAIS Legacy Circle.

Dr. McGovern received her BA from Northwestern University, her Master of Arts from Xavier University, and her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Jill McGovern has been involved with AGI since the idea for it came about in 1981. As part of our AGI at Forty series, Dr. McGovern reflects on how an idea for a think tank that focused on two German states from an American perspective came to fruition. She discusses how AGI’s unique and forward-thinking perspective in the Cold War set the tone for its research agenda through the next forty years.


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Eric Langenbacher, Senior Fellow and Director of AGI’s Society, Culture & Politics Program
Dr. Jill McGovern, AGI Trustee

This podcast is part of the Society, Culture & Politics Program’s AGI 40th anniversary series.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.