„With the Future in Mind – An Illustrated History of Social Security in Germany“ exhibition opening was supported by FES Shanghai

Event: Society and Politics

Social security is an essential part of a sustainable society in every industrialized nation. This important message is conveyed by the travelling exhibition With the Future in Mind – An Illustrated History of Social Security in Germany.

Photo: Participants go through the exhibition after the panel discussion.

Developed by the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the exhibition was first presented at the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin in 1987, and has been shown more than 40 times both in Germany and abroad since then. In 2014, it was exposed in several Chinese cities. The project was supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the German embassy, local German consulates and other local partners. In this context, the Shanghai endowment of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung coordinated presentations of the exhibition in Shanghai and Guangzhou. On the occasions of the opening celebration at Fudan University on June 10th, it invited to a panel discussion with Ding Chun, Head of Centre for European Studies at Fudan University and Dr. Traute Meyer, reader in Social Policy at the University Southampton.

The discussion pointed to the recent developments of the social security system in both countries. Prof. Ding explained that the Chinese social security schemes were extending, but still fragmented between regions and access remained unequal according to a person’s place of origin. Regarding the future, he predicted that the fragmented social security system would be replaced by a unitary system.

Photo: The welfare system is steadily under reform to adapt to new challenges - Dr. Traute Meyer explains the history of the German welfare state.

Dr. Meyer assumed that, even though built in a conservative way and protecting social inequalities based on class and gender, the German welfare state had been capable to secure social stability, decrease the negative impacts of economic crises and stimulate mass consumption. During the course of history, it has undergone many reform processes and adapted to new situations. The most current reforms include the extension of welfare politics to providing childcare.

The exhibition opening aimed at exchanging ideas on social policies in Germany and China. Both the exhibition and the panel discussion exemplify how social welfare policies can actively take part in forming a better society. This also holds true for the present economic and social situation.

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