Alexander Görlach

Senior Fellow, Politics and Religion, Democracy and Society in the Digital Age

Alexander Görlach is a senior fellow at Carnegie Council. He is an F. D. Roosevelt Foundation In Defense of Democracy Affiliate Professor at Harvard University College; an affiliate to the Government Department at Harvard; and a fellow to the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Cambridge, UK. In his work, Görlach looks into narratives of identity, liberal democracy, secularism, and pluralism. His focus is on identities of the West.

Görlach is also a senior advisor to the Berggruen Institute, a think tank based in Los Angeles. There, he observes the topic of democracy in the digital age and the transformation of society, both culturally and economically, due to artificial intelligence.

He previously was a J. F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard Center for European Studies and held a teaching assignment at Freie Universität Berlin. For his academic work on encounters between the Western and the Muslim worlds, Görlach lived and studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the Faculty of Theology in Ankara, and the Papal University Gregoriana in Rome. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative religion and another one in linguistics.

Görlach is an op-ed contributor to The New York Times and  The World Post. He also writes for the German media outlets Die ZEIT and FOCUS Magazine and he is a TV-commentator for German news channel N24. Görlach is a columnist for the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche. He was the founder of the debate magazine The European, which he ran as publisher and editor-in-chief from 2009 until 2016. After the company was successfully acquired, Görlach founded the media initiative www.saveliberaldemocracy.com, where he fosters a debate about the values and concepts of humanism and enlightenment and how to preserve and develop them further in the age of populism and so-called "post-facutality" in the environment of liberal democracies.

As a senior fellow for Carnegie Council, Görlach will look into Latin America, which he perceives as a part of the West, disagreeing with most concepts that exist today which exclude this part of the world explicitly as a component of the West. Latin America, however, is in Görlach's view an essential part of what is considered to be the Western hemisphere: a shared past, shared enlightenment, and the reception of its philosophy, languages, political system, and religious and ethical beliefs mark the many commonalities. Moreover, through its young population and due to shared urging societal questions in all parts of the Western World, Latin America should and could have a stimulating impact on Europe and the United States.

PHOTO CREDIT: David Elmes, Harvard University

Last Updated: October 24, 2017