Käte Hamburger Kolleg Launches Cooperadio – The Global Cooperation Podcast

Following a gargantuan effort on the part of the KHK Events Team, May 25th 2021 saw the official launch of Cooperadio – The Global Cooperation Podcast. Intimately bound to the research mandate of the Centre, the podcast seeks to broaden the understanding of key themes in Global Cooperation.

Truly a collaborative effort, Cooperadio is a showcase not only of highly relevant themes in the international community, but also of our own hard-working team and would not have been possible without the investment of a great deal of time and energy from all departments. Special recognition should be directed toward Julia Fleck, Project Assistant for Event Management. Julia has been the driving force behind the podcast from inception to realisation and is reponsible for the lion's share of the organization necessary for intensive behind-the-scenes conception, research, scriptwriting, and production activities that have made Cooperadio the exciting listening experience that it is.

The podcast represents a building block in the larger transfer strategy of the Centre. Key amongst its foundational aims is the intention to extend the Centre’s research agenda to a wider audience in order to initiate reflections on how this diffuse system of Global Cooperation takes place in all facets of our lives. Directed toward both scholars and the general listener, the topics for individual podcast episodes largely arise from current research being done at the Centre, but the scope has also been extended into further areas of interest. Events Team Head Tobias Schäfer explains, ‘For example, with the relationship between COVID-19 and Global Cooperation, we have set a very topical focus to get into podcasting…This emerged from conversations with the research groups and leadership team’. Tobias also acknowledges that future episodes will also include themes that are not quite as topical, but nevertheless worthy of discussion, such as ‘the dark side of Global Cooperation’ (slated for season two).

Episodes of Cooperadio generally feature two segments. The first segment takes the form of an interview with a prominent scholar weighing-in on the topic at hand, while the second puts the spotlight on the research of one of KHK’s talented Fellows. Topics and guests are introduced by members of the Events Team including Tobias Schäfer and Janine Herbert and interviews are moderated by Centre Director Sigrid Quack and Co-Director Jan Aart Scholte. So far, three episodes have aired:

  • 25 May 2021: ‘A wake-up call for Global Governance’, with Thomas Hale | Research Feature: Alena Drieschova
  • 1 June 2021: ‘Multilateralism - Can we still build on it?’, with Richard Ponzio | Research Feature: Michele Tedeschini
  • 8 June 2021: ‘We need to talk about the World Health Organisation!’, with Anna Holzscheiter | Research Feature: Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn


Professors Quack and Scholte are actively involved in designing the focus of individual episodes as well as in the selection of guest academics. Working in a complementary relationship with the Events Team, they each offer support in supplementary modifications informed by intimate knowledge of the diverse subject matter.

‘It has been an exciting experience to try out this new format’, explains Professor Quack, ‘the podcasts offer lively conversations with leading scholars on current topics of Global Cooperation. For example, the forthcoming discussion with Professor Susan Sell offers up-to-date assessments of a highly controversial but extremely salient problem for humanity in a language and format that is accessible for broader interested audiences beyond academics’.

Professor Scholte’s reflection cites the podcast’s resonance with the Centre’s mandate similarly: ‘Cooperadio offers refreshing, dynamic, accessible discussion of the possibilities and problems of global cooperation. We focus especially on global (non-)cooperation in the current Covid-19 pandemic, but the implications go wider to global governance in other policy fields. The podcasts are a great way to advance the Centre's aim to bring debates around global cooperation to the general public’.

These discussions and research spotlights help even the uninitiated listener to understand complex topics in Global Cooperation. Taking the issues from the at times abstract realm of theory and empirical research, the themes are presented in an approachable way. The hosts do not hesitate to call into question cooperation itself. Viewing international efforts not purely as ‘good’ or always ‘progressive’, topics at hand are problematized in a way that promotes understanding of the multitude of discrete consequences of a given initiative or global effort.

In the coming weeks, the podcasters will look at collaborations at the city-local level before, during and after the pandemic. Discussions will also approach the political economy of patents and intellectual property of vaccines and the struggles around them. In addition, listeners can look forward to perspectives on current global governance events from observers in other regions of the world (starting with Africa). Of course, further research projects of the Fellows will be presented.

Cooperadio – The Global Cooperation Podcast is available on all major platforms.