Over the last decade, widespread disinformation – distributed through the internet, over social media, and especially through messengers – has influenced our political systems and societies in an unprecedented way. When it comes to disinformation, what is the current state of affairs? What have we learned about the resiliency of our institutions? Are we ready for the impact AI will have on already fragile systems? The American Council on Germany and the German Consulate General of New York are launching a new on-line series to discuss these questions.
On October 4, at 11:00 am ET (17:00 CET), the American Council on Germany and the German Consulate General of New York will kick off the series with a virtual discussion on how actors use disinformation campaigns to influence public opinion, divide societies, and disrupt democratic processes. We will be joined by Lutz Güllner, Head of Strategic Communications and Information Analysis at the European External Action Service, and Nina Jankowicz, Vice President at the Centre for Information Resilience and former Head of the Disinformation Governance Board of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Lutz Güllner is the Head of Division for Strategic Communications and Information Analysis in the European External Action Service. He leads a team of about 40 persons dealing with issues related to disinformation and foreign manipulative interference. In his work, he focuses on addressing disinformation threats for the EU and for the EU's neighborhood region. Prior to his current position he served as Head of the EEAS's foreign and security policy communication team (2017-2019) and as Head of the European Commission's Directorate General for Trade's communication team (2013-17). He was also Deputy Head of the Trade Strategy Unit and responsible for the coordination of EU-US trade and economic relations. In 2009 and 2010, Mr. Güllner was spokesperson for the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton. He was also the Commission's spokesperson for trade policy. In previous positions, he was in charge of economic relations between the EU and Russia. Prior to joining the European Commission, he worked as public affairs consultant in Brussels.
Nina Jankowicz is an internationally-recognized expert on disinformation and democratization and the author of two books: How to Lose the Information War (Bloomsbury 2020) and How to Be A Woman Online (Bloomsbury 2022), an examination of online abuse and disinformation and tips for fighting back. She currently serves as the Vice President at the UK-based Centre for Information Resilience, a non-profit focused on countering disinformation. Ms. Jankowicz has advised governments, international organizations, and tech companies, and testified before the U.S. Congress, UK Parliament, and European Parliament.
In 2022, Ms. Jankowicz was appointed to lead the Disinformation Governance Board, an intra-agency best practices and coordination entity at the Department of Homeland Security; she resigned the position after a sustained disinformation campaign caused the Biden Administration to abandon the project. From 2017-2022, she held fellowships at the Wilson Center, where she was affiliated with the Kennan Institute and the Science and Technology Innovation Program and led accessible, actionable research about the effects of disinformation on women, minorities, democratic activists, and freedom of expression around the world. In 2016-17, she advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on disinformation and strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. Early in her career, she managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute.