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Discussion 'Beyond COVID-19: Population Challenges Ahead'

Discussion Beyond COVID-19: Population Challenges Ahead


Resilience and social cohesion – these terms are frequently used to describe major societal challenges. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that individuals are affected by the consequences of the crisis differently, and the mechanisms behind the increasing diversity – and inequality – are still not fully understood. Accordingly, the European countries also vary depending on their cultural and institutional settings and the rigidity of how they are organised. What works in one part of Europe (e.g. the youth guarantee, the German system of vocational training, the Nordic model of the welfare state), might perhaps not be applicable in another one, and a one-size-fits-all solution most likely does not exist. However, there is one constant feature: the role education plays in the level of resilience against the risks of social inequality, during a crisis, the life course, and even at old age. What are the demographic parameters which support – or might prevent – individuals from being better prepared for these challenges? And what role can policies play in that regard?

This event was originally held on Thursday, 10 December 2020. You can watch a full recording on our YouTube channel.



  • Dr Markus Kerber, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr Arnstein Aassve, Professor in Demography at the Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management of Bocconi University in Milan


  • Prof. Dr Fabrizio Bernardi, Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the “Comparative Life Course and Inequality Research Centre”, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy, and Chair of the board of the European Consortium for Sociological Research
  • Prof. Dr Emilia Del Bono, Professor of Economics, Institute for Social & Economic Research, University of Essex, and Director of the ESRC Centre for Micro-Social Change
  • Prof. Dr Jani Erola, Professor of Sociology, University of Turku, and Director of INVEST (Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State), Research Flagship Project of the Finnish Academy, Turku, Finland
  • Prof. Dr Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Senior Professor, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
  • Thiemo Fojkar, Chairman, Bundesverband der Träger beruflicher Bildung (National Association of Holders of Vocational Training), Berlin, Germany
  • Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, EUROCHILD, Brussels, Belgium
  • Katja Hintze, Chair of the Board, Stiftung Bildung (Foundation for Education), Berlin, Germany
  • Prof. Dr Trude Lappegård, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Prof. Dr Karl Ulrich Mayer, Director emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and former President of the Leibniz Assocation, Berlin
  • Christoph Müller-Hofstede, Program manager, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education), Bonn, Germany
  • Dr Florian Roth, Project Manager, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Prof. Dr Norbert Schneider, Director, Federal Institute for Population Research, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • Prof. Dr Rebecca Sear, Professor of Demography and Head of the Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
  • Dr Daniela Vono de Vilhena, Deputy Executive Secretary, Population Europe / Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research