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International Week in a virtual format for the first time

Once a year, the Deutsche Bundesbank’s University of Applied Sciences organises an “International Week”, which is geared in particular to students at the institution’s partner universities. This week is dedicated to lectures on central bank topics, but also promotes an international exchange among students, not least through the cultural programme accompanying the event.

Unfortunately, the global coronavirus crisis meant that the university could not host this year’s International Week in its usual form. Instead, an international summer course dedicated to the subject “Times of Uncertainty – Current Challenges for the European Financial Markets” was offered in a virtual format in the week of 29 June to 3 July. This online format attracted much interest around the world. In total, some 120 students from countries including Belarus, China, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine registered for the course, showing that there was a great deal of interest in the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout Europe. Although it is impossible for a virtual event to offer the same opportunities for international exchange as a face-to-face event, the online format is a very welcome alternative for maintaining contacts during the pandemic, as the organisers stressed.

In addition to monetary policy and prudential issues, topics relating to payments and European integration were also discussed during the summer course, which was held in English. One of the event’s highlights was the presentation by the Bundesbank’s Chief Economist, Jens Ulbrich, entitled “Economic Forecasting in Turbulent Times”. In it, Jens Ulbrich compared the university’s virtual summer course to the current monetary policy in the euro area, as “…at the Bundesbank’s University of Applied Sciences as elsewhere, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”. Despite the unavoidable compromises in terms of interaction and communication with an online format, the students very much appreciated the opportunity to attend this international event, with many expressing their gratitude for the wide range of insights provided into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the euro area economy at the end of the event.