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German Embassy Recognizes UC in Efforts to Educate on 'Fall of the Wall' 20th Anniversary

UC and its German Studies department have officially been designated a partner by the German Embassy in this year's efforts to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Date: 3/25/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos By: Richard Schade

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati has been designated by the German Embassy as one of only a handful of collegiate partners in the “Freedom Without Walls” celebration, which commemorates this year’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Chipping away at the wall
A German resident chips away at the Berlin Wall in 1989.

UC has committed to a long series of events in celebrating the anniversary, according to Richard Schade, professor of German Studies and an Honorary Consul of Germany. “This is a very nice honor for UC,” he said. “We had been planning from within the German Studies department to put together an international conference about the anniversary, along with some other events on campus, and it just so happened that the German Embassy was also looking to implement a major campaign of diplomacy in the same time frame dealing with the anniversary of the fall of the wall.”

As Schade points out, there is good reason to emphasize the significance of the anniversary on today’s college campuses. “The fall of the Berlin Wall still seems fresh, as an event in recent history to many of us,” Schade says. “But it is important to inform this new generation, because to many of them, it seems already like ancient history.”

UC will host a major international academic conference on the significance of the fall of the wall in November. “The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Twenty Years After” will convene on Nov. 8-9 at UC, with scholars from all over the world expected in attendance.

The Berlin Wall in 1989
A photo of a checkpoint on the Berlin Wall, shortly before it fell.

Organizers of the conference from UC’s German Studies faculty are Associate Professor Katharina Gerstenberger and Associate Professor Jana Evans Braziel. Keynote speakers will include:
  • Sander L. Gilman of Emory University
  • Josef Joffe of Stanford University and founding editor and publisher of Hamburg’s Die Zeit
  • Saskia Sassen of Columbia University
  • James Sheehan of Stanford University
Other highlight events at UC this year include:

  • A Langsam Library exhibit on the fall of the Berlin Wall, running from September-December
  • A commemorative all-Beethoven concert presented by UC’s College-Conservatory of Music in October
  • An Osher Lifelong Learning Institute presentation as part of its “Wow Wednesday” series, “The Rise & Fall of the Berlin Wall”
  • A Berlin film fest in November, with four films presented over a week's time, each with a Berlin focus
In addition, Schade will be offering an Honors Seminar in the fall called “Focus on Berlin 1949/2009,” which will conclude with a 10-day experiential learning component in Berlin.