(The Berlin photo album, also attached to the end)
Every year the German Fulbright Commission convenes a conference of all the German Fulbright awardees. They also invite Fulbrighters from each of the other European commissions. The goal of the conference is to foster inter-Fulbright relationships and to learn a little bit about the wider mission of the Fulbright as we act as ambassadors to our home countries. I was mostly excited to visit Berlin again and reconnect with many of friends I haven’t seen since leaving Marburg at the end of September.
You may remember that I visited Berlin last December, but it’s such a vast city with so much going on that I knew I would need to check it out again, and the conference was the perfect opportunity.
One of the icons of Berlin, the Fernsehenturm (TV tower), that was set up right outside our hotel. Location, location, location.The conference itself offered interesting insights into German history and culture. We were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 60th anniversary of the German constitution so there was a panel of experts (including the former head of the Green Party) who discussed how a united Germany has been getting along for the last two decades. The consensus is it’s doing pretty well, but isn’t perfect (what else is new).
Some of the Fulbright musicians were able to perform for the rest of us. Everyone groaned when they found out it might be three hours, but the time flew by in the hands of these incredibly talented folks.My favorite part of the conference was getting all the Marburgers back together again so we could compare experiences gained in our respective new homes. We also shared a few travel tips, German terminology, and German alcohol (both beer and wine), much of it provided through the conference (this Fulbright scholar thing has its perks). The experience was capped off with a Fulbright sponsored good bye party at the Kulturbraurei (Culture Brewery) where it was confirmed that German DJ could maybe learn a thing or two from their American counterparts such as 1) 90s pop is a lot of fun, but it won’t crowd the dance floor, 2) if you’re going to play techno, make sure it moves and if it doesn’t, two songs in a row will do it, not six, and 3) listen to requests when they’re suggested, not three hours later.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed a glass and steel entry hall. He’s considered one of the fathers of modern architecture, emphasizing function over style, and he gave birth to the Chicago style. Think of the IBM Plaza in Chicago, think of the CN tower in Toronto, think of any blocky glass and steel structure. You’re thinking of Mies. Personally, I’m over the functionalism and glass thing, but maybe you aren’t.
Erin, Marty, Miya, Ashlan and I – to discuss our adventure in the frozen North...
until then, Tchüss!
The photos again