The 25th anniversary "PowWow" of the German Fulbright Alumni Association took place in Berlin May 6-8.
The conference focused on developments in transatlantic relations over the past 25 years, with topics ranging from politics, economy, technology, education, and just about everything in between.
The weekend began with an opening reception at the United States Embassy and a German dinner in Kreuzberg Friday night. The next morning the Fulbrighters were greeted by beautiful sunny weather as the conference moved further west into the Bosch Repräsentanz in Charlottenburg for the main conference day.
The key dialog about transatlantic relations from 1986-2011 between SPD politician Karsten Voigt and American diplomat John C. Kornblum made for a perfect opener to the PowWow by discussing the relationship between Germany and the US from both from national and global perspectives.
Next was the largest panel of the day- the opening panel to discuss political developments over the past 25 years.
The speakers included Professor of American Literature and poet Hassan Mekouar from Morocco, American journalist Gil Carbajal, German Politian Edelgard Bulmahn, Australian professor Bill Ashcroft, Polish economist Stanislaw Kluza, and German historian Jürgen Kocka.
With such a broad topic and 6 panelists, a 90 minute time limit made it difficult to cover topics completely. Despite the time constraints, the panelists managed to create a good base and bring to attention pressing topics that were then later further discussed in smaller roundtable discussions, such as: neoliberalism, grassroots movements, today's rising democracies, climate change, and national security.
The conference was then split into multiple roundtable discussions in which the attendees could choose from a set of more specific topics, for example: global media, education, gender, political responsibility, and energy production.
The day then came to a close with the concluding panel about emerging democracies. The panelists were Hassan Mekouar, speaking about Morocco, historian Svetlana Suveica speaking about Moldova, and Gil Carbajal speaking about Spain. Through this panel, guests were able to gain an insider's perspective on developments towards democracy as each panelist told their own personal findings and historical knowledge about the different countries and situations.
The end of the day was not the end of the debating though, that I am sure. The Fulbrighters made their way back east to dance and discuss the night away in Prenzlauer Berg's Kulturbrauerei.
Recordings of the sessions will be available soon through the NPR FM Berlin Bonus page. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.