The Fulbright conference was held last week from the 20th until the 24th. The 24th was technically check-out and last luxurious breakfast day, which was great for me anyway. There were a few interesting events and panels that the Fulbright Kommission set up for us, which included: a talk by former Ambassador (to Germany) Kornblum (current Ambassador Murphy introduced Mr. Kornblum); a talk by the Mayor of Berlin, Ingeborg Junge-Reyer and a concert put on by Fulbrighters.
(The World Clock at Alexanderplatz in Berlin.)
(My hair looks ridiculous but because it’s so long, it covered most of my face while I was jumping.)
The weather was, for the most part, very beautiful throughout the conference. U and A asked me how the conference went since I missed an entire week of school, and I told them that the food was my favorite part. Breakfast and dinner every day was absolutely amazing. The Fulbright Kommission put the Fulbrighters up in the Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz, which was very swanky, so you can see why I enjoyed the meals 🙂 The talk by the former ambassador was held in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which is nicknamed the pregnant oyster. It’s a bit odd to think that such a building was a gift from the Americans to the Germans. If you don’t know what the building looks like, take a look here. (I forgot my camera that day.) Whoever did the catering at that event in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt also did an amazing job.
On a serious note: my favorite panel discussion was between two German politicians who discussed the future of transatlantic relations in the context of the world outside of Europe and North America. I think I was one of the few people in that room who knew who Joseph Nye is and what his definition of soft power is. I think the Fulbright Kommission should look into getting other speakers who are specialists in fields outside of international relations and economics. It was clear to me during the Q&A session that many people did not understand the bulk of the discussions…
All in all: a great conference with some fun opportunities to dress up, schmooze a little and drink lots of wine. I only bring up the wine because Reiner Rohr, the Chief of American Programs, commented that the participants of this year’s Fulbright conference had the highest intake of alcohol in comparison to previous years. (To be fair: the conference hit a new record of number of participants this year.)