Fellows Distinguished Visitors Program Video/Audio Archive Support


Twenty Years of Cultivating Relationships across the Atlantic

September 9 marked the twentieth anniversary of the American Academy in Berlin. On that date, in 1994, just after the last of the American brigade left the once-divided city, Vice President Al Gore presented Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s vision of a new institution that would broaden the German-American relationship and prepare it for the post-Cold War world. It was to be a privately funded venture that would promote greater understanding and dialogue through a residential fellowship program, based in Berlin. That vision became reality through the many private individuals, foundations, and corporations whose generosity has supported a rigorous public program of intellectual and cultural outreach. Since 1998, the Academy has hosted well over 400 fellows and many more guests, from novelists and historians to economists and political protagonists, whose stays in Berlin have contributed significantly to the city's vibrant public sphere.

We celebrate this milestone with several special events and publications over the course of the academic year. On October 1 we published a scrapbook of images and texts from the Academy's first two decades, in Der Tagesspiegel; on October 7 we will honor James A. Baker, III, the US Secretary of State during the fall of the Berlin Wall, who will receive this year's Henry A. Kissinger Prize, with laudations by Wolfgang Schäuble, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Henry A. Kissinger, and Academy leadership. On October 8 we hold a private dinner at the Hans Arnhold Center for our loyal benefactors, friends, and trustees, featuring remarks by Frank-Walter Steinmeier; a musical performance by Max Raabe; and a short documentary film about the Academy by longtime trustee Volker Schlöndorff. Reports of these events will be published on our website and in the forthcoming Berlin Journal, due out in late November.

Upcoming Events

Monday, Oct. 06 5:30pm

A Conversation on Evolving Regulatory Developments

register online

As chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro presided over one of the busiest rule-making agendas in the SEC’s history, during which the agency also executed a comprehensive restructuring program to improve protections for investors. President Obama praised her leadership by saying the SEC had become stronger and the financial system had become “safer and better able to serve the American people — thanks in large part to Mary’s hard work.”

This evening's discussion, between Schapiro and Andreas Kluth, the Berlin bureau chief of the Economist magazine, covers the current state of financial market regulation and market structure, as well as corporate governance developments. She will also discuss the increasingly important role of the board in oversight of financial institutions and the expectations of regulators for risk governance of large banks and capital markets participants, as well as trends in US corporate governance.

Location: Allianz Forum, Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin

Tuesday, Oct. 07 8:00pm

2014 Kissinger Prize, Honoring James A. Baker, III

The Henry A. Kissinger Prize as been awarded annually since 2007 to a distinguished European or American who has made a lasting contribution to the transatlantic relationship. The recipient of the 2014 Henry A. Kissinger Prize is the Honorable James A. Baker, III, former US Secretary of the Treasury (1985–1988) and Secretary of State (1989–1992). The Academy honors Secretary Baker in recognition of his singular achievements over four decades of service in senior governmental positions. Laudations will be delivered by Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister of Finance, and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor (1974-1992).

Secretary Baker's achievements at critical periods were historic and earned him recognition as one of the central figures in managing the end of the Cold War. His government service was characterized by both vision and pragmatism. He was unique in his ability to devise solutions to the most difficult challenges of postwar history. His astute, principled, and politically skillful approach earned him both success and respect of friends and adversaries alike. His achievements range from stabilization of Western economies in the 1980s to organization of worldwide support for the first Gulf War, and negotiation of the end of the Cold War, including the reunification of Germany.

In founding the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, which fosters dialogue between statesmen, scholars, and students, Secretary Baker maintains his commitment to the public welfare. He has continued to advise international leaders in roles including Personal Envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in seeking a political solution to the Western Sahara dispute, as Special Presidential Envoy for President George W. Bush on the issue of Iraqi debt, and as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Robert Bosch GmbH, as well as Porsche AG.


Monday, Oct. 13 7:30pm

Tracking Time: Documenting America’s Post-Industrial Cities

register online

Camilo José Vergara has documented tensions in poverty-stricken American neighborhoods for over 40 years. By returning to these neighborhoods over the course of decades, he has made urban change visible like no other contemporary photographer. A photographic sociologist, ethnographer, and urban researcher, Vergara has created a unique archive of American urban history. In July 2013, Vergara was honored for his achievements with the National Humanities Medal, the first time this award was given to a photographer. In September 2014, the Library of Congress acquired Vergara’s work. "Time Tracking - Documenting America's Post-Industrial Cities" is the first institutional solo exhibition of Vergara’s work in Germany. The exhibition is on view at the Museum für Photographie Braunschweig from October 17 until December 28, 2014.

In cooperation with the Museum für Photographie Braunschweig

Generously supported by Almut & Hans-Michael Giesen

Tuesday, Oct. 14 7:30pm

Toward a Quantitative History of Data

register online

We live in a time of data. Around us, tools for creating, storing, communicating, and manipulating data grow ever more sophisticated and ubiquitous. Data flows constantly among our computers, handheld devices, cell phones, and an entire “internet of things” from refrigerators to burglar alarms. Yet, the cultural and intellectual frameworks that underlie our present data-saturated condition are old, and their histories illuminate important aspects of the present. In his lecture, Daniel Rosenberg will explore the long history of data, stretching back to the seventeenth century, emphasizing its foundations in early modernity. By tracing the historical concept of “data,” Rosenberg examines implications of new data-driven approaches in the humanities, and argues that even our contemporary self-understanding is mediated by data-analytic techniques.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 8:00pm

Stealing from Dad

Writers Adam Ross and Julia Franck in dialogue. Moderated by Pamela Rosenberg, Former Dean of Fellows, American Academy in Berlin.

Location: Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Breitscheidstraße 4, 70174 Stuttgart.

Tickets (€ 9): info@literaturhaus-stuttgart.de or 01805-70 07 33.

In cooperation with the Literaturhaus Stuttgart

Generously supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, and the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung GmbH

Thursday, Oct. 23 7:30pm

China and the West: Challenges and Opportunities

register online

How should the West manage its increasingly complex relationships with China? This is the central question that this discussion among leading American China-specialist David Shambaugh and distinguished former German ambassador to China Michael Schaefer, will address. Shambaugh claims that America’s and Europe’s relations with China share some commonalities that the transatlantic partners should pursue in tandem, while in other areas they compete with each other. Is there, in fact, a common set of priorities that Washington and the EU should pursue in common vis-à-vis Beijing – or should each side pursue its own interests? Do the US and EU have a “grand strategy” that guides their approaches to China? What are Beijing’s strategies and priorities in its dealings with the US and Europe? Is there sufficient consultation and coordination among Washington and EU governments? These are some of the important issues that Shambaugh and Schaefer will explore in this evening's discussion, moderated by the executive director of the American Academy in Berlin, Gary Smith.

Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds

Monday, Oct. 27 7:30pm

Melvin J. Lasky’s War Diary ‘Und alles war still: Deutsches Tagebuch 1945’

register online

From the Rohwalt book catalogue entry for Und Alles War Still: «Selbst als ein Ungläubiger stand ich demütig und beschämt vor den Ruinen dieses fremden Landes», notiert Melvin Lasky, als er im letzten Kriegsjahr mit der US-Army nach Deutschland kommt. Hier soll der Oberleutnant Material für eine Geschichte der Invasion sammeln, doch was er sieht, lässt sich nicht schematisieren: Chaos, Trümmer, Unmenschlichkeit überall. Fassungslos reist er durch tote Ruinenlandschaften, vom Elsass über Bayern, Kassel und Braunschweig bis in die versehrte Reichshauptstadt, skizziert die Anfänge der Besatzungspolitik und, vor allem, hört den Menschen zu, die er trifft. Ihre Stimmen – von KZ-Überlebenden, Widerstandskämpfern, alliierten Soldaten, Kriegsgefangenen, Nazis, Mitläufern und Ausgebombten – fügen sich zu einem beeindruckenden Mosaik des Jahres 1945 und machen das bislang unveröffentlichte Tagebuch zu einem einzigartigen Zeitzeugnis.

A conversation between Michael Naumann, Journalist and Director, Barenboim-Said Akademie Berlin; and Wolfgang Schuller, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, Universität Konstanz.

In cooperation with Rowohlt Verlag

Tuesday, Oct. 28 7:30pm

Kunstkammern, Practical Knowledge, and the Birth of the Modern Nation State

register online

In this lecture, Mark Meadow will discuss how early modern German collections can be seen as pragmatic sites of knowledge-making that were intimately bound to the rise of the modern nation-state and the emergence of a global mercantile and informational economy. Through the collecting activities of the Fuggers, the Augsburg banking magnates who also sponsored the German colonization of the Caribbean coast of South America, Meadow argues that Kunstkammer emerged decades earlier than once thought. He also explores the complex systems of value at work in these collections, which extended well beyond monetary and aesthetic worth to include pure and applied research value, political and religious control and social memory. As a point of origin for modern public museums and research universities, a better understanding of the functions served by these early museums has important policy implications for the stewardship of cultural, scientific and academic heritage today.

Tuesday, Nov. 04 7:30pm

The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race

register online

In this lecture, Myles Jackson will explain how he has used the CCR5 gene as a heuristic tool to probe three critical developments in biotechnology from 1990 to 2010: gene patenting, HIV/AIDS diagnostics and therapeutics, and race and genomics. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Jackson ties together intellectual property, the sociology of race, and molecular biology by showing how certain patent regimes have rewarded different forms of intellectual property. The decision to patent genes was not inevitable, Jackson argues, nor "natural." Likewise, there is nothing inevitable about using race as a major category of human classification. Jackson explains the economic and political interests that rationalized those choices -- and explains the alternatives. He attempts to resurrect the past in order to illustrate the alternative paths not taken and explain why they were never chosen.

Generously supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation