Wunderbar Together

Panel discussion highlights the stories of German-American friendship

Throughout history, war and peacemaking have formed some incredible bonds between countries that still stand to this day. Germany and the US have seen some of the most historically significant and tumultuous relations that have fortunately led to a great alliance in the present day. 

Showcasing a strengthening bond in the past few decades, the “Wunderbar Together” Program celebrates the American-German friendship in events and tours around the US. Last week, CNU hosted three panelists as part of the program, including CNU professors Dr. Brian Puaca and Dr. Delulio, as well as German Embassy Senior Tax Counselor Ms. Sandy Radmanesh. 

While it may not seem initially obvious, the German cultural influence on the US is quite extensive; Dr. Delulio pointed out how German cars, beer and classical music have influenced American culture for decades. After first visiting Bamberg (one of the oldest German cities) on a study abroad experience, she described her awe at the old, imposing structures around the city. Medieval remnants characteristic to almost any European city are “aspects of the human condition that we simply don’t experience [in the US],” according to Delulio. 

Like many students at CNU, Delulio had an eye-opening experience during study abroad in Dresden, where the historic Frauenkirche is at the center of the Old Town. Not only was the church at the center of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, it was also destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt in the process of German unification. 

A physical representation of this history, Delulio stated, “cannot be reproduced in the classroom.”

While the presence of the old certainly represents a difference between American and German landscapes, the connections between these two societies lies with the vast exchange of people seeking to learn about each other’s cultures. 

In particular, Puaka noted that there is a significant amount of students on youth exchanges and those with relatives that previously served overseas who have fostered connections with Germany overtime. Historically, the relationship has strengthened with the Marshall Plan rebuilding infrastructure in Germany and the NATO alliance. 

Sharing first-person experience of living under the German Democratic Republic (GDR or DDR – Deutsche Demokratische Republik), Radmanesh addressed many audience questions about her life and family struggles and eventual escape from communism.

~Kristen Ziccarelli, Staff Writer~

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