NUI Galway Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Friday, 6 November 2009

The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be commemorated at 6.30pm on Monday, 9 November, at NUI Galway. Lecturers from NUI Galway will speak about their personal experience of the event and discuss its historical and political significance for Germany and Europe during a panel discussion. The event takes place on campus in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. Panel participants will include NUI Galway's Dr Róisín Healy, History; Dr Henrike Rau, Political Science and Sociology (originally from East Germany); and Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, German (originally from West Germany). The discussion will be chaired by lecturer in German, Rosaleen O'Neill, and will be followed by a reception. During the day, students of German at NUI Galway will erect a polystyrene version of the Berlin Wall in the Foyer of the Arts Millennium Building. All are invited to write a comment on it, before its fall is re-enacted around 6.15pm. According to Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, Head of German at NUI Galway: "On 9 November, 1989, a peaceful revolution in the German Democratic Republic swept away the Berlin Wall. This scandalous monument, that had divided the city into two halves since 1961, symbolised the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. Its fall changed the face of Europe more than anything else since the end of the Second World War, resulting in the reunification of a divided Germany and the integration of Eastern European countries into the European Union". NUI Galway will also host an exhibition produced by students of German which will feature rare original exhibits from the former GDR and include a wealth of original sources and a video installation. The exhibition will provide insights into life in the former German Democratic Republic and reflect upon the economic and ideological changes after the fall of the Wall. The bilingual exhibition Bruchzonen/Breaking Points will open at 5pm on Monday, 16 November 2009, in room 204 of the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. Also on Monday, 16 November, at 6.30pm in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, the documentary film My DDR T-Shirt by Ian Hawkins will be screened. The director will be present and will answer questions from the audience. The events are sponsored by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the German Embassy, Dublin. All events are free and open to the public. For further information email h.schmidthannisa@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 492239.
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