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Post Memories of Berlin in the Early 1990s
Created by John Eipper on 03/31/21 3:37 AM

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Memories of Berlin in the Early 1990s (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 03/31/21 3:37 am)

Helen Pitlick's post on Berlin (March 30th) inspired me to share this memory:

In my first trip to Berlin in the early 1990s, I was asked to organize a panel on the management of technology for a big conference. Our hotel was in West Berlin but the really impressive government buildings were mostly in East Berlin (amidst dilapidated houses) or their border.

For the conference I invited Robert Bell, then my Dean, and Ron Marston, then CEO for HCA. In separate days off, I walked with each of them from the hotel to the Brandenburg Gate or vicinity where the action was. It felt like my long walks from near the train station in Rome to the Vatican (around 10 miles?), but it was more charming. Once walking back from the Gate where I had bought a VOPO helmet for my son, it was so heavy that after a while I put it on my head only to be insulted by a West German teenager for wearing it.

On a shorter walk, at the time Dean Bell (he later became President of TTU) and I visited Humboldt University. We were very well received and shocked by the lack of resources at such a famous university. Bell had the idea of coming home, collecting all the unused books we could and shipping them to Humboldt University. I worried they might see it as an insult, but perhaps I was wrong. The project at least got us all on an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, mug shots an all. That made me have more faith in Robert Bell's ideas.

The German food was always strange to me but I learned to appreciate it because of a local German restaurant in Johnson City, Tennessee, where they are masters at it. It also must be healthy food since the Germans tend to look healthier than Americans in general.

JE comments:  Tor, please tell us more about Humboldt U during the earliest years of Reunification.  Humboldt U is now one of the world's finest, but it was probably quite impoverished at the time of your visit.  Along these lines, I found this 1994 piece from the Chronicle.  Enjoy!


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