On Wednesday September 18th, Ms Weiland’s English AP class had the extraordinary pleasure of following an invitation to the US Embassy in Berlin at Pariser Platz next to Brandenburger Tor.
We met right in front of the embassy and after a short ID check, we were admitted in one by one. As no electronic devices of any kind are allowed inside the embassy, we had to leave all our smart devices with the security guard at the entrance. Once we had made it past the US Marine, we were offered cookies and softdrinks and found our seats in the auditorium. We didn’t have to wait long for the American and German Dream youth event to get started.
We were greeted on behalf of the embassy by Evyenia Sidereas whose wide-ranging overseas assignments have taken her to Thailand, Kosovo, Egypt and Iraq. At the U.S. Embassy, she is serving as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs. She is a Chicagoan and a first-generation American, whose parents hail from Greece. The second host was Düzen Tekkal, an award-winning German journalist and human rights activist of Kurdish-Yazidi origin, and the founder of the initiative German Dream.
Ms Sidereas made her introductory remarks in German, talking about her personal experiences with the American dream, given that she is a second-generation American whose parents had fled the Greek military junta in the 1970s.
While Düzen Tekkal, who works as an author, journalist and documentary filmmaker, was talking about her German-Dream initiative, Ambassador Richard A. Grenell found the time to join the event even though it was his birthday. He warmly welcomed everybody and gave a little insight into his own childhood, saying that his mother had always told him that no matter how often he failed he always had to get up one more time, which would also be his advice to every young person eager to reach their aims.
Ms Tekkal went on promoting her initiative, in which many celebraties are participating as “Wertebotschafter“, i.e. people who share their experiences and personal values with students in mostly hotspot schools all over Germany, particularly with students who are having a difficult time due to their foreign roots. Politicians Cem Özdemir and Dorothea Bär but also actress Katja Riemann are among those volunteers.
Then members of the audience were invited to take part in the discussion and share their own American or German dreams and to explain what makes Germany a land full of chances and diversity. For me it was interesting how many people opened up and spoke about their thoughts, emotions and experiences.
I believe that our English AP class had a good time at the embassy and that most of us enjoyed their stay, especially as some of us participated very lively in the discussion. Afterwards we took the attached group picture and some of us were interviewed. The whole event took about two hours and was a recommendable experience I would definitely tell anyone not to miss given the chance.
Tom Philip Nartschik, English AP 12, Ms Weiland