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Archive of Selected Past Events

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Monday, March 2, 2015, 20:00

Mary Ellen von der Heyden Book Presentation/U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Tom Drury, Writer, Brooklyn, New York
Moderation: Felicitas von Lovenberg
Lesung des deutschen Textes: Helmut Mooshammer

Driftless Area

Pierre Hunter's life is saved by a beautiful stranger whose past lives catch up with both of them in a violent and transcendent finale.

Tom Drury is the author of Pacific, The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams, The Driftless Area, and The Black Brook. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and the Mississippi Review. Drury has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was named one of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists." He lives in New York. 

Driftless Area will be released in German by Klett-Cotta Verlag as Das Stille Land on January 31, 2015

Helmut Mooshammer will read from the German translation.

English Theatre Berlin
Fidicinstr. 40
10965 Berlin

Admission: 5 Euro/ school groups free if they register with

Book tickets: +49 - (0)30 - 691 12 11; by e-mail at

In cooperation with the American Academy Berlin, Klett-Cotta, and the English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center

February 27: Cybersecurity

open lecture and a subsequent panel discussion hosted by the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on the topic of:

Cybersecurity: How To Respond To Growing Threats
on Friday, February 27, 2015, at 18:00 hrs at the ESMT – European School of Management and Technology Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin

Melissa Hathaway Senior Advisor, Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

February 24: A Dialogue with International Venture Capitalists

A Dialogue with International Venture Capitalists:

Is Germany (or Europe) the

Next Big Opportunity for Venture Capital?


Much has been written about the hot startup hubs in Europe; from Berlin to London to Amsterdam to Dublin to Budapest.

But what does Venture Capital truly think about Berlin and Europe as an investment opportunity, particularly for early stage startups?

How can European entrepreneurs tap into the global VC scene?

We have assembled a panel of distinguished investment experts to discuss these topics and more:

  • Dr. Christian G. Nagel, Co-Founder of EarlyBird Venture Capital
  • Michael Treskow, Investment Team, Accel Partners
  • Scott Sage, Partner, DFJ Esprit
  • Praveen Paranjothi, European Investment Fund

The Event is hosted by U.S. AMBASSADOR John B. Emerson

For those who cannot be at the U.S. Embassy, you can watch it from 17:30 to 19:00 at

February 23: Transatlantic Business Forum

Dr. Eric Schweitzer, Ambassador John Emerson, Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Ulrich Grillo

Dr. Eric Schweitzer, Ambassador John Emerson, Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Ulrich Grillo

Ambassador Emerson today delivered welcome remarks on the importance of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (T-TIP) to small and medium-sized German businesses at the Transatlantic Business Forum 2015 in Berlin.  Other speakers were Sigmar Gabriel, the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.  The conference was hosted by the BDI and the DIHK in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce and the German American Chambers of Commerce.

Ambassador Emerson invites Youth to Exclusive Advance Selma Screening

Ambassador with guests

Ambassador with guests

Days after the international premiere of Selma at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival—the Berlinale—the U.S. Embassy in Berlin organized an exclusive advance screening of the historical drama Selma at the Zoo Palast cinema on February 19. Nearly 250 students from Berlin-based schools and fellows of different organizations, such as the Hertie Foundation and the Deutschlandstiftung Integration, accepted Ambassador Emerson’s invitation. Set during the height of the American Civil Rights movement in 1965, Selma depicts the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery to secure voting rights for black people. The movie informed the audience about a defining episode in the life of the legendary civil rights campaigner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his remarks, Ambassador Emerson highlighted the recent 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to West and East Berlin in September 1964, and elaborated on the effect this visit had on the citizens of a divided city, Germany, and Europe as a whole. In his interviews to the members of the local, national, and international press, Ambassador Emerson also touched upon the future and made clear that although both U.S. and German societies have made great progress, there is still hatred, intolerance, and discrimination, and films like Selma can serve as a bridge to long-overdue conversations on race, inequality, and injustice in both countries.

Selma was directed by U.S. filmmaker Ava DuVernay and was nominated for two Academy Awards in the categories of “Best Motion Picture of the Year” and “Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures” for the original song “Glory.” Selma won an Oscar in the latter category and the prize was bestowed on John Legend and rapper Common at the 87th Academy Awards on February 22, 2015.

The exclusive preview was made possible by the generous support of the film’s distributor, Studiocanal.

February 10: Berlinale reception

Ambassador and Mrs Emerson with the director Ava DuVernay and Colman Domingo and David Oyelowo from the cast of

Ambassador and Mrs Emerson with the director Ava DuVernay and Colman Domingo and David Oyelowo from the cast of "Selma" More photos

On February 10, 2015, Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson hosted a reception for nearly 350 guests in honor of the American ties to the 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), one of the world’s leading film festivals, featuring over 400 films each year. The reception honored the German-American cooperation in the film industry with a focus on those Studio Babelsberg Hollywood productions that have won or have been nominated for Academy awards. Special recognition was given to the film “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which has been nominated for nine Oscars and to the film “Selma,” which had its international premiere the same evening. The director of “Selma” Ava DuVernay as well as actors David Oyelowo and Colman Domingo were among the guests at the Embassy, as was the entire International Berlinale Festival Jury, including well-known German actor Daniel Brühl and Jury President Darren Aronofsky. Other notables included German actor Christoph Waltz, actresses Sibel Kekilli and Dennenesch Zoudé, German directors Oliver Hirschbiegel and Volker Schlöndorff, African-American-German filmmaker and actor Mo Asumang, Turkish-German award-winning actrress Yasemin Samdereli, and Iranian filmmakers Ayat Najafi and Farhad Payar as well as American chef, activist and author Alice Waters who received the Berlinale Kamera this year. In addition, several members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and representatives of the European Film Market were present. In their remarks, the Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson highlighted the German-American cooperation in the entertainment industry and talked about the history of the Berlinale as a German-American Marshall Plan project.

Feb. 10: Projections of America


invites you to an exclusive screening of:


at the COSIMA Cinema on

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, at 3:30pm. Mrs. Emerson will be delivering brief welcome remarks.

The screening includes one of the original WWII propaganda films featured in the documentary - for the first time on a Berlin screen since 1945:

The Autobiography of a Jeep

Tickets are free – please RSVP by February 7 to:


a film by Peter Miller

produced by DOCDAYS Productions

The film addresses an untold World War II story which brings to life the production and distribution of a series of documentary films collectively titled Projections of America. The project was headed up by the Academy Award®-winning Hollywood screenwriter Robert Riskin, whose personal and political journey is the dramatic heart of the story. Teaming up with an improbable collection of brilliant filmmakers – including Josef von Sternberg and John Houseman, as well as many of the giants in the documentary field – Riskin created some of the most indelible images of America ever put to film. But 70 years later, the Projections of America movies have disappeared, hidden away in a government archive.

The Projections of America films were shown exclusively to foreign audiences, many at the point of liberation — and our evidence of their reception points to the fact that the documentaries were welcomed as a breath of fresh air. They calmed and cajoled people to the idea of a different and better world after the war. They were idealistic in that sense yes, and literal in their intent to build post-war institutions led by Allied forces. But they also just showed ordinary people going about their daily lives, working to achieve their goals, striving to make their mark on society. These were very different feelings from much other propaganda through the war that was largely about power, conquest, and denunciation of the enemy. Journalists who finally got to see the films in America in 1944 were so taken with their message that they urged the authorities to show them to home audiences. But they never were.

This special screening includes one of the original WWII propaganda films featured in the documentary: The Autobiography of a Jeep  With friendly support of the Federal Agency for Civic Education the restored film with German subtitles will be screened for the first time since August 1945. The Federal Agency for Civic Education is about to publish ten original films from the collection later this year.


February 6–8: Munich Security Conference

Vice President Biden speaking at the Munich Security Conference

Vice President Biden speaking at the Munich Security Conference

One of the central topics debated at the 51st Munich Security Conference (MSC) was the crisis in Ukraine and its impact on Europe’s security architecture.  Adding some drama to the event was Chancellor Merkel’s and President Hollande’s February 4-5 visits to Kyiv and Moscow, with another round of talks in Minsk scheduled for February 11.  Other key issues discussed at length were the situation in the Middle East, the fight against terrorism, the global refuges crisis, and climate change.  American officials attending included Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke on February 7, and Secretary John Kerry, who took part in a panel discussion on February 8 with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.  US officials from the Departments of State and Defense, plus other agencies, took part in a dizzying number of bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral meetings and various other events during the conference.  A large delegation from the U.S. Congress also participated in MSC2015. 

Before the official opening, 160 people took part in a youth event on February 5 entitled “Privacy, Security, and You!” which included the US State Department’s Cyber Coordinator Chris Painter among others.

February 4: FRUIT LOGISTICA Remains a Successful Global Showcase for U.S. Exhibitors

Ambassador John B. Emerson visited the USA Pavilion at the 23nd annual FRUIT LOGISTICA trade show in Berlin. FRUIT LOGISTICA is the world’s largest trade show for fruits and vegetables. Over the course of three days, the show attracts over 64,000 trade visitors from 141 countries. Nearly 30 companies from the United States exhibit their products and services at the USA Pavilion, ranging from apples, pears, cherries, dates, blueberries, mangos, olives citrus, pistachios, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, and dried fruits to services and products related to fruit trade.

February: Black History is America’s History: Celebrating Black History Month in Berlin

Dr. Layli Maparyan, the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College engaged with diverse youth groups in Berlin on January 27 to discuss the meaning of Black History Month and how it can cultivate social change leadership, not only in the U.S. but also around the world.

“Our differences make us stronger, and everyone has the agency and authority to make a positive difference in the world,“ Dr. Maparyan told a group of young activists who came together at the U.S. Embassy Berlin to discuss how to build cultures of inclusion as part of the Embassy’s celebration of Black History Month.  The diverse group of young leaders, from the Deutschlandstiftung Integration, Zahnräder Netzwerk, JUMA (Young/Muslim/Active), and the Young Transatlantic Initiative, discussed their community projects and the reconciliation methods introduced my Dr. Maparyan during her talk.

Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Berlin, Dr. Maparyan also delivered a scholarly lecture and engaged in a discussion with students and faculty of the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University.  Within the framework of a “womanism” praxis, Dr. Maparyan outlined non-oppositional problem solving tools and illustrated how simple, personal acts can create amity and inclusion from the personal all the way up to the institutional level.

January 30: Du Bois Lecture by Kara Keeling

The Distinguished W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture by Prof. Kara Keeling, University of Southern California, on “A Now that Can Breed Futures: Audre Lorde and the Cinematic Politics of Documentary Projects as Legacy Building.”

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, Berlin-Mitte, Senatssaal, 18:30. This talk is part of the conference “Audre Lord’s Germany.”

January 29: Deputy Chief of Mission James D. Melville, Jr. Inaugurates the Event Series “Worldwide Exile” in Honor of U.S. Journalist Varian Fry

Lea Rosh giving opening remarks

Lea Rosh giving opening remarks

On January 29, in cooperation with Lea Rosh from the Society for the Promotion of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Deputy Chief of Mission, James D. Melville, Jr. inaugurated an event series titled “Worldwide Exile.” In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Concentration and Labor Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Eberhardt Schmidt, board member of the Society, gave a talk with the writer Manfred Flügge on the role of the U.S. journalist Varian Fry. Thanks to Varian Fry, who operated a rescue network in France, up to 4,000 Jews and several dissidents were able to escape the Holocaust in the Third Reich. Among the rescued were numerous artists, intellectuals and writers such as Heinrich Mann and Golo Mann, who found refuge in the United States. Additionally, the actor Gerd Wameling read from a selection of Varian Fry’s letters. In his address, Mr. Melville noted this year’s sad record of the 51 million people currently displaced worldwide--the highest number since World War ll. “Remembrance bestows a mission on us,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Melville, echoing Federal President Gauck’s speech on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. In this year’s series, events examined the role of the U.S. as an exile destination for Jews and others who fled persecution. A schedule is available on the Society’s website.

January 22: Ambassador Emerson visits Green Week

Ambassador Emerson and German Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt in conversation

Ambassador Emerson and German Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt in conversation

Ambassador Emerson visited the International Green Week in Berlin. Whilst there he paid a visit to the German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt to discuss T-TIP, Joachim Rukwied President of the German Farmers Union, and other important German agricultural representatives.  To finish off his visit the Ambassador visited the U.S. craft beer importer Derer Import GmbH.

U.S. Embassy Berlin Supports 7th Unknown Pleasures – American Independent Film Festival, January 1 to 16, 2015

For 16 days, the 7th American Independent Film Festival will again present Unknown Pleasures at the Babylon cinema at Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse 30 in Berlin-Mitte.  The festival aspires to screen largely underrepresented U.S. movies, which, however, account for an equally important American cinematography.  This is not only because these independent productions often lack budgets exceeding millions of U.S. dollars—and therefore have difficulties competing with regular American films that are being released on a weekly basis—but also because they often challenge established aesthetic and narrative cinematographic conventions.  

For the program from January 1 to January 16, 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin supports U.S. filmmaker and Harvard University Professor Alfred Guzzetti as well as Chicago singer and songwriter Willis Earl Beal, who also stars in the film Memphis, which will be screened on Wednesday, January 14, at 19:30 hrs, followed by a question-and-answer period, and again on Friday, January 16, at 19:30 hrs.  After the screening on Friday, Willis Earl Beal will also perform at the adjacent Roter Salon at the Volksbühne, Rosa Luxemburg Platz, starting at 22:00 hrs.

The special program in honor of Alfred Guzzetti will include the following screenings, mainly focusing on his autobiographical cycle, each to be followed by a question-and-answer period (except for the repeated program).

Family Portrait Sittings, which premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1975, and the 2012-released Time Exposure on January 9, at 19:30 hrs.

Scenes from Childhood (1980) on Saturday, January 10, at 19:30 hrs.

Another set of short films will be screened on Sunday, January 11, at 18:00 hrs

Night Vision and Pictures from a Revolution (1991) on Monday, January 12, at 20:00 hrs.


Family Portrait Sittings and Time Exposure: January 14, at 20:45 hrs,

Night Vision and Pictures from a Revolution: January 15, at 20:45 hrs.

More information on the schedule available at: Schedule 

January 16: Members of the Congress-Bundestag Forum visit the Embassy

Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson with members of the Congress-Bundestag Forum

Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson with members of the Congress-Bundestag Forum

Ambassador Emerson met today with members of two Bundestag delegations that were sent to DC and California in fall 2014 as part of the Congress-Bundestag Forum.  The Congress Bundestag Forum is a joint project of the German Marshall Fund and the Robert Bosch Foundation that brings together young newly elected members of the German Bundestag with their counterparts in the United States Congress.  Participants in the forum, which is held every year and alternates between Germany and the USA, study current affairs and talk with decision makers and experts from universities and think tanks. Ambassador Emerson asked the participants in the recent visits about their impressions of both DC and his home state California and talked with them about the main topics covered during their visits.  

January 15: Intercultural reception to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. day held at the Ambassador's residence

Mrs. Emerson speaking to the guest at the intercultural reception

Mrs. Emerson speaking to the guest at the intercultural reception

Ambassador Emerson hosted an intercultural reception to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. day (January 19) and the issues of tolerance, diversity, equal rights, and freedom for 170 distinguished guests from the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities, as well as German, Turkish and Arabic business, political and community leaders actively involved in integration.  The date of the reception was especially relevant given the tragic events in Paris and Belgium. The audience included Ambassadors, Archbishop Dr. Nikola Eterovic, Apostolic Nuncio and Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps;  heads of Islamic religious groups and interfaith leaders from all over Germany, and five Members of Parliament.   Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie Bernstein was a special guest of the Ambassador.  (Leonard Bernstein was involved with human rights activism and is well known for changing the word "Joy" to "Freedom" in his concerts celebrating the Fall of the Berlin Wall.)  Also the short film “West Side Berlin,” the product of an anti-violence project with minority youth groups based on themes from Bernstein’s “West Side Story"  was screened.

A pianist performed songs of Leonard Bernstein and from the Civil Rights movement.

January 14: Civil Rights Activism of MLK, Jr. and Leonard Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein speaking at the World Café event

Jamie Bernstein speaking at the World Café event

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the U.S. Embassy hosted a World Café event for 30 students from various schools in Berlin and Brandenburg to explore “Civil Rights Activism of MLK, Jr. and Leonard Bernstein.” The students discussed the topic with Jamie Bernstein accomplished narrator, writer and broadcaster and daughter of Leonard Bernstein; Kimberly Marteau Emerson, member of the International Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, and Craig Urquhart, accomplished musician, former assistant to Leonard Bernstein and Senior Consultant Press and Promotion The Leonard Bernstein Office.

Ambassador Keith Harper, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council visits Berlin

Ambassador Keith Harper, Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, visited Berlin and met with German counterparts to discuss issues of common interest. 

Ambassador Emerson hosted a lunch in honor of Ambassador Harper with members of the Bundestag, members of the German government and leaders‎ of human rights NGOS. The lively discussions on the full range of human rights focused on US and German priorities for the Human Rights Council.

Later in the afternoon Ambassador Harper visited the Humboldt University for an in-depth discussion on human rights issues with students of the law faculty.


In this video interview,  Ambassador Harper addresses human rights successes, the need for human rights advocacy after the tragedy in Paris, the balance between privacy and security concerns, the question why the U.S. still has a death penalty and explains why the U.S. judges other countries on their human rights record.