Summer and Fall

RIAS Germany Program – Summer
June 15–29, 2008

13 U.S. journalists took part in the Germany summer program 2008 with stops in Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Leipzig and, again, Berlin.



The main focus was on current political topics like immigration, fight against terrorism, transatlantic relations as well as presently discussed media issues, for instance to what extent the public stations in Germany are allowed to compete with private stations and newspaper publishers on the internet.

After the first 3 days in Berlin with many appointments on these topics, the group flew to Brussels for talks at the EU Commission and at NATO. From Brussels they travelled by train to Frankfurt for appointments at the European Central Bank and to Leipzig for talks with the city administration (Mayor Andreas Müller), a visit of the private radio station PSR and a historic walk through the city, following the route of the famous Monday-demonstrations, which marked the beginning of the end of the East German communist regime with the fall of the wall on November 9, 1989 and German unification on October 3, 1990.

Back in Berlin, the 13 U.S. journalists commemorated the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin airlift on June 26, 2008 with a visit to Tempelhof airport, where the majority of the planes landed during the 1948/49 airlift. The group also visited the new U.S. Embassy on Pariser Platz 2 and was hosted by Deputy chief of Mission John M. Koenig and Minister Counselor for Public Affairs and RIAS chairwoman Dr. Helena Kane Finn. A day at the German parliament in the Reichstags-building with talks to representatives of all political parties concluded the program.


Missy Belote, KSMU-FM, Springfield, MO

Before my first trip to Germany in 2003, a friend of mine who was a RIAS Fellow told me I would have the time of my life. He was right. That’s why I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to participate as a fellow again this year. Whether it was listening to someone talk about transportation issues or immigration/assimilation concerns, I learned a great deal about the challenges facing Germany. Perhaps more importantly, I began to see ways that Germany’s problems are similar to problems in the U.S. I think there are opportunities for us to learn from each other.

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RIAS Germany Program – Fall
September 13–28, 2008

11 U.S. journalists took part in the Germany fall program 2008 with stops in Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Brussels.



Against the background of the worsening global financial crisis, a number of economic issues were included in the program such as talks with Dr. Hartmut Mangold, State Secretary at the Saxonian Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labor; Marek Mora, Dep. Minister of State for European Affairs at the Czech Republic; Dr. Wolfgang Lutterbach, Head of international policy of the German Federation of Trade Unions and Martin Nies, spokesman of the VW manufactory in Dresden.

Visits to broadcast stations like RBB and rs2 as well as talks with German politicians and journalists and a meeting with German students of the Berlin high school “Graues Kloster” completed the German part of the program.

In Prague the U.S.-journalists had a chance to learn more about the programs of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and to talk to several department heads, especially to members of the Afghanistan bureau of RFE On the last two days the U.S.-journalists visited Brussels for talks with NATO- and EU-representatives.

This program marked a milestone in the journalism exchange activities of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION which started 15 years ago. The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION welcomed as its 1000th participant U.S.-journalist Kate Ryan from WTOP Radio in Washington, DC.


Alison Bryce, National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.

I walked along side my eleven RIAS Fellows down a long hallway, passing doorways with different countries’ names over them — Turkmenistan, Moldova, Iran, Georgia, Uzbekistan. We stopped in front of the door with the name Afghanistan over it and filed inside.

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