Deutsche Welle Director Erik Bettermann Receives Honorary Degree from Wartburg College
In a world increasingly focused on what differentiates us from our fellow inhabitants of this planet, might not the key to a civil world society lie in stressing what we have in common?
Enlarge image Erik Bettermann on January 31, 2012 in Berlin. (© picture-alliance/dpa)
That's the view of Deutsche Welle (Germany's international broadcaster) director Erik Bettermann, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Wartburg College.
Although located in Waverly, Iowa, Wartburg College has strong ties with Germany, having been founded in 1852 by Bavarians as a teacher training school for German immigrants. Named for Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany — the castle in which Martin Luther sought refuge during the turbulent days of the Reformation — Wartburg College has maintained a close relationship with Germany for over 150 years.
Bettermann strongly believes in fostering that relationship and expanding it in ways benefitting individuals on both sides of the Atlantic. Through his efforts, those of Wartburg College's leaders, and contributions from generous benefactors such as Dr. Gerald Kleinfeld (who donated $ 1 million to create a Distinguished Professorship in German History), the bonds between Germans and Americans continue to be strengthened in countless ways. The following developments reflect Wartburg's emphasis on maintaining its important German connections:
- A German embassy grant enabled Wartburg and 25 other American colleges to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Another grant funded a German festival at Wartburg in Fall 2011.
- The Deutsche Welle Akademie, a two-year international media studies master's program, attracts non-German students from all over the world.
- Wartburg's renowned jazz choir recently gave a concert sponsored by Deutsche Welle at Bonn's Beethoven Hall.
- Wartburg College vice president Edith Waldstein recently attended two German college fairs in Kiel and Hamburg.
- Wartburg College president Darrel Colson will speak to 1600 of the world’s leading journalists at Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum in June. Colson will also meet with the president of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.
- Scott Leisinger, Wartburg College's vice president for institutional advancement, attended Dr. Joachim Reppmann's "Legacy of 1848 Conference" in Denison, Iowa, which highlighted the contributions of that most important German immigrant group, the "Forty-Eighters." Deutsche Welle will support an upcoming conference.
- Deutsche Welle has started an internship program at its Washington, D.C., studio for students wanting an international background without leaving the United States.
"We are all connected," says Betterman. Emphasizing and appreciating what we have in common and working to strengthen those ties just might be the key to achieving his dream of a "civilized world society."