The Westfälischen Nachrichten also gave a favourable report on our celebration.
After the Lord Mayor’s official welcome of our members and special guests, Consul Vangala Ram spoke movingly of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The keynote address was given by Professor Dr. Wichard Woyke, who presented us with a heartening picture of German-American relations. Consul Vangala Ram, pleasantly surprised by his warm reception, commented that: “Münster is anything but reserved.”
The founding of the society took place after the so-called NATO-Doppelbeschluss. This refers to NATO’s dual course of action of deploying new arms, while, at the same time, starting negotiations with the USSR. The negotiations that followed ultimately resulted in the fall of the iron curtain and the reunification of Germany. However, the NATO-Doppelbeschluss also lead to widespread anti-Americanism in Germany, including blockades and even violent attacks on American institutions. Following a panel discussion at the Fachhochschule in Münster some German and Americans got together to give a signal. The signal was the creation of the German-American Society for the promotion of understanding and cooperation between both countries, as it is written in the Society’s statutes.
A main focus today is the exchange of students and trainees in an effort to reduce prejudices and build friendships. Our chairman Professor Martin Korda remarked on this policy: “When I welcome the young people back home again after a year [in the States] and see the experiences they’ve gained and the knowledge they are bringing back with them, then I am sure we are on the right track.”