BERLIN — The end of day one of the end comes with two visits, five speakers and four relatively short bus rides. This follows an eight-hour train ride Sunday from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the center of Germany’s capital. This is a busy week we’ve embarked upon, which will include discussions with heads of thinktanks, German government officials as well as members of NATO. So, the day ends with stories of a great start.
Our first bus ride took us to Bayerische Vertretung, where we met with representatives from the Bavarian government. They talked mostly about how Bavarian plays in German and world affairs, as well as how Bavaria influences government proceedings. It included the low down on the inner dealings of German government, how state votes are decided and more. Our next two speakers were from a German thinktank, the Center for International Peace Operations. Jens R. Behrendt and Dr. Almust Wieland-Karimi spoke for the better part of two hours.
The students, however, asked some challenging questions of each speaker, including questions about Afghanistan, German government, the United States and more. Dr. Wieland-Karimi stayed a bit longer fielded three extra questions from the EPASS students and many were buzzing after the session broke up and we headed for lunch.
During the afternoon session, students visited the German Ministry of the Interior and heard from two speakers there. That’s the fantastic part of the Program in Advanced Security Study immersions; the ability to connect with government leaders and ask the tough questions in a nonattribution environment.
This is my first trip to Berlin. Tomorrow is our city tour. I’m excited to see the Brandenburg Gate as well as other landmarks I heard about as a child and teenager growing up in the United States.
Finally, a plug for our Facebook fan page and Twitter account. I’ll be posting photos and video there all week. The address? For the fan page, it is http://www.facebook.com/GCMCOnline. Our Twitter account is @GCMCOnline.