Post-World War II tensions instigated the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted for much of the second half of the 20th century. These tensions resulted in mutual suspicions, heightened tensions and a series of international incidents that brought the world’s superpowers, and the world, to the brink of disaster.
In August of 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) started constructing a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall,” between East and West Berlin. The purpose of the Wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the East Berlin could cross the border freely. Still today, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
Join this panel of experts, several of whom grew up in eastern Europe during this time, as they discuss the impact and social issues relating to the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Reading of a new play by John Feffer
Part of the European Month of Culture
Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Before/After is a multimedia portrait of the transformation of East-Central Europe told by the people who made it happen. Through words, pictures, video, and music, it tells the story of the people who chipped away at the Iron Curtain, tore down the Berlin Wall in 1989, and tried to realize their hopes and dreams in the decades that followed. Drawn from interviews with people from the region, the reading will be performed by 12 actors. It is directed by Natalia Gleason.
Performers: Ashley Amidon, Michael Crowley, Judit Csonka, Karen Elle, John Feffer, Stuart Fischer, Mario Font, Tony Hacsi, Don Hensley, Joseph Mariano, Matt Neufeld, Karin Rosnizeck, Scott Sedar, Carol Spring
Feature in video: Gordon Adams, Zach Brewster-Geisz, Sean Coe, Sandy Irving, Doug Krehbel, Emily Morrison, Gabriela Pohl, Michael Sigler, Vanessa Terzaghi
Professor Christov received his PhD in Political Theory from UCLA in 2008. He holds an MTS from Harvard and a BA from Thomas Aquinas College. From 2008-11 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of political theory at Northwestern University. In 2011 he joined the faculty at George Washington University, where he teaches in the University's Honors Program and the Department of History. He is also Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School and serves on the faculty advisory committee of the Peace Studies Program.
His research interests lie in the fields of intellectual history, particularly 17th and 18th centuries, and modern political and international thought; the history of international law; and classical theories of international relations. He is the author of Before Anarchy: Hobbes and His Critics in Modern International Thought(forthcoming Cambridge University Press 2015), which examines European debates over the external relations of states in the works of Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Vattel, and how these early modern debates have been de-historicized in contemporary international relations.
He teaches Honors proseminars on the origins and evolution of modern political and social thought from antiquity to modernity, and History seminars on intellectual history from the 16th century to the present and on the Enlightenment and its critics.
John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. In 2012-13, he was also an Open Society Fellow looking at the transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe since 1989.
He is the author of several books and numerous articles. He has also produced six plays, including three one-man shows, and published a novel. He is a senior associate at the Asia Institute in Seoul and has been both a Writing Fellow at Provisions Library in Washington, DC and a PanTech fellow in Korean Studies at Stanford University. He is a former associate editor of World Policy Journal. He has worked as an international affairs representative in Eastern Europe and East Asia for the American Friends Service Committee. He has also worked for the AFSC on such issues as the global economy, gun control, women and workplace, and domestic politics. He has served as a consultant for Foreign Policy in Focus, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, among other organizations.
He has studied in England and Russia, lived in Poland and Japan, and traveled widely throughout Europe and Asia.
He has taught a graduate level course on international conflict at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul in July 2001 and delivered lectures at a variety of academic institutions including New York University, Hofstra, Union College, Cornell University, and Sofia University (Tokyo). He’s been widely interviewed in print and on radio.
He is a recipient of the Herbert W. Scoville fellowship and has been a writer in residence at Blue Mountain Center and the Wurlitzer Foundation.
John Feffer is available to give lectures and class presentations on topics including U.S. foreign policy, the Korean peninsula, and the politics of food.
Natalia Gleason is a Hungarian-born director who moved to Washington, DC a year ago after living in London for eight years. She is fascinated by the postmodern female muse and all her manifestations in contemporary plays. She has been also involved in a diverse spectrum of theatrical projects. She ran drama summer-camps for teenagers in Budapest, was a young writer at London's Soho Theatre, facilitated drama therapy sessions in a psychiatric ward, and composed an improvisation performance fusing ballet and comedy in Baltimore. Most recently she directed Moises Kaufman's 33 Variations at Silver Spring Stage. She assistant-directed at Wooly Mammoth theatre company for John Vreeke's production of Cherokee and currently for Howard Shalwitz's production of the world premiere of Zombie: The American.
Hope Harrison received her bachelor's degree in Social Studies from Harvard University and obtained her master's and doctorate degrees in Political Science from Columbia University, including a Certificate from the Harriman Institute. She taught at Brandeis University and Lafayette College where she was an assistant professor. Dr. Harrison has held research fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin, the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, the Davis Center and the Belfer Center at Harvard University, the Institute of Europe in Moscow, the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, and the Free University of Berlin. In 2009-2010, she had a Fulbright Fellowship in Berlin at the German Federal Foundation for Reappraising the East German Communist Past, and in 2013-2014, she held a Wilson Center Fellowship with the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. As an expert on the Cold War, Germany, and Russia, Dr. Harrison has been a featured expert on CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, the History Channel, Deutschlandradio, Deutschlandfunk, Spiegel-TV, Voice of America (in Russia), NTV (Russia), and elsewhere. She has been invited to give lectures in the U.S., Canada, Russia, China, and throughout Europe. She has directed the Elliott School’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (2005-2009) and the Program on Conducting Archival Research (2001-2011). She has also served as the chair of the advisory council of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center (2008-2012).
Dr. Harrison is a Senior Fellow with the History and Public Policy Program as well as the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, the American Institute for Contemporary Germany Studies, and the Atlantik Brücke. In Berlin, she is a member of the Berlin Wall Memorial Association, the international advisory board of the Allied Museum, and the governing board of the Cold War Center Museum in Berlin.
Professor Harrison received a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in 1999 to work in the US government. She spent her fellowship year serving in the White House at the National Security Council in the Clinton and Bush Administrations from 2000-2001. She was Director for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for U.S. policy toward Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. Among the issues she focused on were the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia, and Georgian ties with the U.S. and Russia.
Maciej Pisarski is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC, a post he has held since August 2010. Previously, he worked as the acting director of the Department of Strategy and Policy Planning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw, Poland. Mr. Pisarski has spent a considerable portion of his professional career working on Polish-American relations, including his work as deputy director at the Department of the Americas, political officer at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC, and U.S. desk officer at the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw. Before entering foreign service, he worked at the Polish Agency for Foreign Investment as a research officer. Mr. Pisarski is a graduate of Warsaw University's History Department with a specialization in 20th century Polish-Jewish relations, and of the National Academy for Public Administration in Warsaw. He is a published author in Poland on U.S.-Polish relations, and on Polish-Jewish topics. Mr. Pisarski is married and has two teenage boys.
Dr. Robert Řehák is Cultural Attaché at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC and a published scholar of biblical proper names and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is proficient in five languages (Czech, English, Hebrew, German and Russian). He studied at Charles University in Prague, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He holds M.A. and Doctorate degrees from Charles University and has lectured at New York University in Prague. He was President of the Society of Christians and Jews in the Czech Republic from 2000-2005 and thereafter served as Cultural and Press Attaché at the Czech Embassy in Israel. In recent years, he lectured about the history and legends of Czechs and Jews in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, Michigan, and other cities in Europe and the Middle East. Before coming to Washington two years ago, he served at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague and was responsible for promoting the interests of Czechs living abroad. He is married and has four children.
Ambassador András Simonyi (60) is the Managing Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Washington D.C. He is an economist by training, has a long career in the diplomatic service where he has gained experience in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. He has built an extensive network in the Euroatlantic community. His ambassadorial assignments include NATO and Washington. He has spent time in the private sector.
The Independent Biennial, established in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2007, is a Creative platform that supports direct authorship, horizontal selection and the non-censorship of creative work. In May 2015, as a part of the fifth Biennale of Independent Illustration , a selection of authors will present their artworks throughout the Washington D.C. area including the NYU's lobby.
The Biennale of Independent Illustration is a tribute to the all authors that, despite difficult conditions in cultural and visual practices, are always driven forward by the passion, innovation and independent creative freedom that is the foundation to creativity and life. For more information, click here.