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The participants of the 2nd LESC in Freiburg (Credits: Alexandra Sachariew, University College Freiburg)

Hello all you BCBers,

In case someone has been wondering about my absence from BCB in the past semester, let me reassure you of my return in Fall 2017: I am currently not in Berlin but studying abroad at AUC in Amsterdam. The first question one might ask is probably: Why would I study abroad in Amsterdam? Isn’t it just like Berlin, only smaller and with canals and actual bike lanes? I asked myself the same things. But if that’s all you know about Amsterdam, you should just come here and fall in love with this beautiful city yourself. Very few people are able to escape its magic spell.

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Calvin echoes my sentiments on school. (Credit: Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes comics)

“So what’s the plan after this?”

Whoever you are and wherever you are: If you’re a breathing, barely surviving student, you’ve been asked this question before. I don’t know about you, but every time I start to think about what I want to do post graduation, my heart begins to palpitate at an unusually fast pace, and somehow I end up under my covers, scrolling through Instagram — even though I swear I don’t remember any of that

It’s tough. Life as a student is confusing and disorienting: You spend half your time wondering what the heck you did with that pencil you had in your hand a minute ago, and the other half worrying about who is going to hire you and pay you real money for your services.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to study such a variety of courses, but I often wonder what’s next. Will I be a writer? Maybe I’ll be a teacher. Prime Minister of Djibouti? Art Historian?

I DON’T KNOW! I find myself under my covers and scrolling through Instagram again.

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Alumnus Florian Hoffmann giving a talk at Bard College Berlin (photo by the author)

Alumnus Florian Hoffmann giving a talk at Bard College Berlin (photo by the author)

On December 4, in the frame of the core course “Bildung: Education and Formation” led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Hurst, Bard College Berlin welcomed alumnus Florian Hoffmann, the Founder and President of the DO School, for a talk on “21st Century Skills and the Future of Higher Education.” Florian is one of the old “veterans”– an Academy Year (and later Project Year) student in one of the first generations of graduates. He is one of the people who witnessed how the college was taking shape, and still remembers the days when students, with great enthusiasm and joy, helped set up the classrooms by moving furniture, patiently eating tons of pizza before the Cafeteria was established – whilst enjoying a number of enlightening and educational early guest lectures that took place on campus. Florian says he would describe our college as “a small liberal arts education institution in the beautiful city of Berlin, offering courses in humanities.” As a social entrepreneur and innovator in the field of higher education, he is greatly engaged in helping liberal arts students actualize their greatest potential that the liberal arts education helps increase.

On our campus, Florian Hoffmann talked about the dynamics of the modern Western university system and how the DO School – a globally engaged social enterprise that educates, trains and mentors talented post-graduate individuals to transform their ideas into action – fits within the transitional period between college and professional occupation/post-graduate studies. He is a man of action, with a strong emphasis on doing, regularly engaging himself by contributing to the public debate on higher education and innovation. He has taught the DO School method at a variety of universities including Columbia University, Oxford University, and the Hasso Plattner Institute at Potsdam University.

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Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudry’s Wisdom Salad is available locally in Pakistan as well as the Bard College Berlin library.

Chaudhry’s Wisdom Salad

Osman Chaudhry, age 18, is Bard College Berlin’s youngest published author. His first book “Wisdom Salad” (named after his band) is currently available in Pakistan, as well as in the Bard College Berlin library.

In the form of poems and brief commentaries, this book is a thematic mixture of religion, death, love, hate… you name it!

“I was young and idealistic,” Osman says, “so I decided to solve the problems of the world,” he smiles to himself. I smile too, why stop being young and idealistic?

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Prof. Dr. Ewa Atanassow

Prof. Dr. Ewa Atanassow

The blog team continues the series of discussions with members of the Bard College Berlin faculty. Our guest today is Prof. Dr. Ewa Atanassow, who will be teaching a course on “Equality“ in the Spring Semester 2014.

Prof. Dr. Ewa Atanassow has received a PhD from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, an MA in psychology from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests focus on questions of nationhood and democratic citizenship, and more broadly on the intersection of ethics and psychology in the liberal tradition of political thought, with emphasis on Tocqueville. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Journal of Democracy, Kronos, Nations and Nationalism, Perspectives on Political Science, Przeglad Polityczny. She is the co-editor of Tocqueville and the Frontiers of Democracy, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

Previous faculty podcasts: Michael Weinman

Lucas Anthony Cone Møller

Lucas Anthony Cone Møller

The community of Bard College Berlin is very diverse. Students come from six continents and their life paths have taken the most peculiar trajectories. Whereas some had never even left their home country prior to coming to Berlin, others have lived in different places and traveled all over the world. In the belief that everyone here has an interesting story to share, the blog team decided to interview the students and find out more about their background, their interests and their decision to come to Berlin. In this first interview, you can “meet” Lucas Anthony Cone Møller, a first year BA student from Denmark who plays an incredible number of music instruments and is interested in politics and education.

Lucas, have you always lived in Denmark?

Yes.

So you don’t really have a multicultural background?

Well, my mom is from the States. She was born in Brooklyn, so I spent a lot of time in New York, passing back and forth between cultures.

Are you bilingual?

Yes. I guess I grew up with both cultures under my skin. I learnt children songs in both English and Danish – it is a useful insight into how to live your life within different cultural backgrounds.

Would you still consider Bard College Berlin your first multicultural environment?

Definitely. Denmark is very… monocultural. Everyone is kind of the same; we all kind of think the same – even though we like to say we think really differently.

What do you mean by “monocultural”?

We think alike, in the sense that we all agree on fundamental values regarding our welfare system, a green profile etc. So it is interesting to be in a place like Bard College Berlin where people come from different cultures and, of course, have different views on basic things that I would take for granted. From a Danish perspective, with our cultural history and the way we look at things, the international environment here differs from what I’m used to. In that sense it is my first experience.

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Hannes Kloepper

“Students should be made aware of the fact that there is no such thing as knowledge as such – knowledge that just exists out there and is discovered by people as the objective truth.“

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Hannes Klöpper (Germany) is a 2006/2007 Academy Year alumnus of ECLA of Bard. He holds a Dual-Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and a B.A. in International Relations from the Technische Universität (TU) Dresden. Hannes is the co-founder and the current Managing Director and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of the online open-course platform start-up iversity, situated in the northern borough of Berlin called Bernau. Last year Hannes wrote a book in collaboration with Yehuda Elkana on the future of the university in the digital age. In addition to that, he worked on the “New Digital Society” project in 2010/2011 as an associate of the “Stiftung Neue Verantwortung,” and was also one of the initiators of the blog for “Causa Guttenberg.” Today we talked about his experience at ECLA of Bard, his life after the Academy Year, as well as the future of education in the context of his work on iversity. 

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Talk With Thomas Hasel

On May 15th, ECLA of Bard had the pleasure and privilege to host a talk on post-revolutionary Egypt with Thomas Hasel, co-producer of the Deutsche Welle documentary After the Storm: A New Beginning for Egypt’s Economy, which deals with Egypt’s economy after Mubarak’s fall. The event was organized by ECLA of Bard’s Politics and Ethics concentration seminar Democracy: Ancient and Modern, taught by Professor Ewa Atanassow. The discussion was moderated by our BA2 student from Egypt Aya Ibrahim, who actively contributed to its course with her firsthand knowledge.

The screening of the documentary preceded an insightful talk with Thomas Hasel. Mr. Hasel is a German journalist and political scientist. Since 1994 he has specialized in political and economic systems in the Arab world and published a number of press articles on the Arab states in North Africa. His evident expertise and interest in the Egyptian situation made the discussion very lively and fruitful from the very beginning. Mr. Hasel was patient enough to answer our every question, and his answers were informative at all times.

The documentary After the Storm: A New Beginning for Egypt’s Economy deals with the development of Egypt’s economy after Mubarak’s fall, arguing that the revolution in early 2011 was a protest not only against an authoritarian ruler, but also against the country’s economic misery, corruption and unemployment rate. The film gave the audience enough background information on the current situation and helped us to better understand its practical underpinnings, which later inspired some very thought-provoking questions addressed to Mr. Hasel.

One of the main points highlighted by the documentary and raised by the students is the division between lower and upper social classes in contemporary Egypt.

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