Tag Archives: Interviews

Berlin’s New UNESCO Sites: ‘Bauhaus Is Better Known Abroad than Goethe or Schiller’

Last week UNESCO awarded six housing estates in Berlin the World Heritage seal of approval. Bauhaus Archiv Director Annemarie Jaeggi tells SPIEGEL ONLINE why these examples of modernist architecture are so important.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Dr. Jaeggi, last week, six Berlin social housing projects were included on UNESCO’s world heritage list — all of them examples of the kind of modernist architecture not often chosen by UNESCO. Did you expect the honor?

Annemarie Jaeggi: I was delighted. The bid entailed a huge amount of work. Some people have been working on this for 10 years and I had huge concerns because of Dresden. (The city’s plans to build a bridge may jeopardize the Elbe Valley’s UNESCO Status — Ed.) There was a fear that UNESCO would say that Germany was not working hard enough and wouldn’t deal with any of the bids from Germany. Continue reading

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Interview with Balkans Expert Cornelius Adebahr: ‘Serbian Isolation Won’t Bring Back Kosovo’

Serbia’s coalition government has collapsed over differences on whether to link EU membership and Kosovo’s declaration of independence. SPIEGEL ONLINE speaks to Balkans expert Cornelius Adebahr about forthcoming elections and Brussels’ hopes for a more conciliatory government in Belgrade.

The Serbian coalition government collapsed this week over differences on whether to link prospective European Union membership and the declaration of independence by Kosovo.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica pulled the plug on a shaky coalition of pro-Western and nationalist parties after the Democratic Party, led by President Boris Tadic, refused to back a resolution that would have blocked Serbia’s membership in the EU as long as many of its member states backed Kosovo. The EU is planning a mission to the breakaway state to monitor its transition to independence. On Tuesday, Serbia and Russia demanded that the United Nations administration halt the transfer of authority to the EU mission, calling it illegal. Continue reading

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Interview with Balkans Expert Dusan Reljic: ‘Kosovo Is not Independent, It Is an EU Protectorate’

Kosovo’s declaration of independence has been recognized by many Western countries, but Serbia claims the move is illegal. Kosovo expert Dusan Reljic tells SPIEGEL ONLINE about his concerns that the move will undermine international law, pave the way for future disputes and prevent longterm peace in the region.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday has been recognized by many Western countries, including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. However, Serbia and its ally Russia insist that the move is illegal and threaten to do everything they can to make life difficult for the new state.

Kosovo expert Dusan Reljic, who spent many years working as a journalist in Belgrade and now works at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), tells SPIEGEL ONLINE about his concerns that the move will undermine the United Nations and international law and pave the way for more separatist groups.

Originally published on SPIEGEL ONLINE International:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,536354,00.html Continue reading

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Congo’s Female Boxers Float Like Butterflies, Sting Like Bees

Muhammad Ali and George Foreman once fought there, but now, the stadium in Kinshasa plays host to female boxers-in-training. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to French film maker Renaud Barret about his new film documenting the lives of the boxing Congolese women.

Good memories are in short supply in Kinshasa. But if there is one thing people there remember with fondness, it is the “Rumble in the Jungle,” the legendary 1974 battle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

But the “Rumble” isn’t just history. It turns out that the stadium where the two fought still plays host to a boxing gym. Not only that, but a number of Congolese women also train there, punching away among their male colleagues. Continue reading

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Interview with ‘Lemon Tree’ Director Eran Riklis: ‘There Are So Many Mental Borders in the Middle East’

The Berlinale’s “Panorama” section opened this year with “Lemon Tree,” the story of a Palestinian widow’s fight against the Israeli defense minister to save her lemon orchard. SPIEGEL ONLINE speaks to director Eran Riklis about his attempt to show the human side of a political story.

The “Panorama” section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival opened with the world premiere of “Lemon Tree,” the story of a Palestinian widow’s fight to save her family’s lemon orchard.

After the new Israeli defense minister moves in next door, he decides her trees pose a security threat and she is ordered to uproot them. She enlists the help of a young lawyer and a tentative romance begins, as the two take their David and Goliath fight to the Israeli Supreme Court.

“Lemon Tree” is directed by one of Israel’s leading filmmakers, Eran Riklis, whose films include 2004’s well-received “The Syrian Bride.” Award-winning Israeli Arab actor Hiam Abbass, who plays the Palestinian widow, was a Berlinale jury member last year. Continue reading

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Bend It in Baden-Württemberg: Afghan Women Footballers Hone Their Skills in Stuttgart

For two weeks in January, the Afghan women’s national football team got to train in Stuttgart, Germany. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to their trainer Klaus Stärk about the team’s improvement, the difficulties they face back home and how women’s soccer is developing in Afghanistan.


For two weeks this January, 18 Afghan women escaped the worries of daily life at home and concentrated on what they love best: playing football.

The visit to Stuttgart by the national football players, aged between 16 and 23, was part of an ongoing project financed by the German government to develop football in Afghanistan. Since 2004, the project, organized by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), has also included the women’s game. Continue reading

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Racism in France: Sarkozy’s Justice Minister Subject of ‘Unjust Campaign’

Rachida Dati, France’s new justice minister, has had a rough few weeks. She has lost key advisors, she’s been attacked in the press and her family has been put in the negative spotlight over drug charges against her brother. Anti-racism activists say Dati has been the victim of a smear campaign.

During his swearing in ceremony, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that as president, he would break with the country’s outdated traditions. One of his first moves was to appoint three women from minority backgrounds to his cabinet.

For at least one member of his cabinet, however, the celebrations ended just about as quickly as the champagne had been poured. Justice Minister Rachida Dati, the daughter of a Moroccan bricklayer and an illiterate Algerian housewife, has been put to the test early. Journalists have questioned her educational qualifications, she has been criticized over a controversial bill that would apply tougher sentences to repeat offenders and the press has had a field day covering the trials and tribulations of her brother Jamal, who is going to court again on drug dealing charges. Continue reading

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Interview with Rita Süssmuth: ‘We Cannot Continue Wasting Immigrants’ Potential’

Former German cabinet member and parliamentary president Rita Süssmuth has long been a heavy hitter in the field of immigration and education. She spoke to SPIEGEL ONLINE about Turkish entrepreneurs, improving opportunities for immigrants in Germany, and the need to teach Turkish mothers German.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Professor Süssmuth, you have recently been appointed president of a new private university — the OTA Hochschule — in Berlin. The school focuses on improving higher education opportunities among Germany’s Turkish population. Why this focus?

Rita Süssmuth: In Germany, lots of people complain about the problems migration brings. But we hardly ever speak about migrants as entrepreneurs. We have more than 60,000 Turkish entrepreneurs in this country but only have 26,000 Turkish students at university. We need to bring together business and academia.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And you think a new university is the way to do that?

Süssmuth: We are showing people what Turkish students are capable of and how they can contribute to German society. Integration is not only possible but an advantage to Germany. There are highly skilled people living in our country, and we cannot continue wasting their potential. We can contribute to fighting prejudice. Continue reading

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