Clyde Tuggle, Coca-Cola’s senior vice president and chief public affairs officer, knows what he talks about when he describes foreign languages as crucial skills in today’s global environment: He states that his undergraduate degrees in German and economics (as well as a master’s in divinity) made him better prepared for his career at a globally operating corporation than many business majors. ASC German students have their various German professors emphasize the importance of foreign language learning quite often, but in Clyde Tuggle you encounter someone who knows what the competition out there looks like when it comes to hiring, and read what he says about foreign language learning:
To serve an organization like Coca-Cola, “you need to speak a minimum of two foreign languages,” he said, “and have international experience. You need to see yourself as a citizen of the world — think like a Moroccan and see the world from that point of view — or you are behind the curve. You need the cultural skill to walk into any space and be comfortable, to blend into the environment.”
Yes, that’s a “minimum” of two foreign languages! You want to read more? Check out what Mr. Tuggle said to the students at Washington and Lee University.
On Reading Two Recent Memoirs by Afro-Germans
Two recent memoirs by German authors with an African connection emphasize that German history cannot be written without including the histories and perspectives of black Germans (as well as that of many other non-white people).
In Deutsch sein und Schwarz dazu [Being German and also Being Black], published in 2013 with Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, author Theodor Michael takes a long and probing look back at his experiences as a black German. Born in 1925 to a white German mother from the Eastern Prussian provinces and a black Cameroonian father, Michael’s childhood and youth coincided with the decline of the democratic German Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism.
In a low key style Michael recollects his participation in the infamous Völkerschauen [colonial peoples exhibits] organized by circusses and zoos. He describes his attempts to get by as hotel page and as extra in some of the Third Reich’s anti-British colonial films. And he details the toll that life under the Nuremberg race laws took on his body and mind. While his siblings managed to get out of Germany, Theodor Michael stayed behind, spending the last years of the regime as a forced laborer in a factory outside of Berlin, where he survived the war. After liberation, he managed to get into the Western zone, where he then tried to rebuild his life.
Millions of people know about Amon Goeth, the commander of the former National Socialist concentration camp in Plaszow-Krakov in Poland, from Ralph Fienne’s performance of this character in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List (1993). This also applies to Jennifer Teege, for whom Amon Goeth was a distant historical figure until that specific day a few years ago, when she discovered that Goeth was in fact her biological grandfather.
For Teege, the daughter of a Nigerian father and a white German mother (Monika Goeth), the discovery was a shock. As a Black German who had lived in Israel and worked with Holocaust survivors, she had been acutely aware of Germany’s history, but had also felt to stand on the “good” side of the German discourse about the Nazi past.
In her memoir Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen [Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Killed Me], Teege offers a moving account of how the discovery affected her personally as well as a unique perspective on Germany’s attempts at coming to terms with the past. Jennifer Teege will visit Agnes Scott College during the week of April 14 – 17, 2014. She will read from her memoir and discuss her experiences. For more information, see the poster below. Please contact Prof. Gundolf Graml, Dir. of German Studies, with any questions at ggraml[at]agnesscott.edu.
ASC students who took German 340 “Afro-German History and Culture” will remember our interview with Lisa Dixon, an Afro-German woman who told us about her experience as child of a white German mother and African-American GI.
Lisa Dixon is also featured in the documentary “Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story” by director Regina Griffin. This documentary focuses on the story of Mabel Grammar, an activist who after World War II began to arrange adoptions of so-called “mixed-race” babies from Germany to African-American families, and is scheduled for a screening at the AMC Parkway Pointe 15 on September 2, 7pm.
Here’s the trailer:
Agnes Scott College just released a new video showcasing the opportunities offered by its Liberal Arts Curriculum. Check it out, it also mentions where studying German can get you:
Since 1991, the German Parliament, called Bundestag, has been meeting again in the Reichstag. Built by the Kaiser, burnt down by the Nazis, and then lingering in the no-man’s-land along the Berlin Wall for decades, this building synthesizes more than others the many layers of German history. Continue reading