While the fall of the Berlin Wall is now celebrated as a symbol of the end of the Cold War, the immediate aftermath was a tumultuous period which could easily have resulted in chaos and conflict. The remarkable diplomatic efforts that reunified Germany offered a blueprint for nations to pursue a shared vision of a Europe whole and free and at peace with Russia as a partner, not an adversary. Together, the leaders of the United States, Germany, Russia and other European friends and allies were able to navigate safely the treacherous path to a post-Cold War world. Essential to that transition was the personal relationship of trust between President George H. W. Bush and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Together with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, they ushered in the dawn of a new age with the security and foreign policy challenges we are still grappling with today.

On January 28, USIP honored the 30th anniversary of German reunification with the establishment of “Reconciliation Hall” in the Institute’s George H. W. Bush Peace Education Center. This virtual event, featuring preeminent figures in the U.S.-German partnership, looked back at the lessons German reunification provides to peacebuilders around the world, and explored why continued cooperation between the two nations will be as essential to meeting the challenges of this century as they were in meeting the challenges of the 20th.

Continue the conversation with #ReunificationRevisited

Welcome and Introductions

  • Stephen J. Hadley
    Chair, Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Emily Haber
    German Ambassador to the United States
  • Lise Grande 
    President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Panel 1:  Lessons of Reunification for Peacebuilding

  • James A. Baker, III
    61st U.S. Secretary of State
  • Horst Köhler
    Former Federal President of Germany 
  • Jon Meacham, moderator
    Presidential Historian

Panel 2:  Reunification Revisited and What the Future Holds

  • Condoleezza Rice
    66th U.S. Secretary of State
  • Horst Teltschik
    Former National Security Adviser to Chancellor Helmut Kohl
  • David Ignatius, moderator
    Columnist, The Washington Post

Related Publications

10 Years On, Mandela’s Model Can Build Peace in a Despairing World

10 Years On, Mandela’s Model Can Build Peace in a Despairing World

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

By: Ambassador Johnnie Carson

Americans and people worldwide are alarmed, even despairing, at our world’s rise in violent conflict. Amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine and yet another brutal spasm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people are rightly asking what changes our governments and communities need to halt this spread of bloodshed, notes Ambassador Johnnie Carson, a dean of diplomacy and peacebuilding. Days from now, the world will mark 10 years since the death of Nelson Mandela, the liberation leader, South African president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Mandela’s example, Carson says, offers reminders of what we need today to turn back the tide of warfare.

Type: Analysis

Global PolicyReconciliation

The Latest @ USIP: Healing the Legacies of War in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

The Latest @ USIP: Healing the Legacies of War in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Monday, October 16, 2023

By: Sera Koulabdara;  Le Hoang Linh;  Bob March;  Leakhena Nou;  Erin Phuong Steinhauer

Over five decades later, the legacies of the Vietnam War still impact Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and their relations with the United States. But concerted efforts to promote justice and reconciliation have begun to address the collective trauma the war left behind — and in doing so, have turned what was once a major obstacle for U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia into one of the most remarkable stories of humanitarian cooperation in the 21st century.

Type: Blog

Reconciliation

From Ruins to Resilience: The Path Toward Recovery in Ukraine

From Ruins to Resilience: The Path Toward Recovery in Ukraine

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

By: Jaco Cilliers

Despite the destruction wrought by Russia’s invasion, Ukraine has continued to provide services to its people at an exemplary level throughout the war. This commendable resilience stems from significant investments and reforms made over the last 30 years. Notably, bolstering institutional capacity, the digitalization of public services, robust engagement with civil society, and a deeply rooted culture of voluntarism have all played crucial roles. Furthermore, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), where I serve as Ukraine’s resident representative, has been instrumental in building resilience across all strata of Ukrainian society.

Type: Analysis

Fragility & ResilienceReconciliation

View All Publications