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

Voices: Searching for the Missing from the Vietnam War

Voices: Searching for the Missing from the Vietnam War

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

By: Andrew Wells-Dang, Ph.D.

Nearly 50 years after the end of the Vietnam War, families from all sides of the conflict are still searching for remains of loved ones through both official and personal channels. In 2021-22, as part of the Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative, USIP interviewed American and Vietnamese families who have recently received or identified wartime remains.

Type: Blog

Reconciliation

The Current Situation in Vietnam

The Current Situation in Vietnam

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Nearly 50 years since the end of the Vietnam War, and more than a quarter century since the normalization of U.S.-Vietnam relations, Vietnam is emerging as a rising power at the heart of the Indo-Paci...

Type: Fact Sheet

Reconciliation

Addressing the Harmful Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Addressing the Harmful Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Thursday, January 27, 2022

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

Nearly half a century since the end of the Vietnam War, there remains an urgent need for the United States and Vietnam to address the harmful legacy of Agent Orange, a defoliant sprayed by the U.S. military over parts of southern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia — an area about the size of Massachusetts — that continues to this day to impact the health of local populations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation

Taliban Seek Recognition, But Offer Few Concessions to International Concerns

Taliban Seek Recognition, But Offer Few Concessions to International Concerns

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

By: Kate Bateman;  Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.;  Ambassador Richard Olson;  Andrew Watkins

Since taking power in August, the Taliban have repeatedly expressed the expectation that the international community will recognize their authority as the new government of Afghanistan and have taken several procedural steps to pursue recognition. But the group has done very little to demonstrate a willingness to meet the conditions put forward by Western powers and some regional states. USIP’s Andrew Watkins, Richard Olson, Asfandyar Mir and Kate Bateman assess the latest Taliban efforts to win international recognition, the position of Pakistan and other key regional players and options for U.S. policy to shape Taliban behavior and the engagement decisions of other international partners.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyReconciliation

View All Publications