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.

Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl and George H.W. Bush in front of pieces of the Berlin Wall (©Photo credit: Daniel Biskup)
Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl and George H.W. Bush in front of pieces of the Berlin Wall (©Photo credit: Daniel Biskup)

Join USIP as we honor 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, will look back at the lessons German reunification can provide to peacebuilders around the world, and it will explore 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.

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
Registration Type
Your Information
Work Information
How did you hear about this event?

For questions about accessibility please contact EventRegistration@usip.org. Kindly provide at least three business days advance notice of need for accommodations.

Related Publications

Visions for Peace in Burma

Visions for Peace in Burma

Monday, January 11, 2021

By: Billy Ford

Burma has faced various ethnic conflicts since shortly after its independence in 1948. In that time, five different peace efforts have failed, leaving Burma in what constitutes the world’s longest running civil war. However, since the country’s November 8 elections, there has been a flurry of meetings between ethnic-armed organizations and the military, known as the Tatmadaw. These unexpected talks are the first signs of progress toward a resolution of the seemingly intractable war—that is, if the sides can learn from the past and create a fresh, inclusive renewal of the peace process that draws on the country’s diverse voices advocating for peace.

Type: Blog

Peace Processes; Reconciliation

What Will Become of Iraqis in Al-Hol?

What Will Become of Iraqis in Al-Hol?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

The al-Hol camp in northeast Syria—which holds tens of thousands who were living among ISIS before its territorial defeat—has presented the region and international community with a host of thorny challenges. What to do with the camp’s residents has particularly bedeviled the Kurdish authorities who run the camp as well as the governments of countries where residents came from. On October 5, Kurdish authorities said they would release the Syrians in the camp, where conditions have become increasingly unsustainable. But, nearly half of the camps’ 65,000 residents are Iraqis, and their prospect for return remains deeply uncertain. USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed discusses the situation facing Iraqis in al-Hol and the challenges ahead if they indeed return.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Reconciliation

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian ; Chris Bosley; Leanne Erdberg Steadman

More than a year since the territorial defeat of ISIS, the region is still reeling in the wake of the self-styled caliphate’s destruction. Kurdish authorities operate two dozen detention facilities in northeast Syria holding thousands of former ISIS fighters. On October 5, Kurdish authorities in charge of al-Hol said they would free the 24,000 Syrians in the camp, where conditions have become increasingly unsustainable. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian, Chris Bosley, and Leanne Erdberg Steadman look at what led to the decision to release these Syrians and the challenges ahead for reintegrating them into their communities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation; Violent Extremism

How Iraqis Can Rebuild Community Relations and Repair Democracy After ISIS

How Iraqis Can Rebuild Community Relations and Repair Democracy After ISIS

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By: Joshua Levkowitz; Lana Khalid

From nationwide anti-government protests, to U.S.-Iran tensions playing out on Iraqi soil, to a protracted government formation crisis, 2020 has been a tough year for Iraq. The pandemic has only deepened the country’s challenges, including distrust of the political class and inter-communal tensions. On top of this, Iraq is experiencing one of its worst economic situations since the country’s formation. Understandably, there is a crisis of confidence. Almost everything ailing Iraq stems from the lack of trust between the government and its citizens. Only by working together as partners can faith be restored. Iraq’s citizens must be given a bigger role in the decision-making process about the future of the country, starting with a say in next year’s budget.

Type: Blog

Democracy & Governance; Reconciliation

View All Publications