CENTER ORIGINS

Helmut Kohl

Then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl delivered the commencement address and received an honorary law degree from Brandeis in 1998. He also dedicated the Center for German and European Studies in May 1998. 

Mission Statement


The Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis University (CGES) was founded in 1997 with generous gifts from the German government and Brandeis University, and dedicated in May 1998 by Chancellor Helmut Kohl. CGES's mission is to support interdisciplinary teaching and research on contemporary Germany and Europe at Brandeis and to reach out to broader communities on the social, political, and cultural issues facing Germany and Europe today. Relatively youthful in the world of distinguished American universities, Brandeis University was founded in 1948 around the search for 'truth even unto its inner-most parts' and beliefs in creative diversity, free inquiry, and social justice. It is the only Jewish-sponsored non-sectarian research university in North America. Brandeis CGES is thus well-placed to promote productive dialogue among many different voices about key issues in German and European societies and to increase American understanding of contemporary European developments.

New Pluralism in the New Europe:
European integration and globalization oblige Germany and Europe to become more economically, socially and ethnically mixed. These welcome processes, along with the difficulties that come with them, are CGES's primary concern. The complex stories of the renascence of Jewish communities need to be told within this context, not only because they link a sad past to a promising present but also because they provide models for the evolution of a new tolerant pluralism, Europe's most important millennial frontier. The transnational melding of culture and the issues it poses are another important focus. CGES is concerned with German and European culture as living creation in literature, film, music and television of great importance to issues of regional, national and ethnic identity in the new Europe.

Institutions, Identity, and Integration in the New Europe:

The end of the Cold War, German unification, globalization and the dramatic intensification of European integration provide important new contexts shaping a New Europe. CGES is committed to wide-ranging and thorough discussion of the New Europe and Germany's place within it, particularly concerning the nature and effects of changes in patterns of governance and their implications for European senses of membership and belonging.

Diversity and Conflict Resolution in the New Europe:

Europe's new pluralism brings new problems of conflicts between groups and resurrects painful reminders of older ones. This dimension of the CGES program focuses on group diversity and the evolution of conflict resolution to understand the challenge of protecting diversity in the New Europe.