Orange Alert

Syracuse University Marks 25th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall with Three-Month-Long Commemoration

Activities include construction, demolition of replica of Berlin Wall

Sept. 5, 2014, by Sarah Scalese

Mary Lovely
Mary Lovely

In 1989, the Berlin Wall, a physical barrier that divided East and West Berlin fell, enabling all German citizens to travel to West Germany and West Berlin and ultimately leading to the reunification of East and West Germany. Nearly 25 years later, approximately 4,000 miles away, Syracuse University is commemorating this historic occasion with a three-month-long series of events and activities, including lectures, screenings, a digital story contest, and a reenactment of the building and tearing down of a replica of the wall.

“To say the fall of the Berlin Wall was a pivotal moment in German history would be a dramatic understatement,” says Mary Lovely, who holds multiple titles at Syracuse, including professor of economics and chair of international relations. “The schedule of events we’ve compiled will help students understand the historical significance of the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and will spark a meaningful dialogue about the factors that made peaceful revolution and reunification possible.”

Students are invited to participate in the building of a replica of the Berlin Wall on Monday, October 20 (time TBA), outside of Maxwell Hall. All week long, students are also invited to express their feelings about the Berlin Wall—and physical and symbolic barriers, in general--by decorating the wall with graffiti. The wall will be torn down on Saturday, October 25 (time TBA), and will be followed by a brief reception, featuring authentic German refreshments.

Funded by a grant from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the commemoration is co-sponsored by the Department of International Relations and the Moynihan European Research Centers, all in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; the Department of Languages, Literatures; and Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences; and the School of Architecture.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Screening: Goodbye Lenin!

Friday, September 5, 5:30 p.m.

421 Hall of Languages

Conversations in IR: “The Streets of Berlin 9 November 1989: Chance and Contingency”

Presented by Laurie Marhoefer, professor of history at Syracuse University

Monday, September 15, 12:45 p.m.

225B Eggers Hall

Screening: The Lives of Others

Tuesday, September 16, 5:30 p.m.

110 Bowne Hall

Lecture: “Fall of the Wall: Did Economics Play a Role?”

Presented by Irwin Collier, professor of economics at the Free University of Berlin (Germany)

Monday, September 22, 4 p.m.

220 Eggers Hall

Lecture: “Commemorating a Revolution: Public Memory and National Identity in Germany after 1989”

Presented by Ralph Jessen, professor of modern history at the University of Cologne (Germany)

Tuesday, October 7, 4 p.m.

220 Eggers Hall

Screening: The Burning Wall

Followed by a discussion with director, Hava Kohav Beller

Wednesday, October 8, 5:30 p.m.

Kittredge Auditorium, H.B. Crouse Hall

Lecture: “1989 and the Remaking of the European Political Order”

Lecture presented by Jeffrey Kopstein, professor of political science and director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto

Tuesday, October 16, 4 p.m.

220 Eggers Hall

Conversations in IR: “German American Relationships since the Fall of the Berlin Wall”

Presented by Jakob von Wagner, Counselor for Cultural Affairs, German Consulate General, New York

Monday, November 3, 12:45 p.m.

225B Eggers

Screening: Sonnenallee

Friday, November 7, 5:30 p.m.

421 Hall of Languages

Screening: Der Mann auf der Mauer

Wednesday, November 19, 7 p.m.

209 H.B. Crouse Hall

Students are also invited to participate in a digital story contest, for which they will create and submit a video or photo essay, detailing their perspective on the Berlin Wall, its impact on them, and how it has influenced their view of boundaries and borders. The deadline for submission is Sunday, October 12; winners will be announced on Saturday, October 25.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or email

Media Contact

Sarah Scalese