The Revolutions of 1989 marked a major turning point for Central and Eastern European nations as they replaced Communist states with democracies.
To mark those changes, the Center for International Studies will host With Immediate Effectthe Events of 1989 Revisited, a roundtable discussion among representatives of five of the effected countries.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, in University of Chicago’s Assembly Hall at International House.
Twenty years ago, during the socalled Autumn of NationsEast Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romaniaall experienced popular uprisings that heralded the end of the Cold War and transformed the balance of power in the world, said Mark Lycett, Interim Director of the Center for International Studies and Senior Lecturer in the Social Sciences Collegiate Division.
At an evening press conference on Nov. 9, 1989, East German Politburo member Guenter Schabowski accidentally announced that the border with West Germany had been opened with immediate effect.
The resulting celebration and tearing down of the Berlin Wall stands as one of the singlemost recognizable moments of political transformation in the 20th century, he said.
Two Chicago scholars will lead the public roundtable: Andreas Glaeser, Associate Professor in Sociology, whose work focuses on Germanys postunification woes; and Martha Merritt, Associate Dean for International Education, a specialist in the history of the Soviet collapse.
Consuls General Onno Hckmann of Germany, Zygmunt Matynia of Poland, Istvan Mezei of Hungary, Marek Skolil of the Czech Republic and Robert Zischg of Austria will join Glaeser and Merritt for an open conversation about the initial and subsequent transformations in Eastern and Central Europe.
The Center for International Studies also will screen a series of distinctive films that focus on the moments of transition in 1989:
The Chicago premiere of Rabbit la Berlin, a tongueincheek nature film which explores the fate of a rabbit colony that thrived in the Berlin Wall dead zone until the Wall fell (7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 in the Coulter Lounge, International House);
After the Velvet Revolution, an early documentary visiting the lives of seven Czech and Slovak individuals as they were transformed by the upheavals of 1989 (8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, Coulter Lounge, International House); and
12:08 East of Bucharest, an absurdist comedy starring provincial Romanian citizens who ask, Was there a revolution in our town or not? (4:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall).
The screenings are free and open to the public.
The International House Global Voices Program, Doc Films, and the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies are cosponsoring the film screenings in cooperation with the Consulate of the Czech Republics Velvet Redux program.
Anyone who may need assistance because of a disability should contact the Office of Programs & External Relations in advance at 7737532274.
For all other information, visit cis.uchicago.edu/1989 or contact the center at [email protected]&/
Source: Chicago Press Release