From Christine Elder (Bosch XI), new U.S. Ambassador to Liberia: “I was sworn in June 20, 2016 in Washington, departed the next afternoon, and assumed my duties in Monrovia within hours of arrival in order to be in place before First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to highlight the importance of girls’ education. This assignment follows three years in Washington as director for Southern African Affairs at the Department of State, and before that, three years as the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Mozambique from 2010-2013. My husband and stepchildren will remain stateside for most of my tour, though I look forward to regular visits in both directions, and possibly some zwischenstops in Germany in between!  I have only been in Liberia less than two months, but am loving every day, whether swearing in Peace Corps Volunteers, debating the tenure of the UN peacekeeping force, pressing ministers to protect media freedom, or sending off young Liberians for exchanges in the United States. Monrovia is the rainiest capital in the world, so I am building a collection of rubber boots, and enjoying the youthful glow from the humidity.  I welcome the visit of any Bosch fellows looking for a volunteering  adventure, particularly those with skill-sets in teaching, human resources, accounting, strategic planning, NGO management, marketing — i have to stop there because there is no skill set that isn’t in need here!”


Christine Elder (Bosch XI, right), U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize Winner & former President of Liberia

Adam Brundage (XXIX) started a new job with Nike, Inc. in Portland, OR. He now works for the Sustainable and Business Innovation team. Using analytics and training, Adam provides insights into how Nike can become a more sustainable company across the business. Prior to moving to Portland, Adam was living for 4 years in Nuremberg, Germany. There, he helped grow the Brand sustainability team at adidas at the world headquarters based in Herzogenaurach. Although Adam misses Germany and the opportunities to practice his German language skills, he is excited about the new chapter back in the US and stays close with his German friends and colleagues.

Peter Laufer‘s (V) turtle research continues for his book Dreaming in Turtle, to be published in 2017 by St. Martin’s Press.  His jailhouse interview with convicted turtle smuggler Keith Cantore appears in the current issue of The Tortoise (see attached cover image of turtle aficionado and CNN founder Ted Turner), the journal of the Turtle Conservancy.

Laufer and his sister, the children’s book illustrator Susan Roth, have also collaborated on the book ¡See You Later, Amigo!  to be published this fall by Barranca Press. The book integrates Spanglish, Spanish and English into a story of border culture.

Laura Gardner (XXXI) has been focused on implementation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, which creates a framework through which participating U.S. companies can receive personal data from the EU. The Privacy Shield was finalized this summer after two years of negotiations between the European Commission and the Department of Commerce, where Laura works as a Senior Attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel for International Commerce. As part of her focus on privacy and data flow issues impacting the transatlantic relationship, she traveled to Germany as a fellow in the Transatlantic Digital Debates program, which will also take her to San Francisco later this year.  Both trips afforded her a chance to see Bosch XXXI friends, including at a surprise baby shower for Clare Waldmann.  Hopefully the ongoing nature of this transatlantic debate will continue to provide opportunities to see Boschies on both sides of the ocean.

From Nadeem Sheikh (XXII): “I have been living in London for the last year, and am glad to be back in Europe. It is also involves much less sweating than Singapore, which is where we moved from. The tech company I have been working at for the last 5 years, Opower, also was recently acquired by Oracle this summer, which is keeping me busy but also considering what comes next!”

David Patrician (XXII): David and Nadine are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, little Ellie!

Annie Mark-Westfall (XXXI) is grateful to the Robert Bosch Stiftung for their sponsorship of the June 14 event, “Wildlife Crime in Africa: from Crisis to Solution.”  This event was co-hosted by the Governments of the United States and Germany, convened to honor American-German cooperation to combat wildlife crime. The groups jointly called for governments to step up and to coordinate their support to sub-Saharan countries in Africa in the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking. Speakers included US Ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson; Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB); Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General of Global Issues – sector policies and programmes, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); and Ambassador Douglas Griffiths, of the German-American George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.  In her role as Director, Program Development at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Annie worked closely with the U.S. Embassy-Berlin and German government partners to organize the event.

On a personal note, Annie and her family relocated to Berlin in late July.  She looks forward to being a more active participant in Bosch and Cultural Vistas ongoings, and would love to hear from fellow Boschies near and far – .  She enjoys meeting the other Bosch XXXI Berliners on a regular basis!


Boschies XXXI at Wildlife Crime Event in Berlin

From Nicholas Oyler (XXIX): “First, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world on August 7th. Serafina Lisa Oyler and her mother are in great health. Maria and I are looking forward to raising her to be bilingual: English and, of course, German. Second, on September 6th I’ll assume the position of Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Memphis.  I look forward to applying lessons and infrastructure designs from Germany in Memphis.”

Johanna Ramroth (formerly Rankin) (XXVII) just had a baby and got married!


Johanna Ramroth & new child


Dr. Robert J. Devine (III) and his wife embarked on a two week ecumenical pilgrimage in late July which culminated in an official Order of Malta pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help in Green Bay and Door County, Wisconsin.

Stops on the way up to the Door County event from Texas included the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Truman Presidential Library, St. Benedict’s Abbey and Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas and participation at dinner and vespers at the Basilica of Conception Abbey (Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation) in Missouri.


The journey continued with a visit to austere Trappist New Melleray Abbey (which makes wonderful hand-crafted caskets which are useful to keep in mind as the day of reckoning approaches), Cedar Rapids Country Club, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (Grant Wood), and amazing Wartburg Lutheran Theological Seminary overlooking Dubuque Golf & Country Club near the Mississippi River. A tranquil overnight stay at the LEED Platinum certified Holy Wisdom Monastery near Madison, Wisconsin (where Robert immersed himself in the library’s extensive collection of books on Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer) included dinner at Bishop’s Bay Country Club along the shores of Lake Mendota, and a stop to visit the lovely sisters at the first American site of the Schoenstatt movement in the United States founded in 1952 by Father Joseph Kentenich, an opponent of the National Socialist regime, a frequent “guest” of the Gestapo and inmate of Dachau concentration camp. Many members of the Schoenstatt movement in Germany were arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis, including Bl. Karl Leisner who was ordained in Dachau and died in 1945, Fr. Franz Reinisch who was beheaded in 1942 for refusing to swear the oath of allegiance to Hitler, and Fr. Albert Eise who died in Dachau in 1942. Father Reinisch’s attitude encouraged others to refuse military service under Hitler, including Austrian Bl. Franz Jaegerstaetter, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis who opposed the Anschluss and was executed by guillotine at Brandenburg-Goerden Prison in 1943.

Before departing onward, our pilgrims enjoyed a quiet lunch at the Madison Club followed by a visit to the beautiful Olbrich botanical gardens with the only Thai Buddhist pavilion in the United States graciously donated by His Majesty King Bhumibol.

The return journey proceeded Northward with a visit to the monks of the Byzantine Holy Transfiguration Skete along Lake Superior in remote Keweena Peninsula in upper Michigan and then onward to charming Bayfield, Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands National Seashore and then Duluth Minnesota for an overnight stay at the fabulous Kitchi Gammi Club with an outstanding view of Lake Superior from the balcony. This was followed by a visit to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and then an overnight stay at the tranquil wooded grounds of the Episcopal House of Prayer near the campus of St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. devine-2

The following day, Robert was given a tour of the facilities of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) at St. John’s University by Dr. Daniel K. Gullo (see the outstanding article from the Economist: Faith’s archivists ) where rare tomes relating to the Order of Malta were shown to him and the many digitization projects discussed that serve to preserve rare manuscripts endangered by fanatics, vandals, fire, neglect and other hazards. The HMML has been actively involved in digitizing rare manuscripts in Timbuktu, Ethiopia, Malta and manuscripts in the Syriac language in the Middle East located in dangerous sites like Homs, Aleppo and Mosul. Much work needs to be done and Robert was there to discuss several potential projects.
After two days of rest, prayer, meditation and hikes around the forests, lakes and corn fields near the “Studium” (the residence for scholars) at the spirituality center of the sisters of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, our pilgrims journeyed on to visit the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing in Norfolk, Nebraska and then Christ the King Priory and the impressive Benedictine Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska which is an offshoot of the mother house in St. Ottilien, Bavaria near the Ammersee by Munich. Robert is a member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard which runs a hospice for the terminally ill in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The hospice is led by Benedictine Father Gerard Tonque Lagleder of St. Ottilien out of Benedictine Inkamana Abbey in the Diocese of Eshowe and is staffed by Order of Malta personnel with many supporters worldwide including the Prinzessin von Bayern in Germany.

At all the monasteries visited, the pilgrims were impressed by the Benedictine commitment to renewable energy, micro grid solutions and the theology of ecology. Conception Abbey was surrounded by giant wind turbines scattered around the corn fields, the House of the Redeemer was fully sustainable with a LEED Platinum certified building, photovoltaic panels and grounds returned back to native Wisconsin prairie with an amazing population of wild birds and enthusiastic chipmunks (or should I say chipmonks?). St. John’s Monastery was adding additional capacity to their already extensive solar farm. The Benedictine Mission House in Schuyler was partially submerged under a “green roof.” Organic farming is also practiced and breakfasts usually consisted of organic eggs, whole grains, and fruit and vegetables from their locally-grown sustainable organic gardens and farms. In other words, great nourishment for mind, body and soul! The only item missing was the legendary and ubiquitous monastery Schnapps available at most German monasteries like Ettal, Weingarten, and Andechs.

In other news, Robert was appointed Honorary Corresponding Professor of Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami, Florida and was elected to membership at the rank of “Caballero” in the Hermandad Nacional Monarquica de Espana.