2018 RBFAA Annual Meeting

From June 22-24, 2018, approximately 100 Bosch alumni and their families gathered in Berlin for the RBFAA’s Annual Meeting 2018. After returning to Berlin for the first time in over decade in 2013, alumni were eager to once again gather in Germany’s capital to relive their fellowship days and connect with old friends and colleagues. All events in the weekend centered on the theme of “Protecting Transatlanticism in the Rise of Isolationism.”

The weekend kicked off with a number of cultural events during the day on Friday designed to offer Boschies and their families a better look at our interconnections. Some visited the former Stasi prison at Hohenschönhausen while others toured the Pergammon Museum with guides who could also speak to Germany’s current social challenges around migration. Some interested alumni participated in a workshop at the Bosch Alumni Network’s International Alumni Center (iac), where representatives from the Bosch Stiftung led us through a conversation to dissect transatlantic relations and strategize as to how to achieve better communication between the RBFAA and alumni of other Bosch Stiftung programs.

At the Friday evening reception, Sandra Breka, one of four members of the Bosch Stiftung Board of Management, welcomed guests to the Stiftung’s Berlin Repräsentanz. On behalf of the RBFAA, Clark Parsons (Bosch XIV) presented Sudha David-Wilp (Bosch XIV) with the Alumna of the Year Award, in recognition of her tremendous contributions to German-American relations achieved during an impressive career since her time as a Bosch Fellow. Gale Mattox (Bosch I) then presented Maggie Monahan-Bopp (Bosch I) with the first-ever Bosch Alumni Service Award, which aims to highlight alumni who go “above and beyond” in service to the Bosch community. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network and mingle beside spectacular views of Berlin from the building’s balcony and top and floor.

Saturday’s substantive programming kicked off with an engaging event aimed at exploring different strains of isolationism in transatlantic relations. Organized by Mary Plum Peterson (Bosch XV), two break-out sessions tackled “The Paris Accord and Environmental Policy in the Age of Rising Isolationism: What Happens Next?” and “Transatlantic Relations in the Era of Trump, Brexit, and Growing Isolationism: How Concerned Should We Be? (And What Can We Do?)” Participants engaged with panel speakers to explore take-aways and produce action items that included suggestions for radical transparency, holding individuals and countries accountable for their actions, and getting involved in local planning processes in order to make a more direct impact.

The RBFAA then met for an internal business meeting, followed by a networking lunch and afternoon presentations from the Bosch Stiftung and the iac. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, participants reconvened for a roundtable discussion entitled “Building the City of Opportunity: How German and U.S.

Cities Must Innovate Together to Improve Integration Outcomes”. Organized by Kate Reynolds (Bosch XXXIII), this panel focused on local level impacts of some of the weekend’s broader themes.

On Saturday evening, alumni and their guests gathered at the Hotel de Rome for a gala dinner. It was here that Ruprecht Polenz, former Member of the Bundestag and current Senior Advisor to the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, gave the keynote address informed by his years as Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. Although Mr. Polenz admitted to being quite pessimistic in the current circumstances, he ended his speech on a high note with a call to action for all Bosch alumni. His message: we are among those best placed to help protect transatlanticism, and this relationship will require hard work and dedication from all of us in the years ahead. And it should be noted it was only after Mr. Polenz finished his keynote speech that nearly all attendees turned their attention to die Mannschaft in the World Cup game!

The weekend was capped by a fun and casual brunch by the side of the Spree River at Zollpackhof. Boschies were able to gather with their friends and family for more relaxed conversation, even if the weather didn’t cooperate and kept everyone trapped indoors.

Thus ended another successful RBFAA Annual Meeting. We’re excited to see you in 2019 for our 35th anniversary celebration!

If you’d like to see the photos documenting the weekend, please click here for the photo gallery

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