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vor 7 Monaten

20 Jahre Johannes-Rau-Stipendiatenprogramm

  • Text
  • Geschichte
  • Scholarship
  • Germany
  • Deutschland
  • Israel
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20 06

20 06 Der Reichstag als Inspiration The Reichstag – an inspiration For any young person with a scholarship, embarking on what might be their first trip abroad, it’s not just a chance to get to know another country better; it’s also an opportunity for self-discovery. And perhaps even to uncover new interests and talents, like George Suleiman did. Wer sich als Stipendiat oder Stipendiatin auf seine oder ihre vielleicht erste Auslandsreise begibt, lernt nicht nur ein fremdes Land, sondern auch sich selbst besser kennen. Und entdeckt manchmal sogar neue Interessen und Talente, so wie George Suleiman. 26

Die Konstruktion aus Glas und Stahl thront luftig auf dem Berliner Reichstagsgebäude. Ihr Architekt, Norman Foster, wollte dem Neubau damit Transparenz verleihen. Als die Originalkuppel 1933 durch einen Brand zerstört wurde, machte Adolf Hitler seine politischen Gegner dafür verantwortlich, setzte die Grundrechte außer Kraft und festigte seine diktatorische Herrschaft. Heute können die Besucher von der begehbaren Kuppel aus den Bundestagsabgeordneten bei der Arbeit zusehen. Als George Suleiman nach Berlin kam, fiel ihm auf, wie sich die Vergangenheitsbewältigung in der Architektur widerzuspiegeln schien. »Alles liegt offen da, nichts wird verdeckt. Selbst das Holocaustdenkmal ist mitten in der Stadt präsent. Keine versteckten Orte, nichts wurde begraben, sondern die Geschichte sichtbar gemacht«, beschreibt er seine Eindrücke. Sie waren prägend für den damals 17-Jährigen: »Wie die Bauten das moderne, demokratische Deutschland repräsentieren, fand ich bemerkenswert. Damals habe ich die Kraft der Architektur entdeckt.« Aus der jugendlichen Begeisterung wurde sein Beruf. The glass and steel construction sits airily on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin. Its architect, Norman Foster, wanted to create a sense of transparency with his design. When the original dome was destroyed by a fire in 1933, Adolf Hitler blamed his political opponents, suspended constitutional rights for citizens and so consolidated his dictatorial rule. Today, visitors can access the dome and watch the MPs at work from above. When George Suleiman came to Berlin, it struck him that the sense of coming to terms with the past seemed to be reflected in the city’s architecture. ‘Everything is on display, nothing is hidden away. Even the Holocaust memorial is quite present in the centre of the city. There are no hidden sites, nothing has been buried, history has been made visible.’ These impressions had a real impact on the then 17-year-old: ‘I found it remarkable how the buildings represent modern, democratic Germany. It was then that I discovered the power of architecture.’ It was this enthusiasm that later became the young man’s profession. New experiences He still remembers exactly how he felt when he was told he had been awarded the Johannes-Rau- Scholarship. A mixture of pride and anticipation, but also a degree of apprehension. ‘Everything was new to me: my first exchange, my first major trip, and my first trip with a Jewish Israeli group, who I had barely any contact with at the time, being an Arab Christian. I feared that I might not fit in’, he recalls. But his worries were soon dispelled at the pre-trip briefing meeting in Israel. ‘Everybody was really nice, some even spoke with me in Arabic, and we clicked immediately.’ Der Stipendiat The scholarship holder George Suleiman, Jahrgang 1989, wuchs in Nazareth auf, wo er noch heute lebt. Der Architekt studierte an der Tel Aviv University. In seiner Freizeit spielt er Klavier, arbeitet mit Holz und schneidert Kleidung nach seinen eigenen Entwürfen. Außerdem kocht er leidenschaftlich gern. 2006 nahm er am Programm teil und wohnte bei seiner Gastfamilie in Bretnig-Hauswalde (Sachsen) in der Nähe von Dresden. George Suleiman, born 1989, grew up in Nazareth where he still lives today. He holds a Bachelor degree in architecture from Tel Aviv University. In his free time he plays the piano, upcycles wooden furniture, and designs and makes his own clothes. He is also a passionate cook. In 2006 he took part in the programme and stayed with a host family in a tiny village called Bretnig- Hauswalde (Saxony) near Dresden. When the boy from Nazareth arrived in the small village of Bretnig-Hauswalde in Saxony, new impressions overwhelmed him. ‘The landscape was so green and open, I felt tiny’, he says. And George still remembers clearly how independent his 17-year-old host, Julia was. ‘She went to school by bike, and that was completely new to me; I grew up in the mountains and it was so hilly that I didn’t even own a bike. I was really impressed at all the things Julia managed on her own.’ Unifying experiences The next stop was Berlin, and the sites commemorating the extermination of the Jews. For George, as an Arab-Christian Israeli, it was an eye-opening experience: ‘Not being Jewish, I didn’t have any relatives who were victims of the Shoah. We had learned about it at school, of course, but listening to the Jewish participants in the group, and what the events mean to the Germans, was very unifying’, George Suleiman relates. 27

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