The partnership between the Universities in Savannah and Halle
Following the development of the City of Savannah’s relationship with the City of Halle in 2011, Mayor Otis Johnson recommended to former President Linda Bleicken that Armstrong State University (ASU) sign an agreement with Martin Luther University (MLU) to exchange professors and students. ASU had already hosted a luncheon for the Halle delegation that included the Halle Mayor and other city and university officials as well as Dr. Lutz Goergens, the German General Consul in Atlanta.
To proceed, Dr. Bleicken requested that the Director of the International Office, Dr. James Anderson, travel to Halle to continue formulating the proposed agreement with administrators at MLU. By September 2013, an exchange agreement was signed in conjunction with the visit of two MLU music professors for the first exchange.
As a result of this agreement, there has been a series of professor exchanges, particularly within the field of music. This exchange has primarily involved recitals in both cities by professors from ASU and MLU. By Spring 2017, MLU began sending students to study music at ASU.
In June 2017, Dr. James Anderson and Dr. Dorothee Mertz-Weigel participated as ASU representatives in the 200th Anniversary Celebration of the merger of the University of Halle and the University of Wittenberg to become Martin Luther University.
With the merger of ASU with Georgia Southern University (GSU) about 4 years, ago, a revised agreement was signed with GSU as the new partner. Exchanges of faculty continued to increase and now include professors with other academic credentials.
Some of these faculty members participating include Dr. Emily Grundstad-Hall (voice), Dr. Jens Marggarf (piano/composition), Professor Andrej Mokry (guitar), Professor Jared Hall (piano), Dr. Patrick Thomas (teacher education), Dr. Tony Parrish (physical education), Dr. Bryan Riemann (health science), Dr. Georg Mass (music education), and Dr. Russell Brown (clarinet).
In August 2019, the President of GSU and their Office of International Education hosted a delegation from MLU that included the Rector, Director of International Education, and other administrators from the university.
In 2020, the Teutonic Council worked with the Savannah Jazz Association and GSU to complete plans to host MLU's Big Band to come to Savannah to participate in the Savannah Jazz Festival and to perform a series of concerts in various locations. Unfortunately, all these plans had to be canceled (hopefully only postponed) as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is my hope that with financial and other support from interested individuals, businesses, and the sister cities more cultural and educational opportunities will be made possible in the future leading to further strengthening of friendship and ties between our countries.”
Dieter K Gunkel, MD, Founding and Past President of the Teutonic Council
“Savannah has a deep and rich German heritage illustrated by the presence of dynamic societies promoting cultural activities and enhancing the excellent relationships between Germany and the US.”
Denis Blackburne, Former Honorary Consul for France & Germany in Savannah
“Our thanks to the Teutonic Council for making major contributions in working with Armstrong, the Greater Savannah International Alliance and other education institutions to build a strong relationship with the City of Halle.
James Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant to the Provost – International Education (retired), Armstrong State University, Former Chair of the Greater Savannah International Alliance
“Germany has been identified as a strategic “Target Country” by World Trade Center Savannah for trade and investment opportunities for the coastal Georgia region since the inception.”
Jesse Dillon, Vice President of Trade Development, Savannah Economic Development Authority
“Savannah, GA, USA and Halle, Germany are official sister cities. The Teutonic Council significantly supports our sister city activities and projects, thereby fostering transatlantic friendships and relationships that build trust and understanding across our two nations.”
Sabine Pröschel, Halle International e.V., President, Halle, Germany
“Visitors from Germany make up a significant share of the number of international visitors to Savannah on an annual basis. They seem to enjoy the city’s architecture, culinary experiences, and walkability the most.”
Joseph Marinelli, President, Visit Savannah, Savannah, GA
“The tourism already being generated between these very historic cities brings with it the many benefits of friendship and endless forms of cultural exchange.”
David Legasse, Owner of The Salt Table, Savannah, GA
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