Greeting by the President of the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin Cornelia Seibeld for the Graduation Ceremony of the Touro College
07.06.2023 17:00, Jewish Community Centre, Fasanenstraße 79-80, 10623 Berlin
I congratulate you most warmly and in the name of the whole Berlin Parliament on completing your degrees.
You have stayed disciplined, you have organised yourselves well and now you have done it. You can be really proud of yourselves. You are also graduates of what is a quite special university in Berlin. As a Jewish-American university, Touro Berlin lives the ideal of inter-religious and inter-cultural co-existence.
You have been able to make friends with people from many different countries and this has enabled you to enlarge your range of perspectives. You have been able to bring these as a matter of course into your seminar rooms and research.
You have been able to learn directly from each other about customs and traditions, political and social conditions, languages, food and rituals. You cannot get this kind of insight from Instagram or a travel blog. Direct exchange of views and ideas widens your horizons and opens doors and hearts.
Knowledge promotes tolerance – in every way imaginable. This is what Touro Berlin stands for. The College is also an enrichment for day-to-day Jewish life in Berlin, and I want to extend my warmest thanks for this in the name of the Berlin Parliament. It is important to us to make Jewish life in our city visible and to give it our support.
I also find that we who are involved in Berlin politics mesh in well with your university’s self-perception by working in a social atmosphere in which education and curiosity enjoy a high status, in which we give the lie to fake news and in which we decisively act to counter racism and anti-Semitism.
I am certain that you, too, marked by your college experience, will be standing up for peaceful co-existence wherever in the world your lives may now be taking you.
I am convinced that you will find good jobs and working conditions waiting for you and that you will be involved in some interesting tasks, whether it be in a New York skyscraper, a Tel Aviv start-up or a traditional family firm in Mumbai. But we in Berlin will also be very happy if you choose to stay in our city.
A student testimonial written on your website reads, “... [W]e lived the lives of typical Berliners. We travelled to Touro on the U-Bahn and Metro daily, which gave us a taste of how residents in Berlin go about their day-to-day lives.”
As a Berliner born and bred I am especially glad how quick and easy it is for people to feel at home in our city. As President of the Abgeordnetenhaus I am also happy to promise right here and now that the Berlin U-Bahn and S-Bahn will also take you reliably to Berlin’s administrative offices which are in such dire need of staff or to us in the Parliament.
For we too are glad of young politicians bringing in active and energetic new thoughts. So you are very welcome to feel motivated by me.
But whatever directions you may be taking in the future, your degrees will mean a great many new beginnings, and for them I wish you all the very best.
To you, thank you very much!