’On the way between the worlds’ - career of a former GDR diplomat before and after the fall of the Wall

TU Ilmenau Citizens’ Campus

Topic: "On the way between the worlds" - career of a former GDR diplomat before and after the fall of the Wall

Speaker: Bert Lichtenheldt, former GDR diplomat

Time: Friday, 29.09.2023, 3:00 p.m.

Place: TU Ilmenau, Faraday Building, Weimarer Straße 32

Admission: 5 Euro

After studying at the Institute for International Relations in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Bert Lichtenheldt began his professional career in the GDR’s Foreign Ministry in 1984. Working in the Near and Middle East Department, foreign delegations took him to the GDR embassies in Sudan and North Yemen. Bert Lichtenheldt has written a book about his memories of his time as a former GDR diplomat: "Solange wir leben, reichen die Tage" ("As long as we live, the days will last"). In it, he also discusses the period after the political turnaround, which decisively changed the course of his life, as he moved from the diplomatic service to the private sector. From 1991 to 2005, Lichtenheldt worked for BASF AG in sales in Africa/Middle East and from 2008 to 2022 as a management consultant for Nesstra Services (UK) Ldt. in Slough, UK, and for Ashanti Foam Factory Ltd. in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

In his lecture at the TU Ilmenau Citizens’ Campus, Bert Lichtenheldt, who is now retired, will answer questions such as: How did one become a diplomat in the GDR? What opportunities did GDR foreign policy have at that time? What kind of people were there in the GDR diplomatic service and how did they fare after the fall of communism? In the second part of his lecture, Lichtenheldt talks about his second career in the private sector, which took him abroad again. Bert Lichtenheldt enriches his memories of his eventful professional career with personal assessments of the fall of the Berlin Wall, German unity, Russia and transatlantic relations. The blurb of his book says: "The author does not mince words on these and other controversial topics."