This morning we had the opportunity to meet our ten German counterparts who will join us for the rest of the week. The day began with four hours of eating, starting with breakfast at the hotel, and immediately followed by a decadent brunch at Villa Flora, a nice restaurant in Munich. There, over white wine and an endless spread of food, including my very first true German Bratwurst, I got a chance to talk with some German peers. Though I’m a pretty observant pescatarian in California, I decided it wouldn’t be a complete German experience without trying some authentic bratwurst. I’m no expert, but I have to say the meat seemed lighter and the taste was more flavorful and nuanced than the typical large-scale breakfast sausage in the U.S. After four hours of eating and drinking, the Americans and Germans at my table were all on joking terms.
After lunch, we stayed in the room for a panel on “Diversity in Contemporary Germany.” 20% of German society comes from what is known as a “migration background.” However, this segment comprises only 2.5% of Parliament and only 2 -3% of journalists. The Iranian-German journalist Saba Farzan finds hope in the popular German TV show “Turkish for Beginners,” which features an intermarried German-Turkish family. Just as “The Cosby Show” portrayed an ideal American family as an African American family—perhaps in some way paving the way for Obama’s presidency—she hopes this show will help assimilate the large Turkish minority into mainstream society.