Stefan Creuzberger is not only a believer in the power of international academic connections – he is a proud example of it.
Creuzberger, a Contemporary History professor at the University of Rostock (Germany), visited Western last week as part of a week-long academic visit. Not simply limited to fellow historians, his time on campus brought him into contact with a number of faculties and departments.
Born in West Germany, this “child of the Cold War” found his way into a lifetime of research thanks to early personal connections. Today, he is an internationally renowned scholar on contemporary history, heading an institute that focuses on the study of dictatorships in Germany. His publications include a history of the Soviet military administration in German from 1945-49; a history of the West German Ministry of All-German Affairs from 1949-69; and a biography of Joseph Stalin.
Creuzberger previously visited Western in 2007 – a one-term visit at the invitation of Western History professor Eli Nathans. Sharing a classroom at the time, the pair of academics offered the perspectives of a German scholar and an American scholar on German and European history in a Canadian classroom.
From its earliest days, Creuzberger’s career has been rooted in international collaboration, starting with his year-long work after his PhD in the Soviet archives – a rare opportunity at that time. Those days still resonate for him.
“Besides academia, besides my research, I got so many impressions and impulses simply due to the international situation I found myself in,” Creuzberger said. “It was all part of a wonderful, interesting time. So, I continued – traveling around, getting in touch with people through these academic exchanges I am afforded as a member of academia.”
Since, he has “promoted and encouraged” his students to pursue international academic opportunities.
“The visit (to Western) was not only fun for me, but I sort of got the impression, if I looked at the faces of the students, and took into consideration the questions they asked, I think my visit might have been useful for them – to get that outside perspective,” he said.
Working with Western International, Creuzberger announced during his visit that his university has established one or more stipends for Western students to attend a conference on German reunification at the University of Rostock this summer.
“So, you see, this exchange isn’t just about bringing me here for one week; the idea is to continue this type of exchange,” he said.
Bringing Creuzberger to campus was a team effort – involving History (Social Sciences), Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts & Humanities) and Western International’s Visiting University Scholar’s Program. The visit was planned to coincide with an exhibit, Dictatorship and Democracy in the Age of Extremes, presented at The D.B. Weldon Library by the German Consulate in Toronto, through the support of Walter Stechel, Consul General, and Peggy Ellis, Western research librarian.