Dr. John Ashley Null wins Mulert Award 2022 with “Emotional Wellness training program” from Berlin

The Emotional Wellness training program for Hertha Berlin’s U17 team is based on helping the young men build healthy relationships through developing the key skills of mutual understanding. In the process, the youth players are not only learning how to bring out the best in themselves but also how to affirm and encourage the best in those around them, including their families, their teammates, and those who have traditionally been on the margins of our society.
Dr. John Ashley Null giving a presentation of the Emotional Wellness training program at the German Fulbright Alumni e.V. Mulert Award Ceremony 21.05.2022 in Cologne/Germany

The Tokyo Olympics will long be remembered as a turning point in elite sport where the mental health of athletes became an essential concern for all. Hertha Berlin takes seriously its duty of care to promote the emotional well-being of the participants in its Youth Academy. To that end, for the 2021-2022 football season the Club engaged Arne Friedrich, then a Hertha Executive Board member, whose areas of responsibility included the Youth Academy, Dr. Ben Houltberg, an internationally respected youth developmental psychologist, and Dr. John Ashley Null, a Fulbright Alumnus and deeply experienced pastoral counselor to elite athletes, to design a pilot program to promote emotional wellness in Hertha’s Under 17 youth team.

The project was founded on the principle that a person is not defined by their accomplishments, but by their relationships. However, relationships are what make accomplishments possible. After all, the first thing Olympic Gold Medalists do when they realize they have won is instinctively look to the stands to make eye contact with someone they love. Because no matter how wonderful the thrill of victory is at the very special moment, if there is no one with whom to share the joy, even a victory as great as that is empty. And, of course, it was the on-going love of those very people that provided the gold medalists the “emotional shock absorbers” they needed to keep going, despite all the disappointments and multiple setbacks the come with elite sport, until they had achieved their goal of the gold. In short, emotional wellness gives people the resilience they need to keep striving for a better future, and emotional wellness is the product of healthy relationships. Therefore, the Hertha pilot program concentrated on giving the twenty-four fifteen- and sixteen-year-old young men of its Under 17 team the tools they needed to build healthy relationships. And what is the foundation of healthy relationships?

Mutual understanding. The program identified seven key skills necessary for mutual understanding: respect, empathy, trust, togetherness, forgiveness, gratitude, and resilience. One relational skill was featured each month. The U17 team met for emotional wellness training three times a month in ninety-minute sessions. Since youths learn best through role models, activities, and conscious integration, the first monthly meeting featured an interview with a member of the current pro team or staff about how the relational skill of the month helps the pro on and off the field.

For respect, Dedryck Boyata, the current pro team captain, spoke about the importance of taking time to invest in other people, since it was the support which his family gave him that got him through a very difficult rehabilitation process after a serious injury at the start of his career. Other speakers include Fredi Bobic, Hertha Managing Director; Arne Friedrich, Hertha Sporting Director and former pro team captain; and Maxi Mittelstädt, current member of the Hertha pro team and alumnus of the Hertha Youth Academy. The second monthly meeting consisted of a physical activity which reinforced the featured skill, broadened the youth players’ understanding, and acted as a service project to the wider community.
For empathy, the young men interacted with mentally and physically handicapped people at their work place. On the one hand, the youth players learned that making a cheese board for which someone would pay money served a similar function in the lives of the handicapped as scoring a goal did for them. Despite the significant differences between the two groups, they all shared a basic human need to be productive and appreciated. This awareness broadened the young footballers understanding of handicapped people and of themselves. On the other hand, for the handicapped, elite sportspeople coming to their work place to learn from them reinforced that they had something significant to offer others, which increased the handicapped participants’ own sense of accomplishment and being appreciated.
Other service projects included playing blind football with members of Hertha’s blind football team (trust), inviting their parents to a December party where they told them all things they were grateful that their parents did for them (gratitude) and learning from a former homeless teenager at the Mission to Bahnhof Zoo about how depression led him to the streets where shame and fear plagued him–the three very issues with which elite athletes have to struggle–and how he overcame them (resilience).

A very special highlight of the year was listening to Margot Friedländer speak about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, including how she learned to forgive.

Hertha BSC U17 trifft Holocaustüberlebende Margot Friedlander am 20.04.2022 in Berlin, Deutschland. (Foto von Moritz Eden/City-Press GmbH)
Hertha BSC U17 trifft Holocaustüberlebende Margot Friedlander am 20.04.2022 in Berlin, Deutschland. (Foto von Moritz Eden/City-Press GmbH)

The focus of the third monthly meeting was reflection and integration. The youth players were each given a personal notebook. In the final meeting of the month, the young men recorded what they have learned about the featured relational skill. They are then encouraged to write down how that skill could help their relationship with themselves, with their family and friends, with their football performance, with their teammates and coaches, and with others in school and the community.

Finally, they are asked to write down one action item where they commit to growing better at the relational skill in a specific context. In their written comments, many remarked, for example, how they had learned for the first time that they should express respect and empathy for those different from themselves, rather than pity. Some committed themselves to working on remaining positive when their teammates make mistakes in a match, since they knew how that felt. Several others recognized how they have failed to have empathy for their parents and have pledged to try harder at understanding and respecting them. Not surprisingly, then, those not directly associated with the Emotional Wellness project, like their coaches, commented that they could see a real difference in how the participants acted towards others.

In the light of the positive evaluations, Hertha plans to continue the program in its Youth Academy for the 2022-2023 football season.

Vera Kostiuk Busch wins the Special Prize of the Mulert Award 2022 with the “Mother Tongue – Ukrainian” project from Ratingen

The idea of the project “Mother Tongue – Ukrainian” is to help Ukrainian children not to forget their native language and culture. They suffer immensely due to the Russian invasion of their country. At Ukrainian Sunday School they have a central place to interact with others that have experienced a similar, traumatic situation.

Vera Kostiuk Busch giving a presentation of the project “Mother Tongue – Ukrainian” at the German Fulbright Alumni e.V. Mulert Award Ceremony 21.05.2022 in Cologne/Germany

The German school system will absorb Ukrainian refugee children into existing classes and they will learn the German language. Pro Ukraine e.V. wants to ensure that Ukrainian language, culture and history is preserved so the children do not loose their mother tongue. It is important for them to feel understood and comfortable in a familiar community.
On a psychological level, the Mother Tongue School will be a hub for young people to interact with others who have experiencedsimilar trauma.
Lastly, some adult refugees are teachers, who can become valuable members of both the fleeing Ukrainian community as well as the welcoming German community by teaching at the Ukrainian Sunday School.

Registration now open for 2022 General Assembly in Cologne!

Dear FAeV members and friends,

We are happy to announce that registration has now begun for this year’s 2022 General Assembly, which will take place on Saturday, May 21st, 2022 and which offers an accompanying programm over the span of the weekend.

Some of the planned events need to be paid in advance and have limited capacity. For the General Assembly, we ask that you also register so that we can accurately plan the catered lunch and coffee.

Click here register and to read more details about the 2022 General Assembly and events.

Apply now for the Mulert Award 2022!

Applications for the 2022 Mulert Award are open. Please apply here by May 7th, 2022 via a quick and short online form and reach out to us in case of any questions. You can find out more about former Mulert Award laureates and their projects at the bottom of this page.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Call for Action: Fulbright Futures Video Project

call for action

Dear Alumni,

Fulbright Germany turns 70! That makes us very happy and we want to share our joy with you and the world. Besides an array of events throughout the year, there will be an anniversary website and much more. One of the ideas we have won’t be possible without your help. For the anniversary video project Fulbright Futures we want to collect 70 videos with your stories!

Please participate and send us your personal “why Fulbright was important to you” video!

70 years of student exchange between Germany and the US, 70 years full of exciting stories and encounters. The experiences were all individual and yet they have one thing in common: Getting to know another culture has touched everyone in one way or another.

We want to collect these individual experiences for our Fulbright Futures anniversary video project.

Would you like to join us and tell us what the Fulbright exchange meant to you?

What was the most exciting moment of your exchange?

How did the experience influence your life or career?

It would be amazing if you could send us a short (no longer than one minute) video of yourself that we can share on our anniversary website and on social media. You can find the content and technical suggestions, as well as a media-release on the internal documents page of our members section (log in required).

Please send your video with the signed media-release form to alumni@fulbright.de(it can also be a link to the video on a cloud storage etc.)

Thinking outside the box, being open to new experiences, learning another language, developing academically is what Fulbright is all about – now as much as 70 years ago. Let your stories inspire others to take that step into the world. We’d love for you to take part!

Everyone is busy and very preoccupied with the challenges and crises at the moment. Nevertheless, we would value your support of this project since now more than ever it is crucial to reaffirm the power of international understanding.

Thank you so very much and best regards from the Fulbright Community

Fulbright Alumni e. V.
German-American Fulbright Commission
Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program e.V. (VFF)

Unterstützung für die Menschen der Ukraine

Liebe Alumni,

mit Fassungslosigkeit müssen wir zusehen, wie der Angriff auf die Ukraine den Krieg zurück nach Europa bringt. Wir als Fulbrighter, die für Frieden und Völkerverständnis stehen, wollen gemeinsam denjenigen Menschen helfen, die durch den Krieg betroffen sind.

Um durch regionale Unterstützung oder Spenden helfen zu können, haben wir ein Dokument aufgesetzt, in welches wir alle bisherigen Informationen, die uns erreicht haben, zusammengefasst haben. Dieses findet ihr hier:

Fulbright Community Helps Ukraine – Links and Local Information

Wir als Fulbright Gemeinschaft können viel bewegen und die Ukraine und alle angrenzenden, betroffenen, Länder unterstützen! Bitte engagiert euch – egal in welcher Form.

Schreibt uns bitte! Damit wir es zentral sammeln und verteilen können, nutzt bitte die neu eingerichtete E-Mail Adresse: helpukraine@fulbtight-alumni.de.

Wenn ihr also von weiteren Initiativen, Gruppen o.ä. hört, die die Ukrainer: innen unterstützen oder nützlichen Links und wichtige Informationen habt, dann schickt sie uns, sodass wir gemeinsame Hilfe koordinieren können.

Danke an alle, die im Großen und im Kleinen in dieser schwierigen Zeit die Ukraine unterstützen.

Euer Vorstand

Andi, Johannes, Sarah, Alex & Michael

32nd FRANKly issue now available in digital format!

We are happy to present to you during this winter break, this year’s FRANKly! We hope you can take some time off during the next few days to spend with your loved ones, to relax – and to perhaps sit down with some Glühwein or Eggnog and the digital FRANKLy to read about this past year in the life of the FAeV and about our authors’ „Daring (New) Beginnings“!

We hope that the printed version of the magazine will be in your hands – true to the main theme – at the beginning of the new year.

In good old German tradition, the FAeV wishes a happy second day of Christmas and a guten Rutsch!

 

To view the latest issue of the FRANKly, have a look here!

No Mulert Award in 2021

Due to the ongoing pandemic the yearly Winter Ball, which acts as the Award Ceremony, had been postponed several times and finally cancelled. Therefore, the deadline for the 2021 Mulert Award application had been pushed into 2022. From now on, the prize money will be 1000€: double the amount from previous years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Trauermitteilung: Christine Tröger

Liebe Fulbright Alumni Familie,

Leider müssen wir Euch mitteilen, dass unsere Schwester, Freundin und Schwägerin Christine Tröger am Freitag, den 30.04.2021 verstorben ist. Sie hat einen starken tapferen Kampf verloren und ist friedlich auf ihre nächste Reise gegangen.

Christine hat so viele Menschen berührt, sich so sehr für Alles und Alle eingesetzt, was immer sie bewegt und berührt hat, nicht zuletzt auch in dieser Fulli Familie.

Ihre hinterlassenen tiefen Spuren voller Warmherzigkeit, Engagement, Lachen, kritischem Hinterfragen, Hilfsbereitschaft, ihre Begeisterung, ihr riesengroßes Herz, all ihre schillernden Farben – wir werden das Alles und so viel mehr von ihr so sehr vermissen und in liebevoller Erinnerung wahren.

Durch ihren und unseren Glauben sind wir sicher, dass sie bei uns ist und uns zusieht, uns beschützt. Mögen all die Engel, die sie so sehr mochte, sie auf all ihren Wegen begleiten.

In Liebe.

Karin, Martin, Margarete und Dorothea

Für alle Freunde und Wegbegleiter, die ihr Beileid bekunden möchten, ist neben der Traueradesse unter folgendem Link der SZ-Traueranzeige eine weitere Kondolenzmöglichkeit eingerichtet.

https://trauer.sueddeutsche.de/todesanzeige/christine-troeger

(Anmerkung: Falls Ihr den Link vom Smartphone aus öffnet, könnt Ihr in der mobilen Anzeige ganz nach unten scrollen. Dort kann man zur klassischen Ansicht wechseln, wo es u.a. noch ein Kondolenzbuch und Musik gibt.)

In stillem Gedenken

Der Vorstand des Fulbright Alumni e.V.

Join us for a deep discussion about the upcoming elections in Germany.

Together with the US Alumni Association of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Consulate General New York, we are proud to co-host the upcoming talk and discussion with Hon. David Gill, Consul General of Germany in New York:

Germany in the Run-Up to the Elections: How to approach global and domestic challenges?

The event will take place online on May 18 and registration is open until May 12.