When the former American Ambassador to Germany, Richard Bird, was asked to speak about his experiences in Germany, he expressed his astonishment at the Germans’ talent for listening to long speeches. Perhaps the Germans and other European nations have a little more patience and calmness than the rest of the world. Because of our long and rich European history, we need more staying power, but do not worry; I do not intend to deliver a long address.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to the theme of this conference, and to the speakers of this first session, which is open to the public. As you know, the title of our conference is New Partnerships: Opportunities and Risks. It is part of the project The Future of European Universities, which has been generously sponsored by DaimlerChrysler Services.