On Monday, Sept. 30, we received word that United States authorities have refused a visa to our Saturday luncheon speaker, Mr. Ilija Trojanow. According to the German press, he was in Brazil on Monday and was trying to board a plane to this country when he was informed that he could not enter the US. Mr. Trojanow and his colleagues in Germany, among them Juli Zeh, believe that his visa denial is directly related to his public opposition to the surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) in Europe and elsewhere.
As soon as we know the details of what exactly happened, the German Studies Association will take appropriate and vigorous action in response to this situation. Certainly it will be discussed at our Board meeting on Thursday, and we'll proceed from there.
In the meantime, we have to formulate a practical response for those of you who have purchased lunch tickets for Saturday's luncheon, at which Mr. Trojanow was going to perform part of his most recent work.
In view of what has happened, we are organizing a panel of experts to lead a discussion, at the end of lunch, concerning the NSA's activities and their consequences for the German-American relationship, transnational scholarly activity, the work of scholarly associations like ours, and the like. We are trying to arrange a Skype feed so that Mr. Trojanow can join the discussion, though we are not yet sure if he will be able to. We'll also set up microphones in the ballroom so that audience members can participate in the lunchtime discussion.
We do hope that those of you who signed up for the luncheon will still attend, given the importance of the issues we will now be considering. Should you wish a refund, please bring your luncheon ticket to the CONFERENCE REGISTRATION DESK so that we can try to sell it to a member without a ticket. You can return the ticket at the time of registration, should you wish. We'll make a note of your name, and arrange for the Johns Hopkins University Press to credit your account. But, as stated, we do hope that as many of you as possible will still attend and join in a discussion of these extremely urgent and pressing matters.
For those of you in the seminar that will be discussing issues of transnationalism: We are still trying to see if Mr. Trojanow would be available on Friday morning for a Skype, and we are also trying to see if a Skype set-up can even be arranged in that room.
Thank you for your support and understanding under these difficult circumstances. We'll make the best of them, will respond appropriately, and in the meantime do all we can to make the Denver conference a success!