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July 20, 2022

Benjamin Franklin Day: Honoring the 75th Marshall Plan Anniversary

Ambassador Guttmann speaking behind lectern
Ambassador Guttmann

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, marked our first Benjamin Franklin Day in cooperation with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of the largest and most reputable university hospitals in Europe. Embodied by four historic campuses in both East and West Berlin, Charité serves as living tribute to the German reunification and global cooperation in times of crisis. Through the Marshall Plan, the U.S. contributed approximately one fifth of the Charité Benjamin Franklin Campus’ total construction cost, a gesture seen as “evidence of the United States’ interest in securing the future of Berlin.”

On Benjamin Franklin Day, more than 80 guests from the intersection of health, science and technology commemorated the Charité’s transatlantic legacy and honored the 75th Marshall Plan Anniversary. Ambassador Dr. Amy Gutmann gave opening remarks and presented a memorial plaque that will be exhibited permanently in the campus’ main entrance hall. Welcome remarks by Wolfgang Schmidt, Head of the German Federal Chancellery and Federal Minister for Special Tasks, as well as Dr. Thomas Götz, Berlin State Secretary for Health and Care, were followed by an insightful program on global health in times crisis that featured contributions by NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci (video message), Charité’s Head of Virology Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, and Dr. Kirsten Ostherr, Head of the Medical Futures Lab at Rice University in Houston, TX. All speakers cited the lasting impact of the Marshall Plan and the centrality of transatlantic cooperation in the fields of research, medicine, the humanities, and education.