© 2023 Cincinnati Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

VOA Eurasia Executive Commemorates 30th Anniversary Fall Of Berlin Wall

Courtesy VOA Museum
Elez Biberaj, head of the Voice of America's Eurasia Division, will speak Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township.

Elez Biberaj, director of Voice of America's Eurasia Division, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a talk 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township.

Biberaj, based in Washington D.C., oversees the VOA's Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Georgian, Macedonian and Serbian language services.  

"No one knows the Cold War like VOA career-employee Elez Biberaj," says the media announcement for his talk, "Democracy's Secret Sauce: Telling the Truth to Let the World Decide."

Credit John Kiesewetter / WVXU
The VOA broadcast from the Bethany Station, 8070 Tylersville Road, from 1944 to 1994.

Biberaj will speak about the VOA's global impact during the Cold War between 1947 to 1991; events leading up to the fall of the wall in 1991; "and some of the issues we face today regarding propaganda and disinformation programs from Russia. He will also discuss whether we are experiencing a 'Second Cold War' due to reports of Russian disinformation efforts during our 2016 presidential election and in our electoral system," the announcement says.

"Elez was on the front lines of the Cold War as both a political analyst and a VOA journalist," said Jack Dominic, museum executive director. "We're eager to hear his insights on the role VOA played in inspiring East Europeans to work for democracy in their own countries, as well as his take on the state of democracy in Europe today."

Credit John Kiesewetter
VOA Museum of Broadcasting director Jack Dominic.

After World War II ended in 1945, the Soviet Union controlled the eastern part of Germany, while the western part went to the United States, Great Britain and France. In 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic started building a wall in Berlin to separate east and western areas. It became the symbol of the Soviet Union's "Iron Curtain" separating nations during the Cold War. Demolition of the wall began Nov. 9, 1989, after the Eastern German Communist Party announced that citizens could cross the border without fear or retaliation.

From the release:

Seating is limited, so RSVPs to attend the event are requested by Tuesday, Nov. 5 and can be made by emailing admin@voamuseum.org or calling the museum at (513) 777-0027. Donations will be accepted at the door. The museum is located at 8070 Tylersville Road in West Chester.

Biberaj, who earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, has been director of VOA’s Eurasia Division since 2006. He oversees the VOA's Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Georgian, Macedonian, and Serbian language services. He has traveled extensively throughout Eurasia and has spoken on Eurasian, Balkan and Russian affairs to government, NGO and media organizations because of his expertise in Eurasian affairs, according to the VOA in Washington. He is the author of four books and numerous scholarly articles.

The VOA is the largest U.S. international broadcaster and reaches a weekly global audience of more than 270 million people in 40-plus languages in nearly 100 countries. VOA programs are delivered on multiple platforms, including radio, television, web and mobile via a network of 2,200 media outlets worldwide. The news organization is funded by the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent federal agency.

Museum opening hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. General admission costs beginning Oct. 1 will be $10 for adults, with a $30 cap for families; and $5 for children under 12. Active and retired military veterans are $9.

Volunteer docents and greeters who have an interest in history are always needed and will be trained. For more information on volunteering, contact Dominic at (513) 777-0027.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.