About me as a speaker, my books and academic projects:
Dr. Henriette J. Runte is a versatile human dynamo: she does many things and does them all with energy, flair, commitment, and good solid preparation. She is also joyously multilingual and multicultural. We met through our mutual interest in the comedies of Molière; I was president of the nonprofit KC MOlière: 400 in 2022 to celebrate the great playwright’s 400th birthday over a 3-year build-up of various activities throughout greater Kansas City. Henriette came like a breath of fresh air at the right moment as pandemic strictures were ending, and her public lecture on „Molière and Me“ at the Kansas City Museum galvanized us. Her presentation — full of wit and charm (and costume changes!) — was a jewel in our crown. She also contributed a video to be shown at the actual birthday celebration at our Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It has been a pleasure to get to know Henriette and to read her book „Life with Coach Pop.“ Having participated by Zoom in two of her class sessions at the University of Hamburg, I’ve seen how her students appreciate their powerhouse teacher. I heartily recommend her as a lecturer, teacher, and author.
About Dr. j:
Dr. Henriette Runte or Dr. J as she’s affectionately known, is a multitalented podcaster, author, and media personality whose versatile skillsets are only surpassed by her infectious enthusiasm for people. During my time as Consul General in Hamburg, we had the occasion to collaborate on a number of projects, such as connecting with German and international students. As an interviewee of Dr. J, I wholeheartedly agree that she’s a sympathetic and comfort-inducing interviewer. If we’ve the opportunity to collaborate in the future, then I’d be immensely pleased as I always thoroughly enjoyed our past collaborations.
About my book, Life with Coach Pop:
Dr. Henriette Runte’s compelling book is ultimately about the triumph of family: one of blood and the other of choice. Her family was accepted into my extended Texas and Aggie families nearly 40 years ago, when her father became a coach at Texas A&M University – my alma mater – after defecting from Romania. Suffused with sadness, hope, and humor, Dr. Runte’s story reveals a level of humanity that I found irresistibly moving. In three words, I loved it!
About my work with the podcast:
I took the opportunity to view your introductory video to your podcast – the one where you extol the virtues of classic liberalism (although you don’t name it as such). My heart was strangely warmed. You and I flourished in an environment where we suspended judgment and listened.
Cultural fluency provided one of the means of attaining understanding while eschewing hasty condemnation. I previously served in rather conservative academic environments that were slowly migrating toward the classic liberal ideal only to emerge in an environment where a more secular and iconoclastic ideal for which I was ill-prepared. My recent colleague, albeit a subordinate, who possessed a BA in Classics from Mississippi State (‚Ole Miss‘) had never read through the classics. Imagine that! This, however, never seemed to stop her from pontificating on whatever ill she saw in society without even a nod toward understanding the position of the opposing view. In the previous decade, scholars deemed this to be naked bigotry. I have taken the time to understand the current zeitgeist. I’ve read Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Fish, Rorty, and a host of others. I have taken a deep dive into the „Masters of Suspicion“ to understand the roots from whence these ideas obtained their DNA. I don’t think even these intellectuals anticipated the groundswell of antipathy toward the received norm – the hostility toward life as it has been lived in process. All of that to say, keep up the good work. Fight the good fight. It is more than your own self-discovery or even midlife crisis. You are meeting a need. You are filling a void. Force the naïve and self-righteous to think and be humble. You and I had to learn that, and it was an important lesson. I’ve seen your accolades and your accomplishments. I see what you are doing. You are my heroine – feminine noun intentional. We need more like you. Thank you or Merci!
About my book, Life with Coach Pop:
Henriette’s family story of persecution, perseverance and freedom remains forever relevant in today’s world. Her ultimate triumph and discovery of belonging is told poignantly through the eyes of a young child writing in her newly-learned second language. I join Henriette in saluting her family and our teachers whose love and kindness went far beyond the subjects they taught us.
About my podcast:
What a thoughtful, empathetic interviewer! I had such a great time as a guest on Henriette’s podcast, and feel like the work she’s doing is so beneficial for such a wide range of folks.
About cultureum and my projects:
Henriette has created a fascinating life. Her energy, insight and empathy have taken her down a road less traveled. And from that she shares her wisdom and insight.