Prof. Dr. Julia Kormann (University of Applied Sciences, Neu-Ulm)
My mother taught me the rhymes she knew from her childhood which her mother knew from her childhood: „Brigach und Breg bringen die Donau zuweg“, „Iller, Lech, Isar, Inn, fließen rechts zur Donau hin“, „Altmühl, Wörnitz, Naab und Regen kommen ihr von links entgegen.“ These rhymes help children memorize the origins of the danube river and its tributaries in Bavaria which cause this river to grow and prosper. Not included in these rhymes are all the tributaries of other countries, but implicitely included are the local antecedents to the larger identity of the river danube.
In times of digitalization and globalization our construction of the identity of the Danube stems from our collective understanding of the contributing tales, myths and stories, including their inherent values and virtues, as well as the stories yet untold. Surprisingly enough, the Blau – a must-see for tourists is the mystical Blautopf – is not included in these rhymes, even though it is the scene of a lot of myths and tales and instills the quest for the larger entity this mythical spot constitues for everyone who catches a glimpse of the dark blue water.
To me, the danube river is like an artefact of human history, encompassing all its contributing factors. Similarly, in my own experience working in a global company, the values, virtues, myths, tales and stories of my colleagues from all over the world always invigorated the global entity that emerged from their contribution. Every person‘s contribution to our collective memory transcends entities like the Danube river, turning it into an artefact of human history. Yet the danube river also tells us that global entities live from the free flow of myths and tales, values and virtues, and prosper without boundaries.
Julia Kormann is professor at the department of Information Management at the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm (“HNU”). She is also Vice President for Teaching and Learning, Sustainability, Head of the Centre for Interdisciplinary, International and Engaged Learning (ZiieL) and Head of the Centre for Corporate Communications at the HNU. More about Prof. Dr. Julia Kormann.