“If the Atlantic becomes wider in a political sense, we must build more and more stable bridges,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the opening of the Year of German-American Friendship in the USA. This opening week program offered just a taste of what we can look forward to from October 2018 to November 2019 through more than 1,000 events and some 300 projects across all 50 American States – above all, highlighting and giving context to the transatlantic relationship and dialogue between our societies. From a street festival in Atlanta, a vintage car rally in Indianapolis, discussion sessions at the German-American Conference at Harvard to a break dance interlude of the “Flying Steps” to music by Johann Sebastian Bach in front of the Lincoln Memorial in DC – the opening program was as diversely designed as “Wunderbar Together” itself.
In a greeting from outer space on the occasion of the opening, Alexander Gerst, the first German commander of the International Space Station, emphasized the need for cooperation in solving major challenges – “A strong relationship between both sides of the Atlantic is fundamental for successful cooperation – be it on Earth or in space.”
Especially in terms of trade policy, there are new challenges for the transatlantic relationship. General conditions for German companies in the United States have become more complex. The U.S. market, however, remains vital for German industry. For years, the United States has been the most important export market for German products. Germany is the sixth most important export market for the United States. The initiative will highlight this beneficial German-American relationship. In the upcoming year, a PopUp Tour including exhibitions, workshops, and cultural programming will travel through the United States presenting both countries as innovative and creative partners. German firms have been invited to present interactive exhibitions and hands-on approaches to dialogue, relating to topics like Industry 4.0, dual job training, the “Future of Work”, and digitalization.
Every day, German companies are reliable partners, employers and investors in the United States. BDI President Dieter Kempf stresses that “our firms create jobs and opportunities for advancement, and enable training and participation across all US states.” As part of the PopUp Tour, German companies seek to discuss with American citizens how Germany and the U.S. can tackle global challenges through dialogue and exchange – and the added value of German-American cooperation.