“Wunderbar together” Kicked-off in the United States: Start of The Year of German-American Friendship

Light show as part of the kicking-off events for the Year of German-American Friendship in the U.S. © wunderbartogether

BDI President Dieter Kempf © wunderbartogether

On the Day of German Reunification, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas officially started off the Year of German-American Friendship at the annual reception at the Residence of the German Ambassador, Emily Haber, in Washington, DC. The opening of the initiative was celebrated with a week-long program in Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles.

“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 United States. This opening week program offered just a taste of what can be expected 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, is vital for German industry. For years, the United States has been the most important export market for German products. Germany is the seventh most important export market for the United States. The initiative highlights this beneficial German-American relationship. Therefore, a PopUp Tour travels through the United States, presenting Germany as innovative and creative partner. German firms offer interactive exhibitions and hands-on approaches covering topics such as the future of work, Industry 4.0, dual job training, sustainability and digitalization.

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.