Important contribution to Franco-German friendship
The “Berufliche Schulen Kehl”, the jury said, were receiving the award in recognition of the various possibilities for education and training they offer for cross-border living and working on the upper Rhine. German students, for example, receive more intensive French lessons so that they can benefit from mobility in the Strasbourg metropolitan area. At the same time, there are 50 young French people attending the school just now. In the jury’s view, this is one small step towards getting young people enthusiastic about building up a shared Europe.
The vocational schools’ work was “an outstanding and very tangible contribution to Franco-German cooperation and to building a better Europe,” emphasised Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, and Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister for European Affairs, at the award ceremony.
Bridge-builders and pioneers
“We are delighted that 345 German and French students completed their cross-border training in 2016. But we need even more bridge-builders. The “Berufliche Schulen Kehl” are pioneers in this field,” stressed Roth and Loiseau. For over 30 years, the vocational schools have maintained close cooperation with partners in France, including vocational training schools, training centres, or job and education fairs.
Young people from different backgrounds working together
The schools are not only helping to further Franco-German understanding: around a third of their students come from a migration background. In his speech at the award ceremony, Minister of State Roth said that the “Berufliche Schulen Kehl” had succeeded in teaching young people from different backgrounds to live and work together. The schools had been working with refugees on their campus since 2015. In October 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, the schools had made available a building for up to 150 people.
At the same time, the teachers, with support from the communities around Kehl, had set up four “integration classes” for young refugees, offering language lessons, careers advice and help with integration.
Franco-German jury represents social diversity in the two countries
The “Berufliche Schulen Kehl” were chosen to receive the Adenauer-de Gaulle Prize on the basis of a recommendation from a Franco-German jury consisting of figures from the fields of politics, culture, the media, academia and business and reflecting social diversity in France and Germany.
The Prize, which is worth 10,000 euros, was established on 22 January 1988, the 25th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty. It is awarded to individuals, initiatives or institutions which have made an outstanding contribution towards strengthening the Franco-German friendship.