Ten years ago, the then Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier launched the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH) to promote intercultural dialogue. The network now comprises over 2000 schools in around 120 countries and is a particularly effective long term measure in the area of cultural relations and education policy. With the help of this worldwide network, the aim is to foster young people’s interest in the German language, society and culture. In his speech at the ceremony on Wednesday (6 June), Foreign Minister Maas highlighted the significance of the initiative for Germany’s relations with its partner countries:
Looking back, you might say the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative launched in 2008 by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now Germany’s Federal President, was truly visionary. Because who would have thought back then that in just ten years PASCH would extend to 600,000 students? Or that the number of partner schools would almost triple over that time?
Or that these 2000 or so schools would form a unique, global network extending from Punta Arenas in Tierra del Fuego to Bodø, north of the Arctic Circle?
Contribution to understanding
The Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH) also plays a key role in the worldwide battle of narratives and helps the young people to learn the importance of tolerance, mutual respect and intercultural competence within the context of communicative German teaching. Maas is convinced: “Every pupil who has learned German, every student who has studied at university here, every teacher who has had something to do with Germany, becomes part of a global community of people with a lifelong attachment to our country and helps ensure that Germany’s voice is still heard and understood in the world of the 21st century.”
Ambassadors for Germany
The Foreign Minister expressed his deep appreciation for the pupils and alumni gathered. “You are ambassadors – ambassadors for your home countries, but thanks to your education, where German and Germany are with you all the way, for Germany as well. In a world in which there is a lack of understanding and dialogue, Germany needs ambassadors like you!”
The ceremony also marked the opening of the three-day World Congress of German Schools Abroad, an event organised in cooperation with the Federal Office of Administration - Central Agency for Schools Abroad and the World Association of German Schools Abroad.
Link to the full speech