On 21 September, Michael Link, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, hosted an event at the Federal Foreign Office to celebrate the founding of the Association of German-American Centers. This association of regionally active German-American Centers and Institutes provides a platform for enhancing society’s interest in transatlantic issues and strengthening German-American understanding.
At today’s event, Michael Link, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, said:
The German-American Centers are precious assets. Not only do they promote the transatlantic partnership, they also promote democracy locally, for everyone, all year round. They have a broad base all across Germany, though for historical reasons they are clearly still clustered in the south-west of the country. The Federal Foreign Office makes available just under one million euro annually to support the valuable projects run by the German-American Centers and Institutes.
As Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, I am particularly keen to further strengthen the broad network that makes for the transatlantic partnership and to provide an impetus for the strategic orientation of our programmes. The fact that this event celebrating the founding of the Association of German-American Centers is being held here, right at the heart of German foreign policy, in the Federal Foreign Office, shows just how important the German-American Centers’ contribution to the transatlantic partnership is.
Today’s foundation of the Association will create further synergies, for example between the programmes run by the various Centers, and will increase their efficiency, but not at the expense of the independence or special identity of individual institutions. Strong together: that’s true of the German-American Centers as well.
In the early 1950s, the United States established 27 “America Houses” in the Federal Republic of Germany with the aim of familiarising the German people with American culture and values and consolidating cultural and political relations between the two countries.
From the end of the 1950s, the United States gradually withdrew its funding for the America Houses. As a result, some were closed, and others became registered associations under the umbrella heading “German-American Institutes”. In recent years, Institutes have opened or reopened in Leipzig and Kaiserslautern – in the case of Leipzig with the help of American funding.
The Federal Foreign Office has supported the German-American Institutes from its culture budget ever since the 1950s. The Institutes are financed mainly by the Länder and municipalities and from their own resources. The grants from the Federal Foreign Office are to be used to implement projects aimed at promoting German-American relations. The Federal Foreign Office’s cooperation with the Institutes focuses on events and on providing information about transatlantic relations.
There are twelve German-American Centers and Institutes across Germany: Amerikagesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein, AmerikaHaus North Rhine-Westphalia, Amerikazentrum Hamburg, Atlantic Academy Rhineland-Palatinate, Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg, d.a.i. German-American Institute in Tübingen, DAI Heidelberg, DAI Nürnberg, German-American Center Stuttgart/James F. Byrnes Institute, DAI Saarland, DAI Sachsen and the Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations (Amerikahaus Munich).
Click here for more information: www.vdaz.de