Video message by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for the kick-off event of “1000 internships in Russia”

01.11.2021 - Speech

“You’ll never know until you try” is a piece of conventional wisdom. It applies especially to young people. Because getting off to a good start in your professional and personal life is easier if you gain a range of experiences early on, trying out a number of things along the way.

That’s what makes the “1000 internships” initiative so important. And I am very pleased that it has been so well received among German companies operating in Russia.

This shows that German companies will do whatever it takes to seek out new talent in Russia, to support these young people’s development and, ideally, to bring them on board for the long term. They are thereby making a far-sighted and sustainable investment in the younger generation.

This, too, makes “1000 internships” a flagship project of our German-Russian Year of Economy and Sustainable Development.

With this German-Russian Year, we are forging even closer connections between our civil societies, academic institutions and businesses – as well as working together on finding solutions to the major challenges of our age, ranging from health and the digital domain to climate change and the energy transition.

Together, we want to safeguard the natural resources on which all life depends for future generations – and, for that, we need young people’s ideas and energy.

Because it is today’s trainees and students who will develop and apply tomorrow’s new technologies for protecting the climate, for example – as master tradespeople, researchers and engineers.

Our cooperation benefits from the exceptionally strong foundation we have laid – over many, many years – for relations between Germany and Russia. This includes universities and companies as well as town twinnings and ties at the level of civil society.

Thanks to the breadth and depth of our relations, we can treat one another with respect and understanding, also in difficult political times, as well as build bridges and cooperate. If, by contrast, we chose isolationism and silence, we would only stir up incorrect prejudices and distorted images.

The 1000 internships that are being made available to young Russians by German companies are not only 1000 new opportunities for the young people and companies involved, and for our economic relations.

They are also 1000 new opportunities for encounter and dialogue between Germans and Russians. This person-to-person and social exchange is more important than ever today.

I therefore want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those involved with “1000 internships” – as well as a special thank you to the host of today’s event, the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

The success of this initiative of yours has already proven that, not only will you never know until you try; but giving something a try often leads to great results – faster than you expect.

Thank you – and I hope all future interns have a truly enjoyable experience!


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