Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (31 October) on the conclusion of the Deutschlandjahr USA:
At a time of fake news and conspiracy theories, it is more important than ever to interact with people outside one’s own filter bubble – and that also goes for Germans and Americans. When new negative stereotypes are being developed, we need to prevent misunderstandings, especially between friends. German‑US friendship does not depend on who holds office in the White House or Federal Chancellery, but rather on the trust between the people in our two countries.
That is why we decided last year to invest in this relationship on a grand scale by holding the Deutschlandjahr USA. Since then, we have helped to bring about hundreds of thousands of German‑US contacts. When the Climate Kids from a school in Berlin and a high school in New Orleans work together on local climate action plans or a Texan community makes paper lanterns with its German members for St. Martin’s Day, these may first sound like small steps. However, if we take a lot of these small steps, we expand the foundation of our relations, regardless of all the differences between us in day‑to‑day politics. With a total of 1.6 million visitors at the wide range of Deutschlandjahr events, we certainly took plenty of steps. We want people on both sides of the Atlantic to realise that the United States remains Europe’s most important ally.
The Deutschlandjahr USA began in October 2018 and will conclude at the end of 2019. “Wunderbar together” was the motto of this communication campaign and broad-based dialogue with US civil society, which was funded by the Federal Foreign Office. The aim was to address the widest possible range of target groups, in the United States, particularly beyond the East and West coasts.
The campaign reached people all over the country, both on the ground in all 50 states and online. By the end of November 2019, over 2000 events, with 365 partners and around 1.6 million visitors will have taken place. More than nine million people have visited the campaign’s digital channels so far.