Welcome address by Minister of State Müntefering on the occasion of the pre-opening of the German Haus as part of the South by Southwest Conference

07.03.2019 - Speech

Thank you very much for coming to our “wunderbar together” reception here at the German Haus!

It’s true: today is women’s day. AND: this is NOT fake news. And I take the amount of man all around here as a proof that we still need it.

However, we’re happy to be here tonight with “wunderbar together” at the world’s greatest and best-known convention for the digital, music and creative industries.

The leading creatives of the branch get together here with representatives from politics, business, the media and society to discuss fascinating issues of the present and the future:

  • How is the new digital technology changing the world?
  • What opportunities, what risks does it bring?

  • What will work look like in the future?
  • How digital can education be, how digital does it have to be today in the 21st century?
  • What conditions do we need for this and, of course:
  • What impact does digital technology have on us as human beings?

It’s great that we can all celebrate the start of “wunderbar together” at the German Haus tonight – incidentally, also because it gives us another opportunity to highlight the excellent cooperation among the German Government departments.

I would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to the Federal Economics Ministry and the “Initiative Musik”, which the German Haus is curating.

“Wunderbar together” is not only our vision for this evening but also – you’ve probably guessed: our vision for German-American relations as a whole.

The USA continues to be our most important partner outside Europe.

We have so much in common:

Our shared history, as well as close and intensive cultural and economic relations.

More than 50 million Americans claim to have German roots;

every year thousands of German high school and college students come to the USA for exchange.

We want to celebrate and honour all of this – and much more – during the Deutschlandjahr:

With over 1000 events in all 50 states, not only in the major metropolitan areas on the East and West Coasts but also, and most especially, in the heart of the country such as here at the SXSW in Austin, Texas.

At the same time, we’re also aware that even if shared values and interests have shaped German-American relations over many generations, “America First” and a series of unilateral decisions by the U.S. Administration have also led to uncertainty among Western partners.

Despite everything, however, it’s important that we maintain our dialogue with the U.S. Administration.

As part of our cultural relations and education policy, we are making diverse offers of dialogue based on the solid foundation of our strong civil societies on both sides of the Atlantic.

That’s why we are creating opportunities such as this one here in Austin, which allows us to have an exchange and develop a positive agenda for our partnership, bringing people TOGETHER.

We are convinced, we can achieve more together. And we only can find answers to the global questions together.

We need a “together” – ideally, a “wunderbar together”.

The Deutschlandjahr USA is already a great boon to German-American relations.

It underscores once again that people in Germany and America still take an interest in each other.

More than 250 project partners on both sides are building digital bridges and – almost certainly – also some personal bridges between our countries.

Here at the SXSW, and at the German Haus in particular, German players from the creative, music and digital industries such as re:publica, Reeperbahn Festival, next media accelerator, are networking with their American and international Partners.

Building on this platform of creative transfer, cultural co-production in the digital space and beyond can later be continued across borders – very much in the vein of “wunderbar together”.

I’m looking forward to discuss these important issues during the next few days and hope I can take some ideas for our cultural relations and education policy back to Germany with me.

Coming back to the “womans day”! We call out for more women in senior positions – in politics and creative industries!

I’m delighted to see, we are already have strong women among us.

AND: There have been some good initiatives. And digital technologies give us many opportunities of balancing work and family life. I am sure that this will be a topic also here in the German House.

Dear friends, in berlin we found a pragmatic way with dealing with women’s day - the berlin senate created a holiday for today. So join us: start partying with us.

It now gives me great pleasure to hand over to Christoph Mücher, the project manager of the Deutschlandjahr USA, who will present some of the flagship projects of “wunderbar together”.


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