The Transatlantic Dialogue Program of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation was delighted to bring a delegation of U.S. American and Canadian political professionals to Kiel and Berlin for a productive and insightful week-long study and information tour to facilitate exchanges between U.S., Canadian and German political professionals on the transatlantic relationship.
Participants gained firsthand impressions and deepened their understanding of German politics on the local and regional levels in Kiel and on the federal level in Berlin. In Kiel, the group learned about the history of the city and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, as well as maritime German security policy. Participants also discussed the health care system and health policy in Germany with Minister Dr. Heiner Garg, Minister for Social Affairs, Health, Youth, Family, and Seniors for the State of Schleswig-Holstein. From MP Gyde Jensen, Member of the German Federal Parliament and MP Christopher Vogt, Member of the State Legislature of Schleswig-Holstein, participants learned how the German state legislatures work and the role of the states in the German federal system. Participants discussed the issues of economic development, commerce, and digitalization with Minister Dr. Bernd Buchholz, Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport, Job Market, Technology, and Tourism for the State of Schleswig-Holstein. In addition, the group gained further insights into the different political parties in Germany, elections, and campaigning.
In Berlin, participants met with MP Peter Beyer, Coordinator for Transatlantic Relations at the Federal Foreign Office to discuss the contemporary situation in transatlantic relations. At the Federal Chancellery, they received a briefing on German foreign policy from Dominik Mutter, Head of Division for Security Policy, Non-proliferation, Arms Control and Bilateral Relations with USA, North, West, and Southern Europe, and Turkey in the Federal Chancellery. Participants also met with MP Michael Georg Link, Spokesperson for European Affairs in the German Federal Parliament and discussed several issues, including immigration and integration in Germany.
Throughout the week, the participants made valuable connections with professionals in Germany who work in their areas of expertise in order to bring their experiences back to the U.S. to supplement and inform their work.
Anne-Marie Simon, Program Assistant, Transatlantic Dialog, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.