This month, 24 German integration practitioners will visit five U.S. communities, meet with counterparts to share ideas and strategies for integrating refugees and creating inclusive and sustainable communities.
WASHINGTON – The unprecedented refugee situation across Europe and the Middle East resulted in Germany taking in 1.2 million displaced individuals in 2015 alone. More are expected throughout 2016.
After a political solution is found for the immediate situation, the task at hand will shift to the longer-term challenge of sustainably integrating these individuals into their new communities—particularly those in smaller cities with limited resources and experience welcoming immigrants.
The scale and scope of this problem, however, is not contained to Germany, or Europe for that matter. It is a global problem, one the United States is uniquely positioned to help address.
The Welcoming Community Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE) is one such example that will address the need for cooperation and to share ideas and best practices on both sides of the Atlantic. Over three years, beginning in April 2016, the WCTE will allow groups of Americans and Germans to visit each other’s countries to share approaches to welcoming refugees in their communities.
A total of 24 Germans and 16 American integration practitioners representing nine different communities (five in Germany and four in the United States) are taking part in the inaugural year of this exchange program. They include leaders representing government, business, higher education, civil society, community-based organizations, and others active in the integration space.
More information on the 2016 WCTE participants
A reciprocal exchange program for U.S. and German professionals to address the refugee situation.
April 18-29, 2016 – 24 Germans travel to five U.S. cities in three cohorts
Sept. 23-Oct. 1, 2016 – 16 Americans travel to five German cities in two cohorts
In 2016: Atlanta and Clarkston, Georgia; Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Washington, D.C.; Essen; Dresden; Mannheim; Landkreis Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge; Stuttgart
More information on the 2016 WCTE host communities
To respond to the refugee situation in Germany and the alarming rise of xenophobic movements in both nations by:
- Fostering conversations and connections between U.S. and German integration practitioners
- Building the capacity of integration leaders
- Establishing a sustainable and welcoming integration infrastructure in local U.S. and German communities
Follow real-time updates about the program at #WCTE16
The Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange is administered by Cultural Vistas, in collaboration with Welcoming America and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America. The program is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), as well as by the U.S. Department of State, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and BMW Group.
Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. Cultural Vistas develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Its programs empower people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Cultural Vistas is headquartered in New York with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin. Learn more at culturalvistas.org.
Welcoming America is a U.S.-based organization that helps nonprofit and government leaders transform their communities into more welcoming places where all people can contribute to their greatest potential. Through a network of over 100 municipal and nonprofit partners, Welcoming America promotes local policies and practices that help immigrants participate in civic life and create economically and socially vibrant communities. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.
The Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit political foundation affiliated with the German Green Party. Its Transatlantic Dialogue Program on Democracy and Social Policy brings together policymakers and civil society organizations from Europe and the U.S. to discuss developments that challenge our democracies and to design solutions that promote a strong transatlantic partnership founded on inclusive democratic societies. Learn more at us.boell.org.