German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Closes the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/19 with Calls for Future Transatlantic Cooperation

December 20, 2019

This October, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made an official visit to Boston to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Wunderbar Together campaign 2018/19.

The trip was his second visit to the United States since becoming president. He first attended a historic joint concert by the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, two world-class orchestra that share a conductor, Andris Nelsons. The event marked the official closing of the Wunderbar Together campaign with a night of music and celebration.

President Steinmeier opened the evening’s festivities with remarks detailing the importance of German-American cooperation in politics as well as in music. He reflected the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the impact that American friendship and assistance had during this tumultuous time in German history.

“German unification would not have been possible without the support and without the friendship of the American people, so, dear friends, we have not forgotten,” he told the audience. “I’m here to say: ‘Thank you, America.’”

Steinmeier went on to stress that German-American friendship should not remain a thing of the past and that, much like the two orchestras performing that night, Germany and the US are also “Wunderbar Together” in other ways. Even today, he said, “if we want to prosper as democracies, we will need each other, also in the future, to learn from one another, and to support each other.”

The Year of German-American Friendship may have officially ended at the performance, but Steinmeier’s call for future collaboration between Germany and the US is already being taken up by the Goethe-Institut in North America. The Institute reaffirmed its commitment to the transatlantic relationship by investing in the future of its American institutes, building new facilities in Washington and Los Angeles and extensively renovating the Goethe-Institut Boston. Steinmeier himself was in attendance at the official opening of the Goethe-Institut in Boston, where he welcomed guests to the new space and spoke of the importance of institutions like the Goethe-Institut for transatlantic cooperation and democratic ideals.

His remarks focused on the continued need to build bridges between the United States and Germany and the positive impact that transatlantic cooperation has had on Germany and the US over the past century.

President Steinmeier pointed to the potential for organizations like the Goethe-Institut Boston to keep the work of Wunderbar Together alive, even as the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/19 comes to a close this year. The Institute “provides a forum for people to meet, learn, and forge personal connections,” a service that is vital for the strong ties in culture, academia, and civil society that strengthen democracy in both the US and Germany.

The Goethe-Institut will also be continuing its work at Pop Up Institutes in Houston, Kansas City, and Seattle that began as a part of Wunderbar Together projects but will remain active in their communities throughout 2020!

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