Thursday, July 18, 2024

“A Perfect Match” – Celebrating the Transatlantic Partnership in the NRW-USA Year

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Pauline Kao, US General Consul in North Rhine-Westphalia 

From summer 2023 to fall 2024, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia – lovingly known as NRW – has joined hands with the U.S. Consulate General in Düsseldorf to pay special tribute to the long-standing relationship between Germany and the United States in the form of the “NRW-USA Year.” It is entirely befitting since the first German immigrants to the United States came from Krefeld 341 years. Yet while the historical ties are important, they are only a small piece of the much larger picture today.

As Germany’s largest state with 18 million inhabitants and 20 percent of the GDP, when NRW decides to do something, it is significant and consequential. Such is true of the NRW-USA Year, which is structured to be inviting and inclusive. It is meant to showcase our diversity and collaborations that are numerous, vibrant, active, deep, and found at all levels. The NRW-USA Year emphasizes the importance of subnational diplomacy, the connections between people, the importance of exchange, and that the
security and prosperity of our futures are bound up in each other.

Our partnership is found in wide array of areas such as trade, investment, education, research, culture, the arts, people to people exchanges, sister city partnerships, and more. Around 1,700 small and large US companies hold their European or German headquarters in NRW.

There are more than 30 sister city partnerships, some tracing back decades and continue to buzz with activities in the forms of high school-level student exchanges, fire fighters joint training, jazz concerts celebrating diversity in the arts, and digital meetings too many to count. Many NRW universities and research institutions work closely with their counterparts in the United States – American students together with German youths in classrooms learning from each other, and researchers from both sides profiting from shared expertise.

The transatlantic link between NRW and the USA grows everyday, it is dense and multifaceted, bringing people together, deepening our friendships, trust, and ties, so that we can make this community of common values ever stronger and able to withstand global challenges.

To make this consequential and iron-clad friendship accessible and visible, a website dedicated to the NRW-USA Year was set up. It enables all stakeholders – NGOS, companies, schools, clubs, friendship circles, government entities – to participate and contribute to this concrete diplomatic effort. The website captures and features the many types of events such as exhibitions, panel discussions, visits, exchanges, and trade fairs, illustrating the numerous shapes and forms transatlantic cooperation and
partnership can take. I invite you to take a look: https://nrw-usa.nrw/

When the NRW-USA Year reaches its official conclusion in October of 2024, it won’t really be an end but the next phase of something perennial and everlasting. It has been and will continue to be a renewal of appreciation and redoubling of efforts to strengthen the indispensable transatlantic ties essential for forging a more secure and prosperous future for our peoples. It will be an affirmation of a diplomacy made by and for the citizens living in this community of shared values. Rather than NRW-USA 2023 

2024, we look forward to NRW-USA Forever.

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