Shedding Light on the German Past and Present

Excursion to Nuremburg and Munich as part of the the fifth International Diplomats Programme

25 - 26 April 2013
Event location
Munich / Nuremberg, Germany
Invitation type
Invitation only


The excursion began at the Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg, where the 14 participating young diplomats were able to learn more about a unique characteristic of the German labor market: the dual educational system, which combines apprenticeships in a company with a course of vocational education. Dr Corinna Kleinert of the Agency’s Institute for Employment Research provided historical overview and current figures, relating the success story of dual vocational training in Germany.

At the same time, Dr. Kleinert pointed out the system’s future challenges and risks. She explained that many professions– as before – officially require only basic level or lower secondary levels of education. In reality, however, only candidates who have successfully completed their “abitur” (i.e., passed their university entrance exams) have a genuine chance of succeeding in their respective application procedures. As a result of this change, less qualified applicants will have increasing difficulty finding jobs and will more likely need to draw on social benefits.

The Situation of Syrian Refugees

During the group’s subsequent visit to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Axel Kreienbrink, head of the division of migration research, presented the work of his division to the participants. Among the topics he discussed was the current situation of Syrian refugees in Germany as well as the impact of the Syrian civil war on European integration and refugee policy.

The group’s next stop was the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court – particularly to Courtroom 600 and the “Nuremberg Trials Memoriam Project,” which outlines the historic significance of the 1945–49 Nuremberg Trials for the development of international jurisdiction. The first day closed with a discussion with Martina Mittenhuber, head of Nuremberg’s Human Rights Office. She gave the diplomats insights into the city’s initiatives and programs promoting human rights on a municipal level. For example, the Human Rights Office serves as a first point of contact for victims of discrimination and organizes events with a human rights focus on multiple institutional levels – municipal, national, and international.

A Closer Look at the Dual Vocational Educational System

The second day of the excursion saw the young diplomats talking to representatives of the BMW Group, where they were able to get a sense of the practical implementation of the dual system of vocational training. Alongside topics such as how to promote young talent, discussion touched on the firm’s strategic direction as well as its new concepts for mobility and sustainability. During a tour of a BMW plant, participants had the chance to chat with BMW apprentices and discuss issues ranging from the advancement of women in the workplace to the subject of competition within corporate structures.

The second day concluded with insights into two very different institutions: the Fraunhofer Research Institute for Applied and Integrated Security and the Goethe Institute, which promotes and disseminates German culture internationally. At the latter, Christoph Mücher, spokesperson and head of the communications division, gave an account of the institute’s worldwide activities, its distinctive features, and new opportunities. He also outlined some of the challenges the Goethe Institute encounters in mediating Germany’s cultural policy abroad.


The International Diplomats Programme is an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office and the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt and is supported by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Every year, up to 14 young diplomats from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia are invited to view German life and institutions from a variety of angles. The year-long program is run in English. For further information please contact or visit us on facebook:

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