Excursion for the Third International Diplomats Programme

Young diplomats from around the world travel to Nuremberg and Munich

06/09/2011 - 07/09/2011 | 09:00 - 18:00 | Munich | Invitation only

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What can Germany do about its lack of skilled labor? How has the city of Nuremberg dealt with its Nazi past? Why does BMW envision the future of electric cars in China and not in Germany? How has the Goethe Institute positioned itself in the face of international competition? These were just some of the topics during a two-day excursion for the Third International Diplomats Programme to Nuremberg and Munich.

As a prelude to the trip, participants spoke with the chairman of the managing board of the Federal Employment Agency, Dr. Frank-Jürgen Weise, as well as with Michael van der Cammen, director of the Agency’s international relations department, and Dr. Thomas Kruppe of the Institute for Employment Research. At 42 million, the number of working Germans is as high as it’s ever been according to Weise. Nevertheless, the Federal Employment Agency is faced with big challenges such as a deficit of skilled engineers or the general absence of women in leadership positions.

How Germany can attract qualified workers from other countries was the focus of the discussion during a visit to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The Office’s vice president, Dr. Michael Griesbeck, highlighted the importance of abolishing bureaucratic hurdles such as the approval of foreign university degrees. Participants asked critical questions about the extent to which debates on integration in Germany are really expressions of “Islamophobia.”

Historical Responsibility

The importance of the Nuremberg Trials for German history and for the development of international jurisdiction was the topic of a speech by Ewald Behrschmidt, vice president of the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court. Following the speech, the group viewed the Nuremberg Trial Memorial and visited the courtroom where the trials were held. Nuremberg mayor Dr. Ulrich Mal spoke to the group about the city’s strong contact with human rights organizations, another sign of Nuremberg’s historical responsibility. 

The second day of the excursion took place in Munich, where the diplomats visited the Bavarian State Chancellery and met with Dr. Jörg Vogel, Dr. Rupert Pritzl, and Doris Schneider, all of whom deal with European policy and international relations. The ensuing discussion focused on Bavaria’s role in Brussels, as well as the state’s international projects and partnerships.

The future of the electrical industry lies in Asia

The importance BMW attaches to the participants’ countries of origin as key markets was explained by Bill McAndrews, vice president of communications for the BMW Group. He sees the future of the electrical industry in Asia as Europe’s opportunities dwindle. Nicola Bruening, director of the German BMW Group Representative Office, commented on the company’s business policies and its view of the European debt crisis.

The final stop of the excursion was a visit to the headquarters of the Goethe Institute, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year. The Institute’s spokesman, Christoph Macher, introduced the organization’s field of activities. The diplomats actively discussed the diversity of language school models that the Goethe Institute competes with.

The International Diplomats Programme is an initiative of the German Foreign Office and the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt, and is organized with support from the German Council on Foreign Relations. Every year, 12 young diplomats from the Near and Middle East, North Africa, South-, East-, and Southeast Asia are invited to Germany to take part in a year-long, English-language program that deals with German politics, economics, and culture.

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