AJC-KAS Celebrates 35 Years of Changing Lives Through One-of-a-Kind Exchange Program, Current Participants Visit Munich and Berlin
Thirty-five years ago, AJC partnered with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) to launch a German-Jewish-American exchange. The AJC-KAS program is the only annual exchange between an American Jewish and a German organization. In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the inaugural collaboration, more than one hundred high-ranking alumni from the United States and Germany gathered for a ceremony on April 22nd at the Regent Hotel in Berlin. The keynote speaker was former German President Christian Wulff, himself an alumnus, who, in his speech, said he had been shaped by the feeling of historic responsibility that he took away from his experience as a participant on one of the first trips.
Former President Wulff lauded AJC for conceiving of the “grand idea” for a unique exchange program that would enable Germans to learn about American and American Jewish life and allow American Jews to experience contemporary Germany first hand. “I am convinced that the alumni on both sides are bound together by a feeling of the importance of fighting xenophobia, hatred, and anti-Semitism,” said Wulff. AJC was represented by Anthony Meyer, the Chairman of the American alumni network and Co-Chairman of the Board of the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute, who said the program “brought new perspectives to my understanding of Germany, Europe, and transatlantic relations, creating a broader context for the German-Jewish relationship.”
Also in attendance at the celebration was this year’s American exchange group, who had recently arrived in Berlin from Munich for the second leg of their week-long experience. Their busy schedule included meetings with high-ranking German officials and politicians, as well as scholars of Jewish life in Germany and top representatives of the growing German-Jewish community. AJC is proud to continue this successful, long-running program with KAS, which both partners hold in high esteem.
Picture: Program participants visiting House of the Wannsee Conference.