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Postponed – Navigating Immigration Challenges in the U.S. and Germany

February 8 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

While global challenges are addressed by national governments, increasingly subnational actors such as states, communities, and cities have needed to step up to take action when traditional nation-states have not been able to make progress due to political polarization and partisan gridlock. The German-American State Legislator Dialogue will take on the challenge of immigration, focusing on the role of state representatives from the United States and Germany in addressing common concerns when it comes to migration.

Immigration has deeply influenced the development of both the United States and Germany historically and today. Recent crises, such as the wave of refugees after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, have posed multifaceted challenges in providing immediate necessities and integrating migrants in the long term. Challenges to economic integration and social inclusion persist, including language barriers and recognition of foreign qualifications. Though immigration policy falls under federal jurisdiction, the role of U.S. states and German Länder in successful integration is crucial. State governments can aid integration by providing accessible resources for housing, language education, vocational training, and cultural programs. Recent public debates between the federal government and the Bundesländer over how to limit the influx of migrants and distribute costs for refugees have dominated the headlines. Many U.S. states have outlined the need for additional support to manage a surge of asylum seekers as some states are subject to a greater influx of migrants than others. In this discussion with state legislators on both sides of the Atlantic, we examine the impacts of immigration challenges at the state level and how collaborative efforts across different levels of government and stakeholders can best address these hurdles in light of current affairs.

Join the American Council on Germany and the Aspen Institute Germany for our next State-to-State: German-American State Legislator Dialogue for a discussion with German and American state legislators including Franziska Baum (FDP), State Parliament of the Free State of Thuringia; Senator Eva Diaz (D), Arizona State Senate; and Orkan Özdemir (SPD), State Parliament of Berlin.

Franziska Baum (FDP) was born 1982 in Erfurt/Thuringia and graduated from the Landesschule Pforta in 2000. After studying information and communication management in Berlin, she worked several years in marketing roles in the public sector in Oranienburg/Brandenburg. From 2008 to 2013, Ms. Baum lived in London (UK), where she worked first for the Diocese of Westminster and later for the European Medicines Agency in financial management. Back in her home state of Thuringia, she supervised various projects on a part-time, freelance, or voluntary basis, as there was a start-up fair and a mentoring project that focused on connecting founders with experienced entrepreneurs.

In 2019, she accepted the mandate as a member of the parliamentary group of the Liberals (FDP). Her main topics are education, youth, sports, migration, justice, and accessibility. Promoting the youth, a sustainable education system, sensible digitization concepts, and modern mobility are particularly close to her heart. She is deputy district chairwoman of the Free Democrats in Erfurt, a member of the board of the Thuringian Youth Hostel Association, a member of the board of the Bürgerstifung Erfurt, and a member of the board of trustees of the school foundation of the Erfurt diocese.

As an Arizona native, Dr. Evangeline (Eva) Diaz has called Tolleson her home for over three decades and is now proud to represent Legislative District 22 as a member of the State Senate. Education has been both a passion and profession for her, culminating in a Doctorate Degree from Arizona State University in Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Leadership. She has served in a variety of roles including as teacher and principal in Arizona public schools.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Dr. Diaz engagement in community service is extensive. She has been an active member of the City of Tolleson Planning and Zoning Commission since 2013, currently holding the position of Chair. Additionally, her involvement with organizations like the Arizona Educators Association/Red for Ed, Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center, and the Children’s Ministry at her church highlights her commitment to the community. Dr. Diaz is married with two children. She and her husband own a preschool in Avondale, a testament to their dedication to providing quality education to young learners.

Orkan Özdemir (SPD) is a German politician who has been a member of the State Parliament of Berlin since 2021, representing Tempelhof-Schöneberg. Previously, he was the chair of the local SPD working group on migration and diversity. From 2012 to 2017, he led the policy team at the non-profit BQN Berlin, an educational advocacy organization for disadvantaged youth. He then worked in the Berlin government. Mr. Özdemir studied Political Science at the Free University Berlin.


February 8
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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