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Social Cohesion

In the fall of 2022, the American Council on Germany launched the Study Tour on Social Cohesion. Funded through the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), this project brings together small groups of Americans and Germans for two one-week long study tours on either side of the Atlantic. This project explores how communities address diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).

Northern Virginia and Chicago, Illinois 

Just two short months after meeting in Cologne and Stuttgart, the second cohort of the ACG’s Study Tour on Social Cohesion gathered in Arlington, Virginia for an exchange in the United States. From November 5 to 10, 19 professionals working in government, academia, and nonprofits traveled to Virginia and Illinois for a week of meetings, discussions, and museum visits.

Over pizza and pasta, the group gathered in Arlington, VA for a night of reconnection and reflection. Since the last meeting, tensions throughout the world have risen over the war in Gaza. With a rise of antisemitism and anti-Muslim sentiments, the focus on social cohesion has become critical to communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cologne and Stuttgart

During the first week of September, the ACG hosted the second year of the Study Tour on Social Cohesion. Ten Americans and ten Germans met in Cologne and Stuttgart for a week of meetings surrounding the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Ministry of Economics and Climate Affairs as part of the European Recovery Program.

Meeting for the first time in person in Cologne on the evening of September 3, the group quickly bonded. Over dinner and discussions, commonalities in social justice challenges were at the center of the exchange. The group was joined by alumni from the previous year, adding to the depth of the conversation.

Cleveland, Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina

Following a successful program in Dresden and Nuremberg, the Study Tour on Social Cohesion met for the second part of the exchange in the United States. From December 4 to 10, 2022, the cohort of 15 young professionals working in the fields of government, academia, nonprofits, and corporations, traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina, for a week of meetings surrounding the topics of social justice, equity, education, and accessibility.

On the evening of December 4, the group met for what felt like a family reunion. With hugs and smiles, the participants reflected on the first program and projects they had worked on in the three months since they last met.

Dresden and Nuremberg

During the first week of September 2022, the American Council on Germany conducted a German-American Study Tour on Social Cohesion. This initiative brought together German and American experts and practitioners for a week of site visits, meetings, and discussions on how communities in both countries can work to become more inclusive. The group consisted of seven Europeans and ten Americans and visited Dresden and Nuremberg.

On September 4, the program began in Dresden with an opening dinner with Bundestag Member Torsten Herbst (FDP). He addressed some of the biggest concerns in Germany today – including the rising cost of energy, inflation, and the impact of the war in Ukraine. He noted that there are many challenges at the national level which have very local impacts

List of Study Tour Participants

2022 Cohort

Mariam Ahmed
Project Manager
Stiftung Mercator GmbH

Simon Bauer
Manager Policy & Public Affairs
Pfizer Pharma GmbH

Andrea Bell
Executive Director
Oregon Housing and Community Services
Tigard, Oregon

Emily Bischoff
Director of Community Involvement
Northwest Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (NNCDC)
North Olmsted, Ohio

Dr. Uwe Brinkmann
Former Mayor
Bad Schwartau

Judith Davis
Program Analyst
Department of Defense – Human Resources Activity
Arlington, Virginia

RaShelle Davis
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Governor Jay Inslee
Tacoma, Washington

Dr. Lynn Itagaki
Associate Professor
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri

Dr. Charles Herring
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
South Fayette Township School District
McDonald, Pennsylvania

Rina Lopez
Equity Energy Program Manager
San Francisco Department of the Environment
San Rafael, California

Caitlin Moen
Chief Library Services Officer
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rui Marques Pinto
Policy Analyst and project manager
Project Demokratie Cafe Reutlingen

Christin Rettke
Policy Advisor
City of Leipzig

Barış Şahin
Social and Political Scientist
University of Cologne

Florian Schalliol
Project Director
New Localism Associates
New York, New York

David Scholz
Coordinator LIVE – Lokal Inklusiv Verein(tes) Engagement Niedersachsen
Special Olympics Deutschland

Keri Zipay
Director of Business Development
Team NEO
Cleveland, Ohio

2023 Cohort

Dr. Anna Agbe-Davies
Associate Professor
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Cati Bennett
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
Vancouver, Washington

Amy Berger
Associate Director, Dallas
American Jewish Committee (AJC)
Dallas, Texas

Amina Bouayad
Educational Equity Coordinator
Colorado Department of Higher Education
Denver, Colorado

Michaela Doelman
Chief Human Resources Officer
State of Washington
Olympia, Washington

Pinar Dogantekin
Technical University of Braunschweig

Jamal Easley
Program Associate
Facing History and Ourselves
Cleveland, Ohio

Sylvia Fall
Integration Officer
City of Emmendingen

Mark Hanis
Inclusive America
Washington, DC

Jamillia Kamara
Senior Program Officer for Education
The Pittsburgh Foundation
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Anu Karjalainen
Team Lead Social/Youth/Sport

Kimberly Klebolte
Managing Director
DFA Digital für alle gGmbH

Jule Lilo Knop
Social Worker
Kleiner Muck e.V.

Theresa Kodritsch
Senior Consultant
City of Leipzig, Mayor’s Department

Dr. Micah Kubic
Executive Director
ACLU of Kansas
Kansas City, Missouri

Katrin Johanna Linde
Administrator Intercultural Overall Concept
City of Bottrop, Germany

Christian Richter
Scientific Coordinator, Social Cohesion
Berlin University Alliance

Berat Oguz Senyerli
Environmental, Social, Governance – Research Associate
DWS Group

Selin Seven
Architect and Urban Designer
Cologne University of Applied Science
Dortmund, Germany

Michole Enjoli Washington
Mathematics Education Ph.D. Candidate
University of Michigan
Phoenix, Arizona