Young Leaders Connect and Strategize on Challenges in a Transatlantic Context
The American-German Young Leaders Conference brought together about 35 rising stars from a variety of fields for a packed week in July in Berlin to look at key challenges on the transatlantic agenda, to exchange ideas, and to forge lasting bonds with their counterparts across the Atlantic. The overarching theme of the conference was “Die Kuh auf dem Eis: Building a Reliable Transatlantic Partnership.” The title refers to a German expression about the precarious nature of retrieving a cow that finds itself on the ice – a nod to the delicate nature of the transatlantic alliance in navigating today’s global challenges.
Together the Young Leaders analyzed these challenges in plenary meetings and working groups, from the war in Ukraine to the rise of China and from disruption in the global economy to energy dependence. In the American Council on Germany’s first Young Leaders Conference since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the group took a close look at COVID’s ongoing impact. They considered Germany’s groundbreaking Zeitenwende policy, the latest G7 Summit, the future of NATO, climate change, cybersecurity, and intelligence cooperation. They looked at the core principles Germany and the United States committed themselves to in the post-World War II period and the ongoing implications. Lastly, the Young Leaders crafted mission statements and vision statements for the German-American partnership.
The 2022 Young Leaders not only had policy briefings at the Federal Chancellery but also had the opportunity to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself. They had discussions with speakers including Franziska Brantner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action; Klaus Deutsch, Head of the Department of Research, Industrial, and Economic Policy at the BDI (Federation of German Industries); Klara Geywitz, Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development, and Building; Dr. Amy Gutmann, U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Steffen Hebestreit, State Secretary and Spokesperson of the German Federal Government; Luise Hölscher, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance; Eckart von Klaeden (1997 Young Leader), Vice President and Head of External Affairs at Mercedes-Benz-Group AG; Lt. General Kai Rohrschneider (1998 Young Leader), Director General for Armed Forces Policy at the Federal Ministry of Defense; and Wolfgang Schmidt, Head of the Chancellery and Minister for Special Affairs, among others.
The Young Leaders Conference brings together up-and-coming thought leaders from the public and private sectors alike, from the fields of finance, law, the military, media, startups, and more. The conference itself is just the first step; alumni will continue to have opportunities to parse transatlantic issues and connect with one another at discussions in New York City, Washington, DC, Berlin, and elsewhere.
The ACG is greatly appreciative to the members of the Steering Committee for the significant time and efforts they devoted to the conference: Ronald J. Granieri, Associate Professor of History at the United States Army War College; Sarmad Hussain, Director of Government Affairs in the Biotechnology Sector at Arcensus Diagnostics – Biotechnology; and ACG Board member and Steering Committee Chairman Edward S. McFadden, SVP for Communications & Marketing at the American Financial Services Association.
The Council is also very grateful to the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Mercedes-Benz, Noerr, and Pfizer for their generous support of this conference.