"Germany in Europe" Campus Weeks
Enlarge image (© picture alliance) For centuries, national rivalries were a defining feature of interstate relations in Europe. Attempts were made to extend influence well beyond a state’s boundaries. Following the cataclysm of World War II, however, the struggle for dominance was replaced by the principles of peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and integration. Democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law have become crucial characteristics of a united Europe and the countries it comprises. Today, the European Union sets an outstanding example of peaceful relations among its member states, all of whom have forgone aspects of their sovereignty to form one strong, close-knit community.
Yet, while the issue of predominance is past, the question of leadership remains. In principle, no single country takes the lead in the process of European policy-making. All member states weigh in on decisions, with their voting power determined by the size of their population, except in cases of decisions taken by consensus. Still, the actual influence of individual countries may vary. What is more, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe has given rise to calls for leadership, and, in its course, Germany has come to play a significant role by calling for solidarity among EU member states to provide financial guarantees and stability to partners in need.
Perceptions of German influence diverge widely, however, both within Germany and in the rest of Europe. While some reject it for historical reasons or as undue involvement in their domestic affairs, others hail German leadership as a requisite for resolving the crisis and sustaining the integration process. Again others find such expectations exaggerated, pointing to the limits of one state’s decision-making powers within the European Union and to a German reluctance to lead
Enlarge image (© picture alliance / chromorange dz) The 2013-2014 nationwide campus campaign of the German Information Center USA at the German Embassy seeks to raise awareness of recent developments in Germany and Europe, while pointing to the historical foundations and culture of the European Union as well as the future relevance of transatlantic relations. Is Germany taking on the role of a leading power in Europe? Or rather, should it assume such a role?
Participants in our “Germany in Europe” campaign are encouraged to reflect on German culture and history, on the interrelationship between Germany’s role within the European Union, the process of European integration, and the future of the transatlantic partnership. Will the future see a more German Europe or a more European Germany?
How will students engage in the debate?
The Embassy’s German Information Center (GIC) will stimulate discussion about Germany’s international role by encouraging university discussion about policy and economics in Europe. Partner universities will hold competitions seeking the best essays, debates, policy papers or posters in which students outline their unique perspectives. More than 6,000 students will be reached through this campaign.
To highlight Germany’s distinctive culture and arouse student interest, universities will also host events including a Schnitzeljagd (scavenger hunt), German movie screenings and “Euro-cup” soccer tournaments. Students can learn about Germany’s Christmas traditions at one university’s Nikolaustag, or sample German food at a university Oktoberfest.
Enlarge image (© Auswärtiges Amt) Across the United States, “Germany in Europe” discussions will erupt in debate, with students assuming the roles of EU politicians in videotaped Model European Union negotiations and competing in poetry slams. Campus conferences, speaker events, blogs, Twitter hashtags and Europe Day celebrations will ensure that the conversation carries on outside the classroom.
The GIC will provide printed materials, coursework and financial support for universities enrolled in the 2013-2014 Campus Weeks program.
Did you know that one university designed our beautiful "Germany in Europe" logo before the start of the campaign? We'd like to extend our thanks to University of Baltimore Professor T. James O'Donnell and M.A. students Beth Varden, Callan Silver and Emily Kunz for their hard work over the summer.
“Our enrollments in Beginning German increased by 30 percent this year. We have more and more students interested in studying abroad in Berlin. The number of students deciding to declare German as their major has also increased markedly.” – Brown University, Participant in “Think Transatlantic” and “Germany in Europe” Campus Weeks
Enlarge image The "Germany in Europe" logo was developed by University of Baltimore Professor T. James O'Donnell and M.A. students Beth Varden, Callan Silver and Emily Kunz. (© Germany.info) “Keep doing these! They are a great way to bring today’s Germany to people’s attention. Even people who generally don’t attend the events are already asking me now what this year’s topic will be. It’s getting positive impressions of Germany to people all over campus and that carries beyond.” – Participant in the “Think Transatlantic” Campus Weeks
“I would not be surprised if a number of students were to consider studying abroad, doing internships or at least visiting Germany after what they have seen. Germany was put on the map for them with these events – and for many of them it is a Germany they didn’t know.” - Participant in the “Think Transatlantic” Campus Weeks