Two Schaumburgs Celebrate Partnership
Original German-language text provided by Jürgen Watermann, Chairman of the Schaumburger Deutsch-Amerikanische Gesellschaft, 2018
The Schaumburger Deutsch-Amerikanische Gesellschaft (SDAG, “Schaumburger German-American Association”) has been in existence since 1983, thus we celebrate the 35th anniversary of our partnership with the city of Schaumburg, Illinois, which was founded about 170 years ago by emigrants from our district. Today the SDAG is an association of nearly 230 members, ten of which are companies and municipalities. Due to our measures (see below), we have become a permanent institution in the district.
It all started with the first small student exchange in 1985, which took place for about 10 years. This was followed by irregular mutual visits, e.g. from nursing staff and teachers.
In between, vacation trips to the USA were offered at irregular intervals for the members, which included visits to Schaumburg for two or three days.
Since about 1997, we have restructured our work. On one hand, these are individual measures against the backdrop of current events. On the other hand, we have regularly initiated recurring measures. In addition, we also work within the association to make membership interesting.
Examples of individual measures are:
- Sending a doctoral student in history to Schaumburg, IL for six months who went on to write her doctoral thesis on the emigration from Schaumburg to Schaumburg, using the example of 22 families
- Donating a 17-ton “friendship stone” made of Obernkirchen sandstone on the occasion of the opening of the Schaumburg Convention Center with the coats of arms of the two Schaumburgs and the inscription “Common Heritage - Common Future”
- A sandstone memorial stone in the form of a sail (sailed to the USA in 1840) was erected in the community where most of the migrants came from
- Organizing the visit of a school band with concerts in Schaumburg and neighboring cities
- Offering tourist trips to the USA
- Cooperating with local schools (lecture on emigration; obtaining information about the USA, e.g. in the context of specialist work)
Examples of recurrent measures:
- Establishing a school partnership between elementary and high schools with regular exchanges (every other year)
- Regular exchange of youth football teams (15/16 year olds, every other year)
- Regular exchange of “opinion leaders” (district administrator, state-level officials, mayor, craftsmen, fire brigade, and similar institutions) as well as administrative staff (annually)
- Exchange of small groups of police (two or three officers) serving in the other country (annually)
- In Germany: participation in the “Christmas Tree Lightning” and celebration of the “Independence Day” at the American Consulate General in Hamburg. Here the opportunity is always taken to invite the respective Consul General.
Result: As a rule, the Consul General visits the Schaumburger Land every year - a good opportunity for us to work together with local authorities as part of our public relations work (signing the “Golden Book”) and thus improve our image.
Examples of internal club measures
- Thanksgiving Dinner on 4th Thursday in November
- Lectures on US topics
- Factory visits (companies that have branches in the USA)
- Small cultural events such as concerts, guided tours of historic buildings, etc.
- Visits to the emigration museum, etc.
- Regular continuation of the above measures
- Revision of the internet presence
- Facebook usage