The United States and Germany are among the world's strongest democracies and leading economies in the 21st century. We share a set of fundamental values that have forged a strong sense of common purpose in promoting freedom and democracy across the globe.
"What brings and keeps Europeans and Americans together are not just shared interests and the common global challenges that all regions of the world face. That alone would not be sufficient to explain the very special partnership between Europe and America and make it last," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech before the US Congress in Washington, DC on November 3, 2009.
"It is more than that. That which brings Europeans and Americans closer together and keeps them close is a common basis of shared values. It is a common idea of the individual and his inviolable dignity. It is a common understanding of freedom in responsibility," she said.
"That is what we stand for in the unique transatlantic partnership and in the community of shared values that is NATO. That is what fills 'Partnership in Leadership' with life. This basis of values was what ended the Cold War, and it is the basis of values that will enable us to stand the tests of our times – and these tests we must stand," she added.
Modern Germany is a committed ally of the United States, both bilaterally and on the international stage in a globalized world. The problems we face today - from international terror threats to financial instabilities to climate change to food security - know no borders. So it makes sense to "Think Transatlantic" on a whole host of issues.
This is precisely what the German Information Center USA (GIC), the center for public diplomacy at the German Embassy in Washington, is challenging more than 6,000 students at 25 American colleges and universities to do this fall during the "Think Transatlantic Campus Weeks." The basic goal is to enhance dialogue and the exchange of best practices on how to tackle today's toughest global challenges together, by building upon existing partnerships on both sides of the Atlantic as well as by thinking outside the box in crafting new concepts.
In the fourth annual campaign of its kind, this year's Campus Weeks initiated and sponsored by the GIC and coordinated on site by students and faculty in an interdisciplinary fashion will center around new ways to "Think Transatlantic." Campus activities will range from debate and essay contests to campus conferences and roundtable discussions. Other creative related events suggested by the students will round up the Campus Weeks program.
To find out more about how you can join us in this grand transatlantic adventure, or perhaps develop some new transatlantic notions of your own, visit Germany.info/ThinkTransatlantic, the dedicated information portal for all things "Think Transatlantic." Or join us at facebook.com/ThinkTransatlantic - and watch this space.