Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 05, 2014
Cultural Vistas sent off the 31st class of American participants in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) to Germany last week with a whirlwind two days of orientation, meetings with U.S. Department of State officials, and a visit to Capitol Hill.
The group of 75 Americans had the opportunity to hear from German Ambassador Peter Wittig and members of Congress, who shared their perspectives on the importance of the German-American partnership, as well as how the participants could contribute to this relationship as citizen ambassadors through their experiences.
"Germany is our most important economic partner in Europe. We share common values,” Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Co-Chair of the German-American Caucus, told the young professionals. “As participants in CBYX, I trust that you will be excellent ambassadors for our country, helping bring us together to face many common challenges.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, more than 22,000 participants have had the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s respective countries – studying, working, and experiencing everyday life through CBYX. The program stands as an incredible testament to each nation's commitment to and investment in the German-American partnership.
The experience is also about the individual, which Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) – who has hosted three German CBYX participants as interns in his Congressional office – noted as he addressed the participants with some words of inspiration.
“There are a lot of important political issues why the German-American partnership is important. But this is about you expanding your horizons and learning about another country and its culture,” he said. “I spent three years in the Army in Berlin and learned so much about the German people, and I know you will, too, through this program that I feel part owner of.”
When asked by a participant why it was so important for Congress to support the program, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) was ready with an answer.
“We need exchange programs like CBYX to build relationships between people. That's how the world works,” Bishop, a member of the Congressional Study Group on Germany, responded. “Germany is an important ally and we need you to strengthen those ties.”
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange was founded in celebration of the 300th year anniversary of the first German immigration to the United States. The fellowship annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the opportunity to spend one year in each others' countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program.
CBYX is jointly funded by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag, and in the U.S. is overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Cultural Vistas has administered CBYX for Young Professionals for over 30 years, together with its German partner organization, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange was founded in celebration of the 300th year anniversary of the first German immigration to the United States. CBYX is jointly funded by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag, and in the U.S. is overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.