On May 22, 2014, the U.S. Embassy and the German Bundestag celebrated 30 successful years of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX). To mark this anniversary, the Embassy and the Bundestag launched a full program of events that characterized the significant influence of the CBYX program in German-American relations. Ambassador Emerson hosted over 400 guests for the 30th anniversary “Berlin Day” celebration at the US Embassy in Berlin. In addition to the CBYX’ers, many German alumni, host parents, and representatives of the German Bundestag and exchange organizations also attended the event. The Berlin Day, which marks the end of an exciting year abroad for the American participants, included a session with Foreign Service Officers and Specialists to talk about career options in the Foreign Service as well as the roles and functions of the Embassy in Germany, performances by the a capella group the Yale Alley Cats and a German world raffle. Ambassador Emerson challenged the students to post their funniest German word through one of the various social media sites, of which the winner would be announced later during the day at the U.S. Embassy. The Ambassador concluded the event by announcing the winner of the funniest German word to be “Dingsbums”. Also, participants had the opportunity for photographs with peers from their home U.S. state and home German Länder. All 50 U.S. States and 16 German Laender were represented. Photos can be seen on the Embassy’s Flickr album.
Following the U.S. Embassy event, Ambassador Emerson joined Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, and many Members of the German Federal Parliament in celebrating the anniversary with the current participants, German alumni from 30 years of CBYX, representatives from exchange organizations the and Bundestag in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program (CBYX). Following a discussion with President Lammert, Ambassador Emerson, Vice President Singhammer and six Members of Parliament, the celebration continued with a panel discussion with host families, and alumni about the long-term impact of the program, a dinner reception, and a visit of the Reichtstags cupola. This special day also marked the end of the exchange year of the 350 American participants in Germany and included a morning plenary session and discussion with Members of Parliament on current political issues in Germany. Ambassador Emerson stressed the importance of the CBYX program by saying, “Over the last 30 years, over 21,000 young people participated, with countless more citizens in host families, schools and towns sharing in the exchange and feeling the impact.” Photos can be seen on the Embassy’s Flickr album.