Immigration is an opportunity – Ambassador tours Berlin district Neukölln

On August 16, the Ambassador and Mrs. Emerson, their three children together with the district mayor, Dr. Franziska Giffey, toured one of the most diverse districts in Berlin, Neukölln, where 40% of the residents have immigrant backgrounds. The tour showcased that Germany has historically accepted refugees from other countries displaced by war and that immigration brings positive opportunities.

Ambassador Emerson and family on Tour of Neukölln
Photo album of the tour

The stops of the tour were:

  • Café Ole, which was founded in 2012 by Sezer Yigitoglu, a deaf entrepreneur of Turkish origin.
  • The Neukölln City Hall, Ambassador Emerson met the district mayor, Dr. Giffey who showed him the Parliamentary Hall and gave her perspective on old and new immigration in Neuköln, and the needs of the community today. Ambassador Emerson also signed the Golden Book of the district Neukölln.
  • Bohemian Rixdorf. Recognizing the positive contributions of immigrants, Frederick Wilhelm I. invited persecuted Protestants; starting 1737, the first Bohemian refugees settled in Rixdorf. Here Ambassador Emerson visited the Museum in the Bohemian Village which is housed in the old Bohemian schoolhouse. After a tour of the museum given by a member of the 11th generation of one of the refugee families.
  • The Comenius garden is dedicated to Johann Amos Comenius, a Moravian teacher, educator, protestant bishop, and writer of the seventeenth century. He is considered the father of modern education and shaped the education systems of Holland, Sweden, Prussia, Scotland, and England. Comenius is an ideal example of how immigrant communities bring knowledge from their countries which then enhances other cultures.
  • MaDonna, a center, which offers after-school programs to Muslim girls that live in the area,  and where Ambassador Emerson had lunch with representatives of different community service organizations who are pro-actively involved in shaping their community
  • ISOGON a successful company founded in 1992 by Kaya Tiglioglu, a Turkish immigrant, who has acquired German citizenship. The company produces windows, has 40 German employees and 99.9% of its customers are of German descent. Ten percent of ISOGON’s products are exported, many of which go to the United States. Both sons of the founder also work for the company.