CBYX in the Chancellery

On June 12, 350 American participants were guests of Chancellor Merkel at the Federal Chancellery. The Americans participated in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) and spent a year in Germany. Chancellor Merkel was visibly delighted to greet young people. The audience engaged with great enthusiasm when James Roldan, one of the participants, started singing, “I am such a happy individual in deutsche Land.” At the end of the song, Chancellor Merkel, Members of the Parliament and the audience responded with loud cheers and enthusiastically clapped their hands. In the morning, the American CBYX participants were welcomed by Bundestag President Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert (CDU/CSU), several Members of Parliament and Ambassador John B. Emerson at the Bundestag. “This program is one of the best ideas that the Bundestag ever had. Links between Germany and the United States of America should stay strong – with families, friends and personal relationships,” Lammert said. Ambassador Emerson pointed out that as the American Ambassador to Germany, especially during events that have challenged the relationship, he can attest to the importance of understanding the perspective of others. “And in an era when many young people not only question the value of our relationship, but even our shared values, I have also seen how important it is that young Germans and Americans meet and get to know each other; and that they understand each other’s backgrounds, and can see that they indeed share the same values of freedom, rule of law, and democracy.” On June 11, the American participants, Members of Parliament, representatives of the exchange organizations and the Parliament’s administration were invited to the US Embassy for a reception hosted by Ambassador Emerson. The Radcliffe Pitches, an all-female A Capella Choir founded in 1975, from Harvard University, performed several songs and the national anthem. The audience was asked to pick their favorite weird word through applause from words submitted beforehand: Plauze (belly), Purzelbaum (somersault), Flexitarier (occasional meat-eating vegetarians), Dudelsack (bagpipe), Ohrwurm (catchy tune), finally “bagpipe” was chosen as the strangest German word, which Americans have encountered in their year in Germany. We wish all American CBYX participants of the class 2014/2015 the very best for their future! Come back soon!