Wrap-Up: Atlantic Basecamp in Berlin

9-13 April 2018

In a very intense and thought-provoking week in April, 30 American and German fellows gathered in Berlin to present their strategies and concrete projects aimed at modernizing transatlantic relations in the form of an Atlantic Action Plan.

The 30 fellows taking part in the Atlantic Basecamp represent a fine selection of the two previous Expeditions and cover a broad range of professional backgrounds – from economics and law, to governmental policies and banking, to journalism and international institutions as young professionals or advanced students. Their diverse and multidisciplinary expertise has been a crucial asset in developing policy and communication recommendation.

The Atlantic Action Plan summarises the three main projects that the Fellows developed to improve the current status of the transatlantic relations, the main sources of strength and the major challenges ahead for such a crucial partnership. The intention underpinning the whole project was to involve non-traditional stakeholders – i.e. rural communities, migrants, civil society organisations, NGOs, businesses and many more, who have not had adequate possibilities to represent their interests in the transatlantic partnership in the past.

The bottom-up approach proposed in the Action Plan takes shape in three main projects: first, a city-to-city cooperation designed to “help identify and address needs and concerns within the broader bilateral relationship by yielding feedback that can be used in making policy adjustments. This project aims to identify, encourage and support cities that are interested in facilitating transatlantic exchange”. Second, international tandems, a “virtual exchange program with a focus on high school students in low-income areas, who are less likely than high-income individuals to obtain a four-year college degree”. Third, an updated version of the Transatlantic Declaration (New Transatlantic Declaration) in order to address “massive shifts in technology, geopolitical power, policy preferences, and the isolationist sentiments that have proliferated on both sides of the Atlantic since that period”.

To promote their projects, the highly motivated US-German team met with senior experts and officials from Microsoft, the Aspen Institute, the Federal Foreign Office, the Office of the Federal President, the US Embassy, Community Organizing (DICO), a Representative from the German Bundestag, the Federation of the German Industries (BDI e.V.), and the Tagesspiegel. The fellows engaged in numerous productive debates over the challenges and issues raised by the experts.

The Atlantic Basecamp concluded with a Next Generation Event that provided a useful platform for different views on the role of young people in transatlantic relations and how they can play a crucial role in increasing the inclusion of heterogeneous and marginalised stakeholders who can revitalise the transatlantic dialogue.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy and in particular Claus Müller, Ulrike Kaiser and Maria Loew-Gonnert for their support in realizing the Atlantic Expedition. Without the financial means provided via the European Recovery Program, the Atlantic Expedition would not have been possible.

We would also like to thank all organisations and meeting partners whom we met on the way – their feedback, input and insights have been crucial for the development of new ideas and fruitful discussions.

Last but not least, we would like to thank all fellows of the Atlantic Expedition for their amazing team effort, ideas and enthusiasm.

“Keep pushing it forward, young pioneers.” (Saba)

If you are curious to know more about the projects developed by the fellows, take a look at the final version of the Atlantic Action Plan. And if you want to contribute to the ongoing discussion on transatlantic issues, shape the debate and give your perspective, we encourage you to join the conversation at Atlantic-Community.org.

Quotes from our Basecamp fellows:

After participating in the Atlantic Expedition, I have a much better understanding of the US-German relationship, its history, and the current challenges and strengths.

It encouraged me to be less dismissive of Trumpers and nationalists as they seem to be fairly mainstream in the US and therefore need to be dealt with.

We should not take transatlantic relations for granted. We need to put work into it.

Transatlantic partnership is about people! Our group brought genuine and new perspectives.

I will keep up my relations with American students who come to Germany to study. But also getting more involved in the political discussion about transatlantic relations in my voluntary work and at university.

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