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January 2017 – A Message from Dr. Steven E. Sokol

The end of one year and the beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to reflect on the past and to consider what might lie ahead. In the context of the transatlantic relationship, there is a great deal of history to draw upon – and much to anticipate as we think about the coming year. Thirty years ago in June, President Ronald Reagan made his famous speech in West Berlin imploring the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall!” that had divided West and East Berlin since 1961. Next month will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which set the stage for greater political integration and launched Europe’s economic and monetary union. And, 15...

Launch of McCloy Leadership Mission on Urban Affairs and Sustainability

In September, six German local government professionals representing different cities participated in the launch of the ACG’s McCloy Leadership Mission on Urban Affairs. Building on a long history of conducting study tours and engaging in programs designed to give participants a chance to exchange best practices, the ACG restructured and redesigned its McCloy Fellowship in Urban Affairs to have a greater impact. The goal of the leadership mission is to give participants access to their professional counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic and to engage in dialogue on the varied challenges facing cities today. From immigration and integration to race relations and education, to sustainability and smart cities, the group learned how three U.S. communities are planning for the future – Alexandria and…

40th Anniversary of the ACG Fellowships

2016 marks the 40th Anniversary of the American Council on Germany’s Fellowships Program. With over 1100 participants, the fellowships have become a cornerstone of the ACG. The foundation of the ACG’s Fellowships was built in the White House Rose Garden, when ACG founding Chairman John J. McCloy was honored by German Federal Walter Scheel on his 80th birthday. With President Gerald R. Ford and Secretary of State Dr. Henry A. Kissinger looking on, President Scheel paid tribute to Mr. McCloy’s work as a soldier, statesman, lawyer, banker, and former U.S. High Commissioner for Germany by awarding a generous grant that would become the John J. McCloy Fund of the American Council on Germany. The Fund’s purpose was “to further exchanges between the United States and…

Borderland – Undocumented Migrants In The United States

Eleven million people live as undocumented migrants in the United States, constantly afraid of deportation. By working off the books and off-hours, they allow the middle class to maintain their American way of life. Until the 19th century, the United States accepted European refugees and economic migrants with open arms, the Statue of Liberty symbolically inviting the "tired, [...] poor, [...] huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” But since the late 19th century, immigration to the U.S. has become increasingly tied to economic interests rather than humanitarian values. The line between desired and undesired migrants has shifted throughout history according to prejudices and economic needs, excluding Chinese (1882), homosexuals (1917), Japanese (1907), Mexicans (1929), and so forth. “Whenever restrictions are severe, you automatically get undocumented...

ACG President on NPR

On April 27, ACG President Steven E. Sokol had an “exit interview” on a local NPR station in Pittsburgh as he transitions from his former position as President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Steven E. Sokol talks about his work – past and present – to widen worldviews by “shining a spotlight” on international affairs. You can listen to the interview here.

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