Two months ago, I visited Los Angeles in my capacity as Vice-President of the German Bundestag. My trip was centered around the Special Olympics World Summer Games for people with intellectual disabilities, where we met in the context of your support for the German team. I also used the opportunity for political discussions and visits to local institutions on the issue of accessibility and inclusion. After all, it was in multicultural and open-minded California that the Independent Living Movement was born – a social movement working to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently. In addition, my program included bilateral visits to institutions within the scope of Germany’s foreign cultural and education policy, as well as meetings with the Jewish community in Los Angeles. After all, many people forced to leave Germany during the Nazi era found a new home here in California.
That is why I am particularly happy and grateful that interest in the German language –and thus also in Germany, its people and its culture – are once again on the rise in the region. You are now reacting to this by opening your German language school and you aim to get children and young people interested not only in the German language, but also in the wider cultural context. Your special concept of also speaking German outside the classroom, of learning in fun ways and by activating all the senses whilst taking part in watersports, fishing or hiking together represents a new departure. In addition, the beautiful location directly on the waterfront will undoubtedly make it easier for all those teaching and learning together in this location to look to the future and broaden their horizons. And perhaps, as a result, we will soon be able to welcome interculturally trained young people from southern California to responsible jobs at German or transnational companies – or as students at German universities!
I wish you and the German Language School all the best and much success in this endeavor!
With best regards from Berlin,
Büro Vizepräsidentin Ulla Schmidt
Platz der Republik 1