Birthday song for the chancellor

Young leaders from Brazil, China, India, Russia and the USA met Angela Merkel in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin at the end of their year as German Chancellor Fellows.

Every year, German Chancellor Fellows of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation meet the chancellor, a meeting that marks the beginning of the end of their one-year stay in Germany. The Humboldt Foundation uses the German Chancellor Fellowship Programme, which is conducted under the patronage of the German chancellor, to foster young leaders from Brazil, China, India, Russia and the USA. The final visit this year was held on the day after Chancellor Angela Merkel's birthday. The fellows did not want to miss the opportunity to personally congratulate her. Together they formed an impromptu international choir with members from five countries who sang a birthday song wishing her the best – in German, of course. "It was a perfect surprise," the chancellor said.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel receives the current German Chancellor Fellows in Berlin on 18 July 2017.
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel receives the current German Chancellor Fellows in Berlin on 18 July 2017.
Photo: The Federal Government/Guido Bergmann

Young leaders report on their experiences in Germany

Singing wasn't the only activity for the day. The agenda also included serious political discussions: in the Federal Chancellery, Christoph Heusgen, the chancellor's foreign and security policy adviser, provided insights into German foreign policy. During the following discussion session in the Federal Foreign Office, Heidrun Tempel, Director for International Research and Academic Relations Policy, Public Diplomacy, and Dialogue between Cultures, and Rüdiger Wolfrum, Managing Director of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, showed keen interest in the fellows' experiences in Germany. The fellows took advantage of the opportunity not just to share their experiences but also to ask questions. The range of subjects extended from media, architecture and the integration of refugees all the way to Germany and Europe during the current election year.

Dinner in the Federal Foreign Office's International Club together with embassy and ministry representatives, and the presentation of Fellowship certificates by the Humboldt Foundation's President Helmut Schwarz provided the festive conclusion of the last joint event of all current fellows.

New German Chancellor Fellowship year began in July with a German language course

The latest batch of German Chancellor Fellows has already begun its stay in Germany. In July a total of 42 young leaders arrived in Germany ‒ and began their year with intensive German classes. The new fellowship year begins officially in October with an introductory seminar that offers the young leaders receive extensive insights into the political, economic, cultural and social situation in Germany. The German Chancellor Fellows will also deal with intercultural challenges and bilateral and multilateral relations.

Working on a project of their choice

The German Chancellor Fellowship Programme awards up to ten fellowships to young leaders from the USA, Russia, China, Brazil and India every year. The German Chancellor Fellowships are financed through funding provided by the Foreign Office. During their one-year stay in Germany, German Chancellor Fellows carry out a project of their choice together with specialist colleagues at a German host institute. Applications for the 2018/2019 German Chancellor Fellowship year may be submitted until 15 September 2017.


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