Atlantic Academy avenue to building German, American bonds

by Petra Lessoing 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Sarah Wagner German and American guests attend an entrepreneur workshop in the Atlantic Academy in Kaiserslautern.
Photo by Sarah Wagner
German and American guests attend an entrepreneur workshop in the Atlantic Academy in Kaiserslautern.

The city of Kaiserslautern and the surrounding region host the largest American military community outside of the United States. That’s why in 1996, the state government of Rheinland-Pfalz founded a unique institution here that promotes German-American relations, the Atlantic Academy. The academy, which is a nonprofit association, tries to build bridges between German and American citizens in the region. It wants to create an understanding for a political and cultural solidarity between nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza-tion. Germans learn about American politics, society and culture, and Americans find out about the German side. The academy’s goal is to promote transatlantic understanding with seminars, workshops, lectures, musical performances and discussions.

“All events we sponsor have a transatlantic background,” said Sarah Wagner, Atlantic Academy education manager.

This means they deal directly or indirectly with issues of U.S. foreign and domestic policy as well as American culture in order to find similarities between both countries, to discuss differences and to provide fact-based knowledge from experts on hot-button issues.

“Our staff works closely with the military community,” Wagner said. “In May, we hosted an art exhibit with works from local Department of Defense students; and in August, the annual summer school group visited Ramstein Air Base and introduced Germans to the civil and military components of U.S. foreign policy.”

Recently, the academy conducted discussions and workshops in English with speakers talking about local opportunities for entrepreneurs, cultural differences in business life and networking opportunities for both Germans and Americans.

A free brown bag talk sponsored by the U.S. Consulate, the Economic Develop-ment Agency Kaiserslautern and the German American Business Club will finish this series from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The topic of the talk is “The Kaiserslautern Borderland.”

“In the future, we hope to be able to offer additional English-speaking events and we are looking forward to welcoming even more Americans to the institute,” Wagner said.

If interested in upcoming English events, visit and sign up for the newsletter or follow the academy on Facebook, Atlantische Akademie Rheinland-Pfalz e.V., or Twitter, @AtlantAkademie.

The Atlantic Academy Rheinland-Pfalz is located on Lauterstrasse 2, Rathaus Nord, upstairs from the German-American Community Office.