Though the majority of German-American relations takes place in the KMC, the German-American Institute is not located here. Instead, it can be found in the city of Saarbrücken.
Some may wonder why an institute revolving around German and American relationships is located 40 minutes away from the air base that brought the Americans to the area. But it wasn’t always this way.
In fact, the German- American Institute was once located in Kaiserslautern, and it was called “Amerika-
haus.” The institute called Kaiserslautern home until the tiny state of Saarland, which had been under French administration after World War II, was returned to Germany. At this time, the American government wanted the Saarlanders to learn about American values, democracy, history and politics, so the “Amerikahaus” was moved to Saarbrücken and renamed to the “Deutsch Amerikanisches Institute DAI.”
Today, the institute is committed to enhancing German- American understanding, and teaches Germans about American history, politics, values and more. The inst tute also reaches out to local schools and holds workshops on sports, including one run by the Saarland Hurricanes,
a local American football team.
The institute also helps German high school students earn a place in an American high school as exchange students, they host American literature reading groups and they organize lectures on virtually anything American.
Starting in April, the institute will run a series of lectures on American religion, and in the fall, they will organize events centered
around popular American television series.
The German-American Institute has moved several times within the city of Saarbrücken from one bank of the River Saar to the other. The institute also received overwhelming support from the local population after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Over the years, the institute has become a recognized cultural institution within the city.
Financed by the state of Saarland and the American Department of State, among others, the institute has become one of friendship that reaches out to both the American and German communities.
Even American exchange students who come to Europe to study at local universities support the institute. The University of Saarland runs exchange programs with the universities of Missouri, Boise, Hillsdale and Michigan.
The institute has also proven helpful in getting German teachers in contact with American schools and vice versa.
For more information on the German-American Institute, visit the German website at www.dai-sb.de, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0681-31160.
The institute is located at Talstr. 14, 66119 Saarbrücken.
(Courtesy of German-American Institute)