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The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Washington Office
Hub for the work of international foundations
Washington – as an international political magnet – has always influenced political decision-making worldwide. Washington is by far the most important location for international lobbying, whether it is for politics, industry, economics, or even science and technology.
The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) has decided to continuously expand the duties of the office in Washington, first established in 1978. What is new is that along with the traditional and central foreign and security policy component of the transatlantic activities, a new development policy element has been added. As a result, the work of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Washington Office is now financed by various sources: the German Foreign Ministry, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as from donations from German businesses and industries located in the United States, in the framework of partial sponsoring.
Along with a director dispatched from Germany – since Mai 2011 Dr. Lars Hänsel, previously director of the KAS office in Jerusalem - and the team of the local staff members of the KAS office are responsible for the implementation of the extensive program activities of the KAS.
Networking, Service and Know-How-Intermediation
Since the founding of the Washington Office, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung has been able to establish a considerable network of personal contacts to decision makers and leaders from the U.S. administration, Congress, as well as from the numerous international organizations located in Washington (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, etc.) and research institutions (universities and think tanks). Reflecting these contacts, the database of the Washington Office has more than 6,000 entries. With the new publication of “Who is Who in Washington“, the Stiftung would like to close an information gap and provide a valuable service for internal political communication about areas of expertise and our partners and associated groups. In addition to providing service and know-how-intermediation in transatlantic issues for our target groups from politics, business and science and technology, the Washington Office acts as an increasingly important promoter of interests for the sociopolitical partners in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The so-called „Trilateral Conferences“ between representatives from the United States, the European Union, and partners from the developing world have enjoyed great public interest. The main goal of these conferences, all of which are conducted in close coordination with KAS-outposts and the governments of the involved countries, is the further familiarization of these states and their regional intergovernmental organizations with international structures. Conferences will be conducted which promote regional cooperation with ASEAN, Mercosur, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern and African states. In 2004, the Washington Office will launch the “European-American Roundtable“ – an Initiative which aims at initiating a continuous interdisciplinary dialogue on transatlantic politics amongst high-ranking protagonists. Cultural exchange and the community of values on both sides of the Atlantic are to be especially emphasized in this dialogue.
Transatlantic Dialogue Program
The involvement of senators and members of the House of Representatives of both parties in the transatlantic dialogue program constitutes another focal point in the work of the Washington Office. Members of Congress have taken part in numerous events held by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Washington. They are sought-after meeting partners for the exchanges coordinated by the Washington Office between them and their German counterparts and with visiting delegations from Germany. Conversely, the KAS-Washington is also an important contact for senators and representatives in preparing the visits of U.S. delegations to Germany and Europe. Moreover, it also serves as a source of information for questions specific to Germany. In addition to members of Congress, the Washington Office also deliberately seeks the involvement of the staffers on Capitol Hills in its activities. A group of high-ranking congressional advisers visits Germany and other European cities under the auspices of a one-week information tour called the “Congressional Staffer Briefing Tour”. In light of the key role the staffers play in the legislative process in Congress, the importance of this instrument of dialogue on the decision-making process in the United States cannot be underestimated due to the direct transfer of information and assessments of the current political developments in Germany and Europe that takes place during the tour.
Forum for Current Debates
Moreover, the Stiftung in Washington also offers a forum for current debates. Topics like: “Bioethics“, “Transatlantic Market Place“, “Demographic Developments and Immigration“ are discussed with international participants in the “Transatlantic Conference” series. In this context, KAS-Washington organizes regular luncheon and dinner forums at which prominent personalities from the German, American and international scenes speak before hand-picked audiences. This kind of event is especially popular with the numerous national and international correspondents located in Washington because it offers first hand information in a direct form. - The “Annual Transatlantic Adenauer Lecture” should develop into a special format of this type. Here, the Washington Office will invite personalities from transatlantic politics to present their long-term perspectives on stabilizing and improving European-American relations to an expert audience.
Cooperation with the Jewish Community in the United States
In the past 20 years the Washington Office has been able to build up a close relationship with the Jewish community in the United States, which has been a pioneering achievement in this domain among German foundations. The roundtable discussions, the yearly exchange programs, and the regularly occurring conferences with Jewish organizations in the United States will continue to take a prominent position in the work of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Washington in the future as well. Over the years, a very thick network of personal contacts between Germans and Jewish community in the USA has been established, which through regular meetings has led to further cooperation and understanding.
In its work with Jewish partner organizations in the United States, like the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Washington Office seeks to promote an open exchange about present-day perceptions of Germany. Conversely, these programs offer German politicians, journalists, scientists, and business people the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Jewish community and the role it plays in the United States.
Facilitator and Intermediary
Industries and businesses discovered the Foundation and its networking ability some time ago. On specific issues and concerns the Washington Office provides a facilitation and intermediation function for German business interests vis-à-vis Congress, the U.S. administration, and international organizations. The continuous flow of political information and analysis to Berlin and Bonn on American and transatlantic topics rounds out the program of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Washington. This flow of news serves as background information for the political environment of the Stiftung. Especially worth mentioning is the strong response to the monthly “Think Tank Update“, which provides insight on the current discussions and debates in the various think tanks in the United States.