On Thursday, May 12, 2022, the University of Connecticut Office of Global Affairs commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Baden-Württemberg – Connecticut Partnership at UConn Avery Point campus’ Branford House honoring a visiting delegation led by Theresia Bauer, Baden-Württemberg Minister for Science, Research and Arts, and consisting of representatives from UConn’s partner institutions of higher education within that state in Germany.
In her address to the UConn faculty and staff, as well as partners from the Consulate General of Germany in Boston, the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, Yale University, Wesleyan University, and others in attendance, Minister Bauer noted that the importance of the partnership extends beyond the over 2,200 students who have had life-changing experiences through the exchange program, adding that this collaboration is an example for other institutions globally:
“For growing nationalist, populist and anti-democratic political movements around the world, exchange of this kind is a threat because cooperations like ours educate. They open young people’s minds. They encourage us to learn more about others, and they make us more tolerant of different ideas. And that is an autocrat’s greatest fear: that we will all come to realize we aren’t so different after all, and we are certainly stronger together than apart.”
Consul General of Germany in Boston Nicole Menzenbach, noting the success of the Connecticut/Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium conference held that week, also stressed the value of German, European and American institutions’ research collaboration on the transatlantic relationship:
“The global community is facing complex challenges. How do we prevent the next pandemic? How do we address climate change, the most pressing issue of our time? How do we effectively regulate new technologies? We can’t solve these issues or problems unilaterally. The United States and Europe, the world’s two largest blocs of advanced democracies, have the capacity and the creativity to take a leading role in addressing common challenges. In order to do this effectively, we need to foster even closer cooperation. The partnership between Baden-Württemberg and Connecticut serves as a best-practice example.”
The celebration capped off a week of meetings and visits by the German delegation to UConn and to Yale University and Trinity College to discuss student mobility, ongoing research collaborations and the role of liberal arts education in the United States. The group also met with government representatives at the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, Governor Ned Lamont and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz. While in Connecticut, the group had the chance to experience site tours of manufacturing industries including Trumpf Inc. and Pratt & Whitney, where many alumni of UConn’s EuroTech program – a program borne of this partnership – are currently employed. This gave the delegation an opportunity to see how the partnership has proven valuable to those students well beyond their time in Germany.
The delegation began the visit with Minister Bauer giving the keynote lecture for the Neag School of Education undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 8th, when she also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
The Baden-Württemberg – Connecticut Partnership was brought into being in 1989 as the result of a legislative partnership between the state of Connecticut and the state of Baden-Württemberg. For more than 30 years, this partnership has grown beyond student exchange to include faculty mobility and research collaborations that affirm the value of intellectual freedom, educational excellence and international cooperation in the fields of technology, business, law and human rights. For more information, visit: https://bwgermany.uconn.edu/.