Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has invited 1,000 New York City school children to visit Germany this February.
Schröder and former New York mayor Giuliani at "ground zero"
After seeing "ground zero" of the World Trade Center on October 9 of last year, Germany’s Chancellor was visible moved by the New Yorker’s stories of heroism and tragedy. He extended an invitation to one thousand children from families who had suffered losses in the disaster to come visit Germany.
The first group of children is scheduled to arrive in Germany on February 15. They will stay for one week. Additional visits are planned for later in the year.
An advanced party of New York school board representatives is currently in Berlin to finalize all the arrangements. On Friday they meet with Chancellor Schröder who emphasized the importance of such "bridges between nations".
For the long-term relations between the US and Germany, it is important that young people begin participating in cultural exchanges as early as possible, said Schröder at a press conference with the school officials on Friday.
The German business community quickly endorsed Schröder’s initiative and set about organizing the necessary financial assistance for the project. German-American companies, or those with a significant investment in the US have been instrumental in implementing the Bridge program.
Some of the companies involved are DaimlerChrysler, the publishing house Bertelsmann, Lufthansa, Volkswagen, the Deutsche Bahn (train), Deutsche Post (Mail), Telekom, Siemens, Thyssen, Allianz, Bosch, Porsche and many more.