January 15, 2019
Engage America: What Today's Germany
Means for the United States
Wunderbar Together WACA Grant Announcement
Applications Due by February 5
The World Affairs Councils of America is excited and proud to be among the 200+ partner organizations selected to participate in Wunderbar Together: The Year of German-American Friendship (Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/19).

This comprehensive and collaborative initiative is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Launched in October 2018, the main objectives of Wunderbar Together – to showcase Germany and its close ties to the United States, and to foster the exchange of ideas with Americans nationwide that freshen and strengthen relations at a critical juncture in world affairs – will be realized in more than 1,000 events, exhibits, and activities through 2019.

As many of you know, WACA officially commenced our project at the 2018 National Conference in November, with a keynote address and panel featuring German Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Michaelis and a Leadership Day presentation by Christoph Muecher, Director of Deutschlandjahr USA at Goethe-Institut Washington .
Andreas Michaelis, Evelyn Farkas, Robert Kagan, and moderator Steven Sokol
at the WACA National Conference last November 8.

Opportunity for World Affairs Councils

Now, it's your turn! We invite applications from World Affairs Councils to participate in WACA’s Wunderbar Together grant-funded series, “ Engage America: What Today’s Germany Means for the United States.”

Partnering with the American Council on Germany in New York, as well as the Goethe-Institut and German Embassy and in DC, WACA will arrange for decision makers, policy experts, and opinion leaders to discuss with Council audiences across the country some of the most pressing issues facing Germany, the U.S., and the transatlantic relationship.

As many as 18 Councils will be selected to participate in this WACA Engage America series.

Vision: Dialogue, Experience, Exchange

At a time when transatlantic tensions are high, Germany believes its relationships with the United States are more important than ever. Our countries are united through deep historical ties, shared values, and bold visions for the future. German immigrants have helped shape the development of the United States, and the successful development of post-war Germany is inextricably linked to U.S. engagement. Drawing on this German-American heritage and our common values and interests, WACA's project envisions that a brighter future for transatlantic relations is possible if we tackle global challenges collaboratively, through exchange and cooperation.

Goals: Themes and Audiences

We aim to have expert speakers, primarily from Germany, convey a multifaceted, modern perspective on their country to the American public. To reach wider, more diverse audiences, WACA Engage America’s featured speakers will come from the world of German business and industry, politics, education, science, arts and culture, and civil society. We welcome proposals that inspire dialogue on future-oriented issues and themes that include (but are not limited to) the following:
POLITICS: Freedom, diversity, leadership, rise of populism, far-right parties • FOREIGN POLICY • ECONOMICS: Future of work, future of industry, urban growth and land use • ENVIRONMENT: Energy, climate, sustainability • GLOBAL ISSUES: Migration, health, aging populations • TECHNOLOGY: Digitalization, innovation, cybersecurity • EDUCATION: Research, science, apprenticeships, community college/higher ed • CIVIL SOCIETY: Philanthropy, role of NGOs • CULTURE & LIFESTYLE: Arts, media, German heritage/language, sports (e.g., Soccer World Cup)
Significant visibility is expected – both by creatively partnering at the local and regional levels to expand the stakeholder audience and by delivering high-profile public formats and targeted media efforts.

Wunderbar Together sponsors and partners are keen to build more – and stronger – bridges between our peoples. Councils should strive to include: local decision-makers; established and potential new partners; individuals with little previous knowledge of Germany; Americans with German roots or close ties to Germany; young professionals, students, and youth, particularly in the American heartland.

Potential Speaker Profiles (most are Germans residing in Germany):

  • Ali Aslan, Journalist and TV host, Deutsche Welle
  • Ricklef Beutin, Visiting Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Peter Beyer, Transatlantic Affairs Coordinator in the Foreign Office and Bundestag Member (CDU)
  • Till Brönner, Jazz trumpeter, singer, composer, arranger, and producer
  • Claire Dememsay, Head of Program, Franco-German Relations Program, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Karen Donfried, President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • Ulrike Franke, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Ute Frevert, Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Co-Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Cornelia Funke, Storyteller, publisher, and author of children's fiction
  • Gesche Joost, Professor for Design Research, Berlin University of the Arts
  • Jana Puglierin, Head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Karsten Sach, Director-General for Climate Policy, European, and International Policy, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety
  • Kamran Safiarian, Journalist and political scientist, ZDF
  • Claudia Schmucker, Head of Program, Globalization and World Economy Program, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Christoph Schwegmann, Senior Adviser, Federal Ministry of Defense
  • Ursula M. Staudiger, Lifespan psychologist and aging researcher; Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University

Who May Apply

Proposals are welcome from any Council organization in the WACA network in good standing. While this WACA project is primarily conceived as a speaker series, applicants are welcome to be creative (think: workshop or performance; exhibition or film screening) so long as proposals inspire dialogue and exchange in ways that strengthen German-American friendship.

At the WACA Conference, we indicated that because of the high cost of bringing speakers to the U.S. from Germany, we would ideally seek to send speakers to three Councils located nearby each other for engagements during a one-week period. Councils are welcome to submit joint applications; alternatively, in judging individual applications, we may try to coordinate a speaker’s itinerary with two or three Councils in the same region who submit proposals independently.
As we are working very closely with the American Council on Germany, we strongly encourage World Affairs Councils in cities where there are ACG Eric M. Warburg Chapters to indicate in their applications an interest and willingness to cooperate with them. WACA brings its extensive Council Network, and the ACG brings longstanding expertise on Germany. Working together locally, the two organizations can reach a wider audience. Wunderbar Together events in those communities will be co-branded and held together.
The primary deliverable of Engage America: What Today’s Germany Means for the United States will be a forum, open to the public, for at least 75 attendees. Councils should also provide ancillary opportunities to engage, such as smaller roundtables or briefings for specific groups, as well as school visits. Formats and venues should be designed to encourage dialogue and exchange, with an emphasis on reaching populations not usually brought into these conversations. Civic venues, libraries, community centers, places of worship, universities, community colleges, and public schools would all be desirable locations for events. Additionally, the overall impact of these events would be amplified by interviews with local radio or television affiliates, as well as the placement of newspaper articles and op-eds.

WACA expects all Council projects to be completed by the end of October. Exceptions may be made for special Council programs sought by our funders, as well as for the WACA 2019 National Conference.
Funding and Costs

WACA will provide $3,000 to $4,000 to each participating Council, depending on the nature and scope of the program, as well as on joint submissions. Airfare and speaker per diems will be covered by WACA. We will consult Councils on local hotel accommodations (number of nights per destination). We will also help coordinate flights between Council destinations. Reimbursement will be made within 30 days of the Council’s filing a final program report to WACA.

While a Council's main event may be ticketed, it must be advertised as open to the public, not just Council members. Outside local sponsorship would need to be discussed with our funders.


Wunderbar Together (Deutschlandjahr USA) has very specific branding and logo instructions that all 200+ partner organizations must observe. WACA will provide these instructions to Councils upon approval of their proposals.

Application Form

Please click here to download the Application Form. If you have any questions, particularly those having to do with joint submissions, don’t hesitate to contact Liz Brailsford or Bill Clifford at the WACA National Office.

Proposals are due Tuesday, February 5, by the close of business. Depending on the interest of Councils and our funders, WACA reserves the right to extend or re-open the application process.

Note: Councils that do not apply (or are not selected), should keep in mind that German-related programs and activities that you might host in 2019 could still be co-branded with Wunderbar Together even if they do not receive grant funding. Please keep us apprised of your events!

Last but not least, the Goethe-Institut will run four Pop-Ups in Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Seattle during the “Year of German-American Friendship.” The purpose of these Pop-Ups is to organize events that unite cultural forces and local civil society. Councils in those cities may wish to get involved.

We look forward to your applications!

World Affairs Councils of America | 202-833-4557
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