2016 was not without sorrowful memories, as our beloved Founding Chairman and Honorary Member Walther Leisler Kiep passed away last May. His vigor and passion inspired us in our daily lives, and his magnificent presence was and continues to be deeply missed. However, he was with us in spirit – and what better way to remember his unforgettable work than to forge on in his footsteps and embark on many journeys filled with inquiry and insight. Shortly after Walther left us, we honored him with our First Walther Leisler Kiep Symposium on Germany’s Policy toward Russia.
Those who participated in our Study Trips, Conferences, and Global Forums around the world know that we have traditions which remain important to us. However, in keeping with our motto, “Wir fahren hin!”, we never tire of visiting the world´s current hotspots. On our XII Study Trip to China, we traveled for the first time to the West, where we learned about the revival of the Silk Road and China’s new “One Belt, One Road” initiative. On our III Election Study Trip to Ohio, we witnessed President-Elect Trump, along with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, leaving us with powerful personal impressions. On our II Study Trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran, we arrived in the midst of a global shift in policy towards Iran and witnessed the reactions of those to be impacted by it.
Some other highlights included our IV Study Trip to Israel and the West Bank; our XV European-American Young Leaders Conference in Yerevan, Armenia; our V Chinese-German Young Leaders Conference in Haikou, Hainan, R.P. China; and finally our Trip to New Orleans on the way to Ohio, where we revisited the projects we had initiated and funded after Hurricane Katrina.