On March 2, 2017 within hours of arriving in Berlin and moments after presented at the Bundestag, the group headed to the U.S. Embassy.
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Trying to make a packed schedule, we hurried through Brandenburg Gate and other historic Berlin monuments with only a moment’s acknowledgment. Upon arrival, Alejandro “Hoot” Baez, Acting Political Section Chief; Scott Robinson, Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer; and Craig T. Pike, First Secretary for Economic Policy greeted us. As the rain-drenched group admired the American artwork in the lobby (we didn’t have time to go through security), we learned how our program, Atlantic Expedition, was viewed by the State Department. “Exchange programs are the heart and soul of transatlantic relations,” Robinson acknowledged. With Germany having the largest number of U.S. exchange programs after China, programs such as ours are seen as essential to US-Germany relations. After a few quick remarks, the group zipped up our coats and pulled on our hoods ready to make our next stop at a Design Thinking Workshop.