Grow the Future: A Study Tour to the US on Migration & the Climate Crisis

Teaser Image Caption
Miami's coastline after Hurricane Irma

The Washington DC office of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung is pleased to announce the launch of a new project, Grow the Future - a network of green voices.

Grow the Future will promote the next generation of progressive voices by offering exceptional opportunities for international learning and dialogue on urgent policy challenges. It aims to create a network of promising young activists and professionals in Germany who are leading movements to tackle the biggest challenges of our time--from fighting climate change, to protecting human rights and open societies, to ensuring a sustainable future for the next generation.

For the project launch in 2020, we invite candidates to apply to participate in a study tour to the United States on the intersection of migration and the climate crisis, two of the biggest challenges facing the global community. A small group of participants will have the opportunity to travel to US American cities that are at the forefront of the climate crisis: cities like Miami (Florida), New Orleans (Louisiana), or Houston (Texas), where local residents have been forced to move in response to storms and flooding, while also welcoming growing numbers of international migrants who are fleeing the effects of climate change in their own countries. The study tour will include meetings with local activists, affected populations, city administrators and elected officials, as well as scholars and scientists. Participants will have the opportunity to share their experience and expertise with US partners, and to discuss shared challenges and strategies for political engagement.

Following the study tour, participants will be expected to share their learning with their local German networks. Participants will also become part of the Grow the Future network, through which alumni across Germany will support each other to drive progress on their ideas. A follow-up weekend retreat in Berlin will offer an opportunity to discuss participants’ ongoing work and activism, and to connect with policymakers and experienced civil society actors.


We seek candidates who are actively engaged in movements on climate change and/or migration in Germany in at least one of the following ways:

  • as leaders and activists in civil society organizations
  • as critical observers in the media
  • as students, researchers, or teachers in academia or think tanks
  • as entrepreneurs in the private sector
  • as elected officials or policy advisors at local, state, national, or European level

Candidates should articulate how the study tour will advance their efforts and that of the broader movement. Candidates should generally be between the ages of 21 and 35.

Diversity: The Heinrich Böll Stiftung believes that a diversity of participants enhances learning. We especially encourage applications from women and members of the LGBTQ community, minorities, candidates of disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and differently abled candidates.

Note: We do not require candidates to be German citizens. However, candidates should be primarily based in Germany and demonstrate that they are committed to long-term political engagement in German civil society on these issues.


  • Participate in a study tour to the US: all candidates must be available to participate in a study tour to the US from February 22 to March 1, 2020. Selected participants will be expected to participate in meetings, share their experiences and be actively engaged during the entire study tour.
  • Participate in a follow-up retreat in Berlin, Germany: Candidates should expect to participate in a retreat in Berlin, Germany, several months after the study tour to reflect on their experience and reconnect with other participants. The retreat will offer participants the opportunity to present their learnings from the study tour and any actions taken since, and to present resulting ideas, solutions, or policy proposals to policymakers in Berlin.
  • Active social media engagement: While traveling and participating in the study tour and the retreat, participants are expected to actively engage with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung over Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram to report on their experiences. The foundation will also publish a profile of each participant on the Heinrich Böll Stiftung website to present their work as an activist and/or young professional.
  • Actively shape an alumni network: Candidates should apply not only to participate in the study tour, but with the expectation of a longer-term involvement with the Grow the Future alumni network. The network will be designed to support candidates in their activism and in their careers, and to facilitate an active exchange of ideas on green policy challenges.
  • Professional competency in English


The Heinrich Böll Stiftung will cover all major costs of the study tour, including: flights, transportation, accommodation, and most meals. If relevant, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung will also cover the cost of associated visa fees.


The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC, is dedicated to strengthening the transatlantic relationship through international learning and by engaging with others face to face. In an effort to address the climate impact of international travel, we offset the carbon emissions for all our flights.


Please read the instructions carefully as we will not consider incomplete applications. Applications should consist of:

  1. Resume: Please use a standard US format. Standard US resumes do not include pictures or marital/familial status and are generally 1 page and a maximum of 2 pages
  2. Cover letter: Please submit a one-to-two page letter outlining your motivation and qualifications for joining the study tour and becoming part of the Grow the Future alumni network. Describe what you hope to learn from the trip and how you will contribute to the dialogue during the tour and the alumni network. Explain why you would like to be part of a broad, civil society-based movement to tackle global challenges like the climate crisis and migration, and to create a hopeful vision for the future.
  3. Challenge Statement: We are curious to better understand your work and activism. Please include a short statement (150-300 words) about the biggest challenge you are facing in your work or activism right now. It does not need to be directly related to the topics of the tour.
  4. Reference: Please ask one person who is familiar with your political work or activism to submit a short statement (approx. 150-300 words, in German or English) answering the following two questions:
    • How have you seen the candidate act on their passion for green issues? / Wie engagiert sich die Kandidatin/der Kandidat für grüne Themen?

    • Based on your experience with the candidate, what role does the candidate usually play in a group? / Basiert auf Ihre Erfahrung mit der/dem Kandidat/in, welche Rolle spielt sie/er in einer Gruppe?

Your reference can be a colleague, a fellow activist, a supervisor or employer, or anyone else who you feel can offer the best insight into your work and character. They must be submitted through this form.

The resume, cover letter, and challenge statement should be submitted in English. Include your challenge statement as a separate page in the same file as your cover letter. References may be submitted in either English or German. All files should be word docs or pdfs.

Click here to submit your application.

The application deadline is midnight EST on October 31, 2019. We strongly encourage early applications.

For questions and inquiries, please contact Hannah Winnick at or Nora Löhle at