Announcing Our 2018 Welcoming Communities!


2018 marks the third year of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange, a program that brings together US and German community leaders to share strategies for welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees.

A group of people stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
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US & German delegates came together in Berlin on the final day of the WCTE trip to Germany, November 2017

We are pleased to announce the 2018 cohort of our Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange.

This professional exchange program annually convenes over 40 professionals from the United States and Germany to share best practices and learn from one another about the reception and integration of immigrants and refugees at the local community level. A main focus of the program is to strengthen communication with receiving communities and to foster strong local networks to better welcome newcomers.

The communities selected for the 2018 WCTE program are:

United States

Anchorage, Alaska

Boston, Massachusetts

Charlotte, North Carolina

Montgomery County, Maryland


Bautzen County, Saxony

Frankfurt am Main, Hesse

Hamburg, Hamburg

Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia

Teltow-Fläming County, Brandenburg

Each community is represented by a team of local government officials; refugee resettlement agencies; and civil society, business, and faith leaders who work on integration issues at the local level. The teams were competitively selected based on the integration challenges that their communities face, the quality of existing welcoming strategies, and a demonstrated eagerness to discover new ideas, share best practices, and develop innovative approaches through transatlantic dialogue. Each team is expected to design and implement new welcoming initiatives following their participation in the program.

A 10-day visit to the US in April will provide the German city-teams a wide-ranging look into how US cities welcome and integrate newcomers. The group will receive an orientation on US federal immigration, asylum, and integration policies in Washington, D.C. and will participate in site visits and meetings with their integration practitioner counterparts in the participating US cities.

German delegates visit the New Roots Refugee Garden in Salt Lake City Utah, May 2017
In November, the WCTE participants from the US will conduct a return visit to Germany. In addition to local site visits with their German peers, the group will convene in Berlin for a final conference with alumni of previous cohorts. US delegates will receive a federal overview, assess lessons learned from the trip, and share strategies for the application of welcoming initiatives in both countries.

The Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange is administered by Cultural Vistas, in collaboration with Welcoming America and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America. The project is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, with support from the European Recovery Program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, as well as by the US Department of State, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and the BMW Group.

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