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On Wednesday, 5 February 2020, the first German-American Institute in eastern Germany will be inaugurated in Leipzig. Its mission is to reinforce German-American relations in Saxony at the cultural, social and political levels. Chairwoman of the Board is Professor Katja Kanzler, Professor of American Literature at Leipzig University’s Institute for American Studies.

Prof. Dr. Katja Kanzler

Professor Katja Kanzler. Photo: Leipzig University, Christian Hüller

Last summer, representatives of Saxon businesses, cultural institutions, higher education institutions and the political sphere gathered at the US Consulate General in Leipzig to establish the non-profit association “Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Sachsen e.V.” (DAIS). The DAIS is the result of many years of work by the American Space Leipzig, an initiative founded in 2013 by Leipzig University, Leipzig University Library and the US Embassy Berlin with the aim of promoting transatlantic relations.

Now numbering eleven, the German-American Institutes are independent binational cultural and educational institutions engaged in transatlantic cultural mediation, political education, libraries and language teaching. The network is supported by numerous local private and public partners and by the US Embassy in Berlin and the US Consulates in Germany.

The DAIS Board consists of Professor Katja Kanzler (chairwoman), Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, Director of Saxony’s State Ethnographic Collections, and Professor Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, Rector of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

The DAIS initiative has received broad support in Saxony. This is reflected by the speakers at the opening ceremony. Besides Minister President Michael Kretschmer, the Mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung, the US Consul General for Central Germany Timothy Eydelnant, and University Rector Professor Beate Schücking will all address the attendees.

Chairwoman Professor Katja Kanzler is looking forward to exciting projects in 2020: “German-American relations deserve to be addressed not only at universities. It is important to talk about the US in Saxony and to create opportunities to come into contact with, learn about and reflect on American culture and society.”

Das Logo des Deutsch-Amerikanischen Instituts Sachsen.