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680 Miles in Ohio

Andreas Krüger was the featured speaker at ACWA's September 21, 2006, Global Scholars and Speaker Event, Germany in a Globalized World: Opportunities and Challenges for the Partnership Between Germany and the U.S.

Ohio might not rank among the prime destinations for American tourists, but for people who want to understand the dynamics of U.S. politics during an election season there is hardly a better place to go. It is also an important place for German business and trade and a center of history and culture. After all, Ohio can truly claim to be the first U.S. state which was not a colony before becoming a state of the Union.

Akron was the perfect start for my four-day whirlwind tour through the state of Ohio. The Akron Council on World Affairs not only gave me a very warm welcome but also provided me with the opportunity to meet with young students from two schools and experienced members of the business and the academic communities of Akron. I truly enjoyed the discussions with the high-school students. I was struck by by their extensive knowledge of Germany and by their curiosity and interest.

It was a pleasure to talk to the Council members and engage in a discussion about the transatlantic relationship. The morning's session with the Akron Business Community was very valuable to me. I learned a lot about the economic challenges and opportunities of the region, and we explored possible fields of further cooperation.

My time with the Akron Council on World Affairs was the beginning of two and a half more days in Ohio. I had very informative meetings with operatives of the Democratic and the Republican campaigns in Columbus. I learned much more from them than from hours of think-tank sessions in Washington D.C. I also visited the State House. During the weekend, I also visited Cincinnati, Lebanon, Mansfield, and, of course, Cleveland.

If I have one regret, it is that the visit was too short. It would be great to meet the same students and friends from the Akron Council on World Affairs again and continue our dialogue. Ohio has much to offer in terms of politics, economics, and culture. But its greatest asset is the people, and I have to thank the Akron Council on World affairs for providing that wonderful chance to meet some of them. It will definetly not be my last time in Ohio!

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