SAGSE President Dr Martin Schlegel
Dear Members, Sponsors and Friends,
50 years ago, in 1967 in Melbourne, Fritz von Einem Joosten founded the Society for Australian-German Student Exchange based on his belief that personal connections between young people could foster mutual understanding and respect in order to avoid conflicts. As globalization emerged as a theme, the exchange extended beyond the bilateral connections between the two countries and built a bridge between Australia and Europe.
Today, in a highly digitally connected world, this vision and the exchange are still relevant and as important as 50 years ago: We all aware and use the ways of digitally engaging with our environment: People connect with friends on social media, we obtain insights into peoples views through video platforms and research facts online. However, nothing is more enriching than the personal engagement and direct conversation amongst people. That is why business people fly around the world to shake hands on a business deal, scientists gather at conferences to exchange ideas and SAGSE each year sends young students to experience everyday life as part of their families. As German Chancellor, Angela Merkel recently pointed out, ‚‘it is better to talk with each other than about each other'.
As an organisation, SAGSE now operates in a number of States and Territories across Australia and relies on its reciprocal arrangement with GDANSA (Gesellschaft für Deutsch ‚– Australischen / Neuseel√§ndischen Schüleraustausch) in Germany. Although slight nuances amongst the different chapters exist, the continued support of sponsors, corporate and family members, schools, host families and alumni ‚– all operating on a voluntary basis - will ensure that many more young students can hopefully continue to enjoy the truly life-changing opportunity in the years to come.
On behalf of SAGSE I wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best for 2018.