Trans-Atlantic Policy Staffers in Washington for Migration Exchange

WASHINGTON, DC (June 20, 2016) – The Bertelsmann Foundation hosted the first leg of the 2016 Congressional European Parliamentary Initiative (CEPI) in Washington, DC from June 13 to 18. Now in its seventh year, the CEPI program convenes senior staff members of the U.S. Congress, European Parliament and German Bundestag for professional and cultural exchange during a week in Washington and a week in Brussels and Berlin. The program is supported in part by the German Embassy in Washington.

The CEPI program this year is focused on migration, a timely topic that is relevant to the economic, social, security and humanitarian interests of the United States and the European Union.

Five staff members from each legislative institution were selected to take part in the CEPI program based on their knowledge of and experience in migration and their potential contribution to the policy debate. The fifteen CEPI fellows are diverse in their expertise, geographic origin and political affiliation.

The week began with a broad overview of trends and policies related to global migration. The Migration Policy Institute provided an in-depth briefing on Monday morning, and fellows spent the rest of the day in discussions with senior U.S. government officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security. The Bertelsmann Foundation hosted a welcome reception for the fellows on Monday evening, where they met former CEPI fellows, members of the diplomatic community, business leaders, and government representatives. The fellows attended several meetings on Capitol Hill, where they discussed immigration, security, and economic policy and legislation with senior staff members of the Senate committees on Appropriations, Foreign Relations, the Judiciary and Homeland Security, and the House of Representatives committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary. The fellows gained a fuller understanding of migration in discussions with the diplomatic community as well, including EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan, congressional and Hispanic affairs officials of the Embassy of Mexico, and German Deputy Chief of Mission Philip Ackermann.

CEPI fellows also met with diverse institutions and civil society organizations that focus on migration issues, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Urban Institute, the Pew Charitable Trusts, ImmigrationWorks USA, the Bipartisan Policy Institute, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the World Bank, United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ayuda, Casa de Maryland, Refugees International, Oxfam America, Norwegian Refugee Council USA, and the International Rescue Committee.

The Bertelsmann Foundation and CEPI fellows will reconvene in Brussels and Berlin in September to complete the 2016 program. A central objective of this unique exchange is that participants develop a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of this important policy area, which they will bring back to their work in Washington, Brussels and Berlin.

Samia Yakub is the Director of Communications at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Washington, DC