November 20, 2018

Representatives Visit Germany to Exchange Ideas on Welcoming and Supporting Immigrants and Refugees

Four representatives from Montgomery County visited Germany through the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange Program to learn new strategies for welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees. The participants, who represented Montgomery County government, Montgomery County Public Schools and Impact Silver Spring, are part of a delegation with similar representative organizations from three additional U.S. cities.

When over one million refugees came to Germany in 2015, the German government had to quickly develop new strategies for accommodating and then integrating the newcomers into their society.

The delegation visited Frankfurt and Hamburg to meet with integration practitioners working for the local governments and nonprofits to exchange ideas. Some of the site visits included refugee housing, entrepreneurial development, and a home for unaccompanied minors.

After Hamburg, the group divided into two groups and each visited a city in former East Germany before concluding their trip in Berlin for an action planning conference. The closing conference included participants from German delegations who visited Montgomery County, Boston, Charlotte, and Anchorage in May 2018 to learn policies and practices from the United States.

The Montgomery County participants will share their experiences in Germany at the next Down-County Providers meeting on Dec. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center located at 11002 Veirs Mill Road, Suite 506 in Wheaton.

For more information about the Welcoming Transatlantic Exchange Program, visit For more information about the upcoming Downcounty Providers Network Meeting, contact Kaori Hirakawa at