Board Member Reflections as We Get Ready for the Annual Meeting

2016 Spring Newsletter

Sarah Hale, RBFAA Co-President

I’d like to see Paris before I die… Philadelphia will do.” – W.C. Fields

After a successful and engaging 2015 meeting in the Silicon Valley innovation hotbed and foggy & fabulous San Francisco, we’re back on the east coast where it’s (of course) always sunny. The City of Brotherly Love was the clear front-runner in this year’s board decision about where to host the 2016 RBFAA Annual Meeting. For most of our alumni, the nation’s first capitol city is a convenient travel destination, allows for panels and activities to center around a fairly compact area, and provides enough diversity of neighborhoods, nightlife, art and culture to be a dynamic location.

What’s more, Philadelphia, and by extension Pennsylvania, has had considerable connections to Germany since its founding. William Penn, a deeply religious Quaker who set Philadelphia as the state capitol in 1682, spent time as a missionary in Germany before receiving a generous land grant from King Charles II. Penn’s activities in the Rhineland led to the creation of a German settlement in Pennsylvania and the presence of many freedom-seeking German Christian sects that remain there to this day. Immigrants from Germany sought a new home in Pennsylvania over the course of the next two centuries, and Pennsylvania “Dutch” is the only German dialect named after one of the American colonies.

Today, Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the country, the outdoor mural capitol of the U.S., the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the nation, and headquarters for seven Fortune 100 companies. Like many American cities, Philadelphia faces considerable challenges and is rapidly changing. After decades of area manufacturing decline, flight to the suburbs, struggles with crime and financial turmoil, Philly is climbing out of a 40 year population decline and focusing on attracting new businesses and revitalizing neighborhoods. Having witnessed the creation of two of the world’s most influential documents, the city of cheesesteaks, Ben Franklin, and Rocky will always have natural attractions for those who care about history, public policy, human rights, and urban development.

We look forward to a time of alumni fellowship and fun, discussion of local approaches to our most pressing transatlantic challenges, and the opportunity to engage with new friends. Please join us for the weekend if you’re able, and contribute your own expertise and enthusiasm to our ever-expanding alumni network.

 Jaimes Valdez, RBFAA Co-President

The global energy landscape continues to evolve, with the Paris climate agreement setting a new framework for cooperation. As low-priced fossil fuels contend with renewables in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, I welcome a discussion about what this means for US and European economies. At the local level, cities and communities are taking the lead in implementing new business  models, and efforts to decentralize energy infrastructure are underway. Many of us spent our Bosch year in Germany engaged in sustainability and energy issues, and continue to shape our industries. I am still looking for a couple panelists interested in sharing their perspective, so if you would like to share your work and contribute content, please let me know!

*You can reach Jaimes via email here: 

Aaron Fishbone, RBFAA At-Large Board Member

I’m looking forward to the annual meeting generating a productive conversation about migrant issues and local solutions to the global challenge of so many people being migrants now as they look to settle in new places, on both sides of the Atlantic. As the Bosch community, our members have vast, transatlantic experiences and perspectives that I hope we can learn from – about how Germany and the USA have/are dealing with it, what can we each learn from the other and where is this debate going.- and provide each other and the rest of the world with our ideas, lessons learned, and suggestions.


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