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News Overview 2014

Germany’s Got Talent – Now and in the Future

Gala Event at the Kursaal Cannstatt for the New Fellows in the Talent im Land Program

A German capoeira champion, a candidate on the Voice of Germany, and a competitive female swimmer from the Black Forest are just a few of the fifty new fellows in the Talent im Land program, the student fellowship program for fair educational opportunities. They could have just as easily been up on stage at the Kursaal Cannstatt to showcase their hobbies. The students from the German state of Baden-Württemberg were, however, admitted into the program, which will support them on their path to earning their Abitur (high school diploma), on the basis of their talents.

“The goal of this program is to move a step closer to educational equality, and believe me, we get so much back from these young talents,” said Dr. Ingrid Hamm, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, replying to a question from the empathetic host Shelly Kupferberg regarding why the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung have invested in the state’s talented individuals for more a decade. “An investment in the future,” said Christoph Dahl, Chief Executive Officer of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, because “if we want our state to be top of the list, we cannot afford to ignore talents.”

And as of this year, the foundations are also keeping an eye out for talents that do not have a foreign background. This is because “being an immigrant is a risk factor, but unemployment and poverty in our country aren’t only decided by a person’s origin. They can affect German families just as much,” said Dr. Hamm. Which is why during the event, Christoph Dahl did his best Joachim Löw impersonation and motivated the young people to “give it their all” while Dr. Hamm encouraged them to “not let anything stop you from pursuing your goals and dreams.”

“Successfully participating in the German educational system”

Silke Krebs, minister at the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry, said during her welcoming speech that the “hurdle race to climb the career ladder” is more competitive than ever, and also wished the young people all the best from Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, the Talente im Land program’s patron. From now on, the fellows will be able to “participate in the German educational system rung for rung,” and that this is also the essence of inclusion, which, according to the minister, is perceived by the general public in a far too one-sided manner. “Inclusion means that, together, we create a society in which every person has an equal opportunity to participate,” which is now possible for these talented high school students thanks to their admission to the fellowship program. The minister expressed particular thanks to the schools and teachers, the talent scouts, and of course to the families of the new fellows.

In his laudatory speech, award-winning lyricist and essayist José F.A. Oliver openly admitted: “I do envy you.” This is because a Talent im Land fellowship is a “very substantial recognition,” since the support isn’t just limited to financial aid. “I had the opportunity to read the unbelievable stories about your personalities, and in doing so I discovered a fascinating group of people,” said Oliver. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them,” he said, quoting Aristotle, before coming to a quote by Erich Kästner: “Actions speak louder than words” – and participating in the Talent im Land program is one of the actions which should bring them closer to the ideal of “wanting to be themselves.”

And what about the evening’s protagonists? The new fellows not only smiled from ear to ear as a favor to the photographer, but they were also truly moved by the celebration, the attention, and the unreserved recognition. “I have never experienced anything like that before,” said capoeira champion Jonathan Tekle, impressed. And the great thing is that it’s not over yet. With seminars, consultations, support, and above all, the summer academy which was presented in a film that evening, many more highlights are waiting to be discovered over the course of the program.

(Ingo Straten, November 2014)

Picture Gallery

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Audio

Partial recording of the speech delivered by Silke Krebs:
Partial recording of the laudation held by José F.A. Oliver:

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