In 1984 the Robert Bosch Stiftung started a fellowship program that would become the longest running program in its portfolio. The Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program was an intensive professional development program that comprised 37 cohorts with a total of approx. 600 participants. The overarching goal of the program was to promote leaders and multipliers who work in many parts of society and who actively support German-American and transatlantic relations in their further professional careers. Typically, former fellows are committed to strengthening the ties of friendship and understanding between the United States and Germany, both professionally and in their private circles.
The program comprised German language classes, seminars and study trips that introduced the fellows to German and European politics and administration, as well as to economic, social and cultural issues. The core of the program, however, was the work stays, which were individually arranged according to the wishes of the fellows. They completed these work visits, for example, at government agencies, with members of the Bundestag, in industry, at NGOs or in cultural institutions. Not only did the hosts benefit from the perspectives of their American guests, the concrete work contexts gave the fellows the experiences needed to become ambassadors for Germany when they returned home.
Many of the former fellows stay in touch with each other: the self-managed Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association (RBFAA), which is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, allows mutual exchange, organizes discussions on current German and European topics and fosters the interest of its members in transatlantic relations. The annual event features important personalities active in German-American relations, while regional events often focus on specific aspects of current political, economic or social developments.
A large number of former Robert Bosch fellows also engage in the Bosch Alumni Network (BAN), which allows them to participate in an information exchange with alumni from all programs of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. This does not only widen their horizon, but enables them to establish further worldwide contacts in the course of their careers.