On April 20, 2015, Deputy Chief in Mission Jeffrey R. Cellars delivered a speech to students participating in an exchange program between Basel-Stadt and Massachusetts at the historic Basel Rathaus (City Hall). For several years, Basel and Massachusetts have been “Sister-States;” the exchange is a result of the ongoing cooperation of both states in the fields of economic affairs and trade, as well as education and life sciences.
Each fall, Swiss students from the Wirtschaftsgymnasium and Gymnasium Leonhard in Basel-Stadt travel to Boston, while U.S. students from Natick and Reading High Schools in Massachusetts take the reverse journey to Basel in spring. During the exchange, the students not only live with the families of their hosts, but also visit each other’s schools and enjoy a rich cultural program with a lively intercultural exchange. Long-lasting friendships on both sides of the Atlantic have already emerged from the exchange.
DCM Cellars’ speech focused on the value of educational exchange as a humanizing factor in international relations, promoting empathy and mutual understanding. He encouraged the students to maintain the close relationships they have made on this exchange and to seize every opportunity to travel and study overseas available.