FOCUS Selected As One of Five U.S. Partners on German-American Sister Cities Youth Forum

Becky RasmussenNews

FOCUS St. Louis is one of five U.S. organizations selected to be a partner on the German-American Sister Cities Youth Forum, a virtual exchange designed to engage young civic leaders ages 14 to 21 in Germany and the U.S. in a transatlantic dialogue about issues confronting their local communities.

This fall, 11 graduates and two current participants of FOCUS’ Youth Leadership St. Louis program are participating in the forum, which provides an opportunity for the next generation of politically-engaged youth to explore critical issues in an international context, to learn from their counterparts abroad, and to shape how they address these issues in the future. The series of interactive meetings, which run through December 2021, will discuss issues including climate change and sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; and the importance of civic engagement and youth participation in their communities.

“We see the exchange and collaboration with the American Council on Germany as a wonderful opportunity for our youth to form friendships, to build mutual understanding, and to collaborate with their counterparts abroad on common challenges and opportunities,” says Shalia Ford, FOCUS Director of Leadership Programs.

The sister cities and organizations engaged in the project are:

  • St. Louis-Stuttgart – Youth Leadership St. Louis and Stuttgarter Jugendhaus
  • Austin-Koblenz – Austin Youth Council and Jugendrat Koblenz
  • Buffalo-Dortmund – Open Buffalo Youth Action Project and Jugendring Dortmund
  • Charlotte-Krefeld – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council and Jugendbeirat Krefeld
  • San Antonio-Darmstadt – San Antonio Youth Commission and Jugendforum Darmstadt

The project is implemented under the auspices of Wunderbar Together USA 2021, a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Goethe-Institut. Learn more here.


2021 German-American Sister Cities Youth Forum
Youth Leadership St. Louis Participants

  • Emily Dacus – Ursuline Academy
  • Nyla Edwards – Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Heidi Fox – Ursuline Academy
  • Ishaq Karim – St. Louis University High
  • Kathleen Michalski – Ursuline Academy
  • Cole Polley – Saint Louis Priory School
  • Lauren Weber – Ursuline Academy
  • John Yeldham – Washington University in St. Louis
  • Fang Zhou – Ursuline Academy

Advisory Members

  • Terrion Brawner – Soldan International Studies High School
  • Anastasia Cook – Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Alexia Nastasia – Lindbergh High School
  • Essete Workineh – Washington University in St. Louis