GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Jan. 24, 2019) - The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies German Element cohosted a New Year's reception with the City of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to honor the German-American partnership at the Kongresshaus (Congress Hall) Jan. 23 here.

More than 500 townspeople, Marshall Center staff and faculty, and officials from the NATO School Oberammergau and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria attended the event.

The annual event included speeches from the Lord Mayor of Garmisch-Partenkirchen Dr. Sigrid Meierhofer and the Marshall Center Director retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton.

"Let me first of all wish you and your families a year of happiness and good health," said Meierhofer as she began her speech. "My hope for all of us is that we will be able to meet the challenges ahead by engaging in a constructive dialog, aware of our responsibility and trust in each other."
She then spoke about the challenges, such as the recent snow storm that hit this small town in Bavaria, bordering Austria, and the increased traffic in town. She also talked about the future construction projects here, such as the upgrading of several schools.

Throughout her speech she talked about volunteering to include thanking them during the recent weather conditions and how one can volunteer in the community.

This was the ninth time that Dayton spoke at this annual event on behalf of the Marshall Center. He spoke in German throughout his speech.
"Over these past years I have come to know many of you, and this beautiful Werdenfelser Land. It is a privilege for an American to live in this warm and welcoming community," said Dayton as he began his speech. "Thank you very much for your kindness and hospitality to us and to all members of the Marshall Center, to include our students."

He then introduced the senior Marshall Center faculty and staff who were present at the event, and asked them to stand so the audience could see them.

"My German friends, these people work every day to create a safer and more secure Europe, Eurasia and world for us, for our children, and our grandchildren," he said.

Dayton then talked about the past year to include several new initiatives like "Balkans 360," which responds to a critical U.S. and German interest in the Western Balkans, a seminar on Euro-African Security Challenges; and the success of the European Security Seminar-North.

"This past year of 2018 has been a very good one for your Marshall Center," Dayton said. "We have strengthened our position as a vital enterprise linking Germany and the United States in the business of security capacity development in Europe, Eurasia and beyond."

The Gebirgsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr, based on Artillery Kaserne, provided live music, playing several selections and ending the evening with the Bavarian Anthem, National Anthem of the United States and German National Anthem. A reception followed the event.

The Marshall Center German Element cohosts this event each year, as well as the annual Garmisch-Partenkirchen German Reunification Day celebration.