Letter from the President
Even though we're closing in on the end of summer, we still have a number of beautiful days left. There is still time to enjoy the blue skies, the beach or the mountains. And there are still many soft, lovely evenings for outdoor dining or a glass of wine. If you could be here in Heidelberg today, you could join your local chapter with our late summer networking Reception on the Terrace of the riverside Marriott Hotel here. It is a perfect day and it is our intent to enjoy it to the fullest.
If you are a US citizen, you cannot be aware of the fact that we are in the closing weeks of our quadrennial combat of an election campaign. There are not so very many nations with an authentic democracy, whereby the person elected by the people actually gets the position. There are a lot of places on this planet whereby people would kill others for the right to a democratic election. Read the capsule below, and read the accompanying article on how to participate this year.
VOTING IN 2016 U.S. ELECTIONS
Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for the House and Senate have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters in Germany alone? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2016 U.S. elections:
Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 elections. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your stateside election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.
Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.
Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Alternatively, place your ballots in return envelopes provided and address them to the relevant local election officials in the state where you are voting.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact your state authority or the nearest US Consulate/Embassy.
Our chapters have all been busy during these past months. Here are brief notes on those who have been in close touch with me:
Kaiserslautern held a major Golf Tournament this summer with proceeds going to fund their successful annual scholarship program. The winners of this competition received their checks at a wonderful summer banquet.
Frankfurt also provided scholarship checks for winners from their annual Entrepreneur of Tomorrow (EoT) program this past spring. The scholarship prizes were awarded on 4 June at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, one of the corporate sponsors. All the prizes were awarded by the Consul General in Frankfurt, with 1st Place of Euro 1000- going to Vivian Roisko and 2nd Place of 500,- Euro going to Ms. Carlotta Gemünd. Congratulations to all the winners and participants.
Representatives from the chapter also attended the Hannover Trade Show where about 450 American Entities participated, and President Obama gave a major speech. They made contact with many attendees and are following up, in particular with Business Development entities. Frankfurt looks forward to expanding the AGBC network. They already received positive responses from the State of Wisconsin and sub groups, State of Texas, Greater Houston, States of North Carolina, and South Carolina. They are recontacting all 450. (off the record, progress is slow but improving.)
Now, the featured report for this update comes from the President of our Munich Chapter, properly pasted here as follows:
"The AGBC Munich chapter has continued its high level of networking activity during the first half of 2016. The monthly meeting programs featured presentations by the US Consul General for Munich (US situation update), the European Director of Logistics at Amazon (Achieving Customer Excellence), the Legal Counsel for the World Federation of Sporting Goods (Counterfeit Goods on the Internet), and the Fraunhofer Business Manager for ICT (The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft). These meetings were complemented by the 10th annual AGBC Munich Exchange, our Spring forum for enabling selected members to make presentations to menbers and guests on passionate topics. Among the topics were personal branding for free lancers, disruption in the venture capital scene, advances in Silicon Valley and Houston, user groups and brand interaction, neighborhood initiatives, content marketing, and social responsibility (with focus on the refugee situation).
With the summer holidays now coming to an end, the Munich chapter is gearing up for its annual AGBC Goes to Oktoberfest on 25th September."
We want to thank the Stuttgart Chapter for their terrific hospitality in sponsoring our last semi-annual National Board Meeting (30 April). They structured a great show for us in the Fellbach suburb, with tours and banquets. In addition to getting our work done, we all had a great time.
And next is our upcoming National Board Meeting in Wiesbaden/Mainz. This is the first national event being hosted by our newest chapter. The business meeting will be held on Saturday,
5 November; but the events are developing now, starting with a special dinner for early arrivals on Friday evening, the night before. Every current member of AGBC is entitled and welcome to join us for these semi-annual events. Your only requirement is that you must register with us in advance.
Finally, a last word on this upcoming election: I am of the opinion that we are extraordinarily fortunate to have the right to vote. I also believe that as citizens, we have a responsibility to vote. Many persons around the world would die for this privilege. Many others would like to abrogate this privilege. Be a good citizen and exercise that right.
Then get out to enjoy a fest. There are thousands of tests around Germany this season, any one of which should be huge fun.
Barry E. Swanson, CFP