Crossroads of America: Issues in the Rust Belt

The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States led to the Rust Belt region gaining international media interest. While the region located in the north-east of the United States was formerly considered the American economy’s heartland and named “Manufacturing Belt”, it has now turned into an area dealing with massive problems. The lives of the locals differ strongly from the remain of the United States, mostly negative. Unemployment and a lack of opportunities create an environment which sees high rates of drug abuse and, in connection, low life expectancy.
This expresses itself in political and societal ways – the feeling of being ignored by the Washington elites and their equivalents in other coastal cities is prevalent. And those who were able to present themselves as outsiders received the decisive votes for their electoral victories – both Barack Obama and Donald Trump had the Rust Belt’s backing.

Discuss the Rust Belt’s Issues and Win a €250 Cash Prize! (Photo by „Thomas“)

The Young Transatlantic Initiative considers the manifold challenges reason to tour the Rust Belt with twenty young Germans by doing a study trip to discuss solutions with political scientists, entrepreneurs, NGOs, politicians, and citizens. But you do not need to tour the Rust Belt to discuss the situation – by participating in our essay contest, you have the chance to win a cash prize of EUR 250! Two runners-up will each be awarded exciting literature on the topic.
To participate, send your English-language essay to now through September 15, 2017! Your essay may not exceed 30,000 characters including spaces. Eligible participants must be 30 years or younger by the end of the writing period.
Find out more about the Young Transatlantic Initiative, the study trip, and this essay contest at and Vice President Mirko Vossen is available to answer any questions at
Due to several requests, we extended the deadline to September 15, 2017!