Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Meeting the German Ambassador to China...



Today I accompanied my friend, Carolyn, and a group from Tsinghua to meet with Germany's Ambassador to China: Michael Friedrich Wilhelm Schaefer.

We were greeted by Conrad, a friendly young German, and given a short tour and Q&A session. He reminded us that November was the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall being taken down and said they had many events in celebration of the reunification of Germany.

He then took us to the Ambassador's residence where we meet with the Ambassador for two hours of Q&A. I was impressed by the hospitality and relaxed Question and Answer format - it was a truly unique experience.

It was the first time I had the opportunity to hear a German Euro-Centric perspective. So often here in China things are polarized between US and China, but the Ambassador framed the perspective of the EU as an entity that, collectively, surpasses the US in it's economic significance. He was openly able to evaluate the challenges the EU faces while clearly stating the significance of the Union, which as an American was a unique perspective to hear.

He also said that China was not only a 'responsible stakeholder,' but becoming an equal shareholder.

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