Monika Griefahn, Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages a. D.

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Auf dieser Internetseite finden Sie Informationen über meine Arbeit als Bundestagsabgeordnete (1998 bis Oktober 2009)

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On this website you find information about my work as member of parliament (1998 - Oct. 2009)

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    12.04.2008

    Speech: 125th Anniversary of the German School in Cape Town


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    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is wonderful to be here with you today to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the German School in Cape Town! I also bring you best wishes and congratulations from my colleagues in the Bundestag Subcommittee on Cultural and Educational Policy who have a particular interest in the German schools abroad.

    We in the Bundestag have frequently looked very intensively into the subject of the future of our schools abroad. I am therefore all the more delighted that this year our efforts for German schools abroad have been so fruitful.

    Together with Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, we have recently taken steps to secure a significant increase in the funds provided for German schools abroad. We want to make available over 40 million euros to support the work of the schools and to establish a worldwide network of at least 1,000 partner schools abroad. In my eyes, this represents a really sound investment, because we will gain a great deal if we can increase the number of schools and at the same time improve the quality of teaching. We are currently voting on a motion in this regard in the Bundestag.

    Our current 117 German schools abroad provide more than 70,000 schoolchildren with the opportunity to learn more about German culture and the German language. Five out of every seven students in the schools are not German nationals. When, if not in earliest youth, is learning a foreign language and finding out about a foreign culture so easy? Where, if not in places such as these, can schoolchildren enter so easily and openly into a cultural dialogue which almost always continues beyond school time? In many cases, such encounters develop into economic contacts.

    I believe that beyond the business of schooling and teaching, German schools abroad are an important mirror of modern Germany. Take the subject of climate protection, for example. A few weeks ago we voted in favour of an initiative in the German Bundestag to promote greater use of renewable energies in the future for the energy supply to German missions abroad.

    In other words, we are calling not only on embassies and consulates but also on German schools to plan for and use renewable energies such as solar power, wind and water in new and refurbished buildings. There are, after all, countries particularly on the African continent that are geographically far better placed to use renewable energies than we are in Germany.

    Two programmes are being set up for this purpose which will make funds available. One is a refurbishment programme for German missions abroad and the other is a 120-million euro Federal Government programme for improving the energy efficiency of federally owned buildings.

    In addition to climate protection elements, there is a second important reason for this initiative: Germanys missions abroad are always also important symbols and reference points for our country, our culture, our values and our ideas.

    We want those who are interested in Germany to see that our country believes in a good and sustainable approach to the environment. The efficient use of energy is also a part of German society and culture which students at German schools abroad can learn about. So if you can identify possible uses in this respect here, I would urge you to use the funds available!

    All this makes German schools abroad so important for Germany, and for this reason, it gives me great pleasure to be with you here today as the German School in Cape Town celebrates its 125th anniversary. I wish the school similar success in its next 125 years. And I also hope that you will find still more external supporters and backers to recognise and support your fruitful work.

    Thank you very much!