Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top German Diplomat was Student at WRA

In mid-May I had the privilege of hosting the Rotary Group Study Exchange from Germany who are here in northeast Ohio for a period of four weeks. These five young professionals and their group leader hail from Hannover and Saxony-Anhalt and represent six different cities from that part of Germany. At the same time, a Rotary study group from Ohio is visiting their home area. Faculty member Ralf Borrmann helped take them around campus and answered their many inquiries about life at WRA. One question that was posed had to do with how long WRA has had German students coming to our campus for a year or more of study.

We believe that the program goes back to the 1960's or earlier, and it was interesting to recall that Christoph Heusgen, who has made a name for himself as a top German diplomat at the European Union in Brussels, is now Chancellor Angela Merkl's top foreign policy advisor. Two
years ago when Dr. Borrmann took a student group to Germany, he was able to contact Heusgen who arranged for a special tour in Berlin. While at WRA in 1971-72, Heusgen participated in track and soccer and played violin in the school orchestra. He continued his studies at St. Gall in Switzerland and returned to the U.S. to earn a master's in economics at Georgia Southern University on a Rotary International scholarship. His importance to the European political scene cannot be overstated. Perhaps WRA can persuade him to return to give an assembly on international relations.