Münster, Germany – Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe R. Natividad delivered a speech honoring 60 years of Philippine-German diplomatic relations at the historic city of Münster, Germany on 7 November 2013. Münster, along with Osnabruck, is the city where the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648, ending the Thirty Years’ War and laying down the foundations of modern day diplomacy.
Ambassador Natividad was the guest of honor for the 2013 edition of the “Münsteraner Botschaftergespräche” (Münster Ambassador Talks), a biannual event, upon invitation of Corps Rheno-Guestphalia and its head Mr. Dirk Frotscher. The Ambassador’s speech focused on prospects and challenges for stronger Philippine-German diplomatic relations. She delivered a presentation on “Moving Forward: Towards 60 years of Philippine-German diplomatic relations”, marking one of the Embassy’s initiatives in raising awareness on the anniversary of Philippine-German bilateral relations which was established in 1954, through the opening of a Philippine consulate in Hamburg headed by Dr. Policronio de Venecia. After her speech, the Ambassador opened the floor for questions from the audience.
As part of the programme, a courtesy call was arranged with Münster Mayor Beate Vilhjalmsson who personally guided the Ambassador through the historic town hall, including the room where the Peace of Westphalia was signed. Incidentally, Mayor Vilhjalmsson also shared that she was part of the team that helped in the language studies and cultural integration of the first batch of Filipino health professionals who entered Germany in the 1970s.
While in Münster, the Ambassador also met with Ms. Meike Friedrich, Superintendent of the Evangelischen Kirchenkreises Münster and with Reverand Martin Martin Mustroph. The Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of the partnership with the South Bicol Conference of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Afterwards, the Ambassador had an informal gathering with the German-Philippine Barkadas youth group and students of the Annette von Droste-Hulshoff High School and discussed developments in Philippine government and society.
The program was capped with a visit to the German Police University, Münster-Hiltrup, North Rhine-Westphalia where the Ambassador had the chance to talk with Mr. Zeiser and discuss possible training partnership between the Philippine police and the German Police University.
Reflecting on activities in Münster, Ambassador Natividad remarked, “It was an excellent program which opened avenues for future cooperation and made possible through the efforts of a German organization, the Corps Rheno-Guestphalia.” END