The Philippine Embassy in Berlin, led by Ambassador Maria Theresa Dizon-de Vega, pushed for closer cooperation with Hamburg during her visit to the northern German city-state last February 17.
The Ambassador met with the Hamburg Government’s external relations chief, State Secretary Almut Möller and Director General for International Affairs Corinna Nienstedt at Hamburg City Hall.
Ambassador Dizon-de Vega conveyed the Embassy’s appreciation for the welcoming and inclusive atmosphere provided by the people and government of Hamburg to over a thousand Filipinos living in the city-state, as well as to the thousands of Filipino seafarers working on international vessels calling at its port, the second busiest after Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
State Secretary Möller welcomed the Philippine Embassy’s initiative of meeting with city-state officials and assured the Ambassador of the Hamburg Government’s support for efforts to broaden cooperation. She said that as a trading city, Hamburg has always actively sought and will continue to seek external partnerships.
The State Secretary expressed particular interest in the fields of innovation and new technology in the Philippines. The Ambassador, for her part, apprised the Hamburg officials of positive developments in the Philippines, such as the newly-enacted Start-ups Law and the country’s steady rise in the Global Innovation Index as well as the Embassy’s already active engagement with the city-state’s business sector.
Hamburg is home to Germany’s largest port and is considered as the country’s gateway to the world. European aircraft company Airbus also has a manufacturing facility in the city-state, which is the primary supplier of single-aisle passenger aircraft used by Philippine carriers.
The two sides are also looking into a possible Embassy participation in Hamburg’s major cultural events and similar activities. Ambassador Dizon-De Vega also discussed possible Philippine participation Hamburg’s Gender and Diversity programs as well as in efforts to enhance economic enhancement.
In addition to government-to-government ties, the Embassy is also working on enhancing its relations with Hamburg’s academic community.
In line with this effort, the Ambassador along with Political and Cultural Officer Alvin Malasig met with French academic and Philippine Studies expert Prof. Dr. Elsa Clavé of the University of Hamburg’s Institute of Asian and African Studies.
The Ambassador and Prof. Clavé discussed the University’s plan to come up with student prizes for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral theses on the Philippines, a proposed MOU on academic exchanges with the University of the Philippines Diliman, and an immersion program for Filipino language students to be hosted by academic institutions outside Metro Manila.
The Professor also expressed willingness to arrange Filipino film screenings in the University with films to be provided by the PHL Embassy and to assign resource speakers for post-arrival orientation seminars for newly-arrived Filipino migrants together with the Embassy. The Embassy turned over to Prof. Clave a copy of Discovering Dayaw a book by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda based on her NCCA television series on Philippine culture. The book will form part of the Philippine collection of the Institute.
Looking after Filipino nationals
Ambassador Dizon-de Vega also had the opportunity to visit the Archdiocese of Hamburg’s Seafarers’ Mission, better known as Stella Maris Hamburg.
The Ambassador was given a tour by Mission Administrator Monica Döring of its two-storey heritage building at the Port of Hamburg. The building is equipped with comfortable lounge facilities, a kitchen, and prayer room for its visitors.
Ms. Döring was likewise informed of the Embassy’s regular outreach missions, including overseas registration and voting services for seafarers.
The Mission extends both spiritual guidance and practical assistance to seafarers of all nationalities who visit Hamburg. Its Filipino chaplain, Fr. Ritchill Salinas, SVD caters to the spiritual needs of Filipino seafarers who are among the Mission’s frequent visitors. END