Almost A Fifth of Frankfurters Have Never Been to Slobice

The International Diplomats Programme is engaged in cross-border cooperation

27/06/2012 | 08:30 - 18:30 | DGAP | Invitation only

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Creating one coat of arms for both cities, sharing a bus route and promoting each other’s languages – during the programme day in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice, the 4th International Diplomats Programme concentrated on cross-border cooperation. This includes the common fight to keep jobs.

The closing of two First Solar factories which is planned for this year is the latest economic blow for the two cities on the river Oder, as the participants of the 4th International Diplomats Programme learned when talking to Christian Hirsch, press officer of the city of Frankfurt (Oder), and Sören Bollmann of the Frankfurt (Oder) – Słubice cooperation centre.

Frankfurt (Oder) is in negotiations with the Land Brandenburg about co-financing the lost revenue and finding prospects for the 1000 people who are about to lose their jobs as a result of the factories closing. The city is reportedly also looking for new investors. During a reception in the evening, the Mayor of Słubice indicated that these could be about to arrive from the Polish side and underlined that Frankfurt (Oder)’s interests would be taken into account in all plans drawn up for Słubice.

It is not only at the economic level that the two cities are linked closely. In the area of education there has been strong cooperation for years. Frankfurt (Oder) already has German-Polish kindergardens, and next year, the first one will open on the Polish side. Still, 18% of the citizens of Frankfurt (Oder) have never been to Słubice. For Sören Bollmann, this constitutes an appeal to further intensify cross-border cooperation and bring it closer to ordinary citizens.

Cooperation between Polish and Germans was not always sought, explained Dr Wojciechowski of the Collegium Polonicum, the joint German-Polish research institution. In a detailed abstract on the history of the two neighbouring states, he also dwelled on the problems that accompanied the establishment of the Collegium Polonicum. In the beginning, he reported, there was especially low interest from the German students in courses about Polish history and language. 

Dr Pleuger, the Director of the European University Viadrina and a former ambassador, cannot complain about any lack of mutual interest  nowadays. He introduced the diplomats to the university’s internationalist outlook. Not only Polish and German students appreciate the extensive range of courses offered by the university. They now sit alongside students from Canada, Georgia and Turkey.

The International Diplomats Programme is a joint initiative of the Federal Federal Office and the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt and in run with DGAP support. Every year, twelve young diplomats from the Middle East, North Africa and South, East and South-East Asia are invited to experience many facets of Germany through this year-long programme. For more information, please contact Ms Senta Höfer, senta.hoefer@diplo.de, 030 1817 4838, or Ms Sarah Hasselbarth, sarah.hasselbarth@diplo.de, 030 1817 1086.

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