Before he ends his assignment in Thailand in a couple months, German Ambassador H.E. Rolf Schulze appeared as the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Phoenix-Pattaya’s May meeting.
Accompanied by wife Mrs. Petronella Schulze-Ganzeboom, the German ambassador was warmly welcomed to the Holiday Inn Pattaya by Club President Hubert Meier, who discussed with the ambassador planned projects and his goals for the club. He also thanked Holiday Inn GM Kate Gerits for all the help she gives the club.
H.E. Rolf Schulze (left) is introduced by RC Phoenix president, Hubert Meier.
After President Meier’s address, ambassador Schulze told the audience about his impending reassignment to Chile.
“Four years is a long time and I am actually attached to Asia since I served in Japan and China before coming to Thailand,” he said.
He then explained then the work of an ambassador in representing the president and taxpayers of his country, and how 100,000 Germans come to Thailand every year for vacation.
An ambassador is also a public-relations person and has to try to “sell” Germany to the country he is positioned in so locals will accept and learn to know his country, Ambassador Schulze said.
Mrs. Petronella Schulze-Ganzeboom (2nd right) receives flowers from Juergen Schlag (right) while Ambassador H.E. Rolf Schulze (2nd left) receives a present from Hubert Meier (left).
He noted that an ambassador also has to be a good manager. The German Embassy in Bangkok has 50 employees from Germany and 50 from Thailand.
More than 600 German firms are represented in Thailand and all of them are reckoned to be the spine of the German economy in this country. Many of those firms expect that the German ambassador is there to help them, His Excellency said.
“Yet we have limitations,” he said. “We have in Thailand representatives of all big German institutions and are trying to arrange reciprocal visits to strengthen the bond between our two countries, since a strong bond is necessary during trying times.
“German companies are helping to build railroads and all in all there is still a lot to do for German companies in Thailand, even though 2014 was a bad year for the economy,” he said.
RC Phoenix members pose for a group photo with the guests of honour.
“Germany also brings renewable energy to Thailand and produces approximately 30 percent of the energy, including renewable energy,” he added.
The ambassador also warned expats to be prepared for the start of the ASEAN Economic Community later this year, claiming that all exports will get more expensive.
“Yet I believe that the AEC won’t be a ‘big bang’ for Thailand; everything will be changed smoothly and slowly, but Thailand still has to do a lot of homework. And I still believe that Thailand will be successful since it was always a protagonist for international cooperation. Germany has had 150 years of bilateral and friendly relations with Thailand. Governments have come and gone in Thailand a bit more often during recent years, but the people stay the same and friendships as well,” he concluded.