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Dr. Klaus Otto Schmidt, Consul général

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Dr. Klaus Otto Schmidt, Generalkonsul
Dr. Klaus Otto Schmidt, Generalkonsul© GKChengdu/Schmidt
Dear Readers,

I now have it in writing: My active service as a civil servant will end on June 30, 2022. After more than forty years in public service, at state and federal level, it will soon be time to say goodbye to Vancouver.

I have spent about a fifth of those four decades in Canada, from 1991-1995 in Ottawa and from 2018-2022 in Vancouver. When I boarded the Lufthansa plane bound for Toronto on a cold January day in Frankfurt in 1991, armored personnel carriers were parked on the runway. The Balkan war was about to begin, and Germany and German institutions abroad received threatening letters from extremist groups. What will it look like at the beginning of July 2022 when I come back to Germany from Vancouver? The Russian invasion of Ukraine shattered some illusions. We are being shown drastically that freedom, peace and the defense of our democracy do not come for free. During my time as a press officer at the embassy in Ottawa, which I fondly remember, Canadian troops were withdrawn from Germany in 1994. « Memories of Lahr » was the subject of an event on August 6, 1994, which we organized as a small thank you for the Canadian military presence in Germany. Our « thank you T-shirt » (see photo) designed for this occasion sold like « hotcakes ». Today, too, we have reason to thank Canada for its commitment in Europe.

At my respective places of work, I have also made it my task to stay in touch with the local Germans and to promote the preservation of the German language and culture locally. Whether that was through cinema, art or cuisine, not to forget music, e.g. Beethoven's 250th birthday in autumn 2020. Despite the pandemic, events on the Day of German Unity took place every year, involving the German community. This was also the case in 2019 for the events marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A report on our event at the University of Victoria in November 2019 reflected the appeal by former Canadian Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman for a close alliance between Canada and Germany for the global protection of democracy and human rights. Kinsman had also been on duty in Moscow……..

The « Albertaner » in Edmonton gave me the opportunity to comment on current events monthly in the form of a personal « greeting ». With the « German Heritage Tours », a format was created in autumn 2021 that not only commemorates the contribution German immigrants made to Vancouver's cityscape in the past, but is also future-proof in variations. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for the many friendly and encouraging reactions.

With the 50th anniversary of the German language school in Surrey, there is another opportunity to bring the German language in all its diversity to the fore these weeks. In May, together with partner organizations, we will be offering a diverse « German program ».

Contrary to Mark Twain, I do not believe that it takes a gifted person thirty years to learn German. Especially abroad I met many colleagues from other countries who had not only liked living in Germany, but were also able to converse in German in a relaxed manner. By the way, after English, German is the most important foreign language in Ukraine. In 2017, on the occasion of the « German-Ukrainian Language Year », the Goethe Institute said that more than 700,000 people were learning German in Ukraine (« The Land of German Learners »), and the number was rising. Let's all contribute to ensuring that our language and German culture have a future abroad.

On that note, all the best and goodbye,

Dr. Klaus Schmidt



Curriculum Vitae


Consul General Dr. jur. Klaus Schmidt
Born November 27, 1956 in Würzburg
Married, two children


1976 - 1981

Law Studies
University of Würzburg

1981
1st State Exam
1981 - 1984
Practical Training
1984
2nd State Exam
1991
PhD (Dr. jur. utriusque)
1985 - 2003

Press and Information Office
Federal Government Bonn/Berlin


Assignments and Entry to the Foreign Office

1987 - 1988

Press Section
German Consulate General Los Angeles, USA

1991 - 1995

Head of Press and Information Department, Visa and Consular Section
German Embassy Ottawa, Canada

2003 - 2005

Head of Division K 01
Political and Public Relations abroad
Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

2005 - 2008

Political Section
German Embassy Tokyo, Japan

2008 - 2011

Head of Division 603 and 608
Multilateral and Media Policy / Public Diplomacy abroad
Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

2011

Head of Cultural Section
German Embassy Tokyo, Japan

2012 - 2015

Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Economic Section
German Embassy Buenos Aires, Argentina

2015 - 2018

Consul General

German Consulate General Chengdu, China

since 8/2018

Consul General
German Consulate General Vancouver, Canada


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