Honorary German Consul, Klaus Becker, visits App State to discuss the outcomes of the 2017 German Election
On Monday, Oct 25, Klaus Becker –upon invitation of the Judaic Department of Appalachian university in Boone- addressed the Jewish community, He analyzed the post-election results of Germany’s parliamentary election which had taken place the day before, described various coalition scenarios and pointed out the unpleasant fact that the right-populist AfD entered the Bundestag (German parliament) for the first time. They got 13% of the vote and are herewith third largest party in the Bundestag. They are an anti-immigration party with clear nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic and above all anti-Islam characteristics.
Davidson College and The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation organized an election day watch event on Sunday, Sep. 24; complete with brats, potato salad and red cabbage.
Klaus Becker, Honorary Consul of Germany, described the pre-election background, introduced the main political parties and analyzed possible coalition scenarios while Dr. Besir Ceka, Assistant Professor with the Political Science Department at Davidson College, commented on the results.
Although the new right-populist party AfD was expected to enter the German parliament, its dramatic gains of 13%, making it the 3rd strongest party, came as a surprise, even as a shock. The relatively poor results of Germany’s two big parties, the Volksparteien or people’s parties, which have long been the pillars of a stable political system, are largely considered the political price for Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the borders to refugees from Syria and Iraq. The arrival of a million refugees over the last two years opened deep rifts in the population and weakened its support. Although Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance won the highest share of vote, it has not won enough that it can govern alone, meaning it will have to find coalition partners from smaller parties.
Joint press statement of German Ministers on the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement
The United States is doing injury to itself, to us Europeans and to all other peoples of this world. Those who deny climate change and do not combat it will not only have to deal with the consequences of ever more extreme storms, droughts and floods, but this “not with me” strategy also impedes economic growth and technical progress. Saving energy and using free resources such as the sun and the wind would still be a great economic success, even if there were no such thing as climate change. They have created more than 400,000 jobs in Germany alone!
Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement is detrimental to economic growth – and to the key life resources of future generations.
Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is also a political mistake, as it undermines legal certainty at international level. The principle of pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept) is intended to ensure security and certainty. This is one of the most important practices followed in international politics. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” is acting contrary to its own principles and thereby setting itself against a worldwide consensus.
Our sound climate policy and our intensive international cooperation with other countries to protect the climate have already forged a strong alliance against the isolationist approach of the new US Administration to climate issues. Major nations such as China, Brazil, India and Russia stand shoulder to shoulder with us, as do the many countries which are particularly hard hit by climate change, such as the African states and the small island states. And let’s not forget that even in America there are a crop of federal states, local administrations and companies who have assumed a pioneering role in climate policy. We all support the Paris Agreement.
We will keep the door open to the United States should it wish to accede to the Agreement again at a later date. Let us not be swayed by the short-sightedness of a single party. The international community must stick together. Climate policy is a policy for peace.
Charlotte, July 29, 2016—FC Bayern Munich board members, led by the Club’s chief executive officer, Karl-Heinz Rumenigge, invited dignitaries of city and county as well as representatives of the business community to an exclusive reception and subsequent dinner at the prestigious Charlotte City Club on the eve of the game vs. Inter Milan. The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation was the proud sponsor of the reception. Please click here to view the photo gallery.
Mark Pringle, Retired Vice President of Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub, Receives 2016 Leadership in International Commerce Award
The Charlotte World Trade Association (CWTA) awarded the 2016 Leadership in International Commerce Award to Mark Pringle, recently retired Vice President of Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub. Under Mark’s leadership and vision, the company turned around from the brink of collapse to a massive expansion that resulted in the Charlotte facility becoming the global manufacturing and service hub for Siemens Energy and the nationwide poster child for advanced manufacturing.
Gunda Knese, CWTA board member and president of the N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation, introduced and presented the award to Mark Pringle.
The May issue of Greater Charlotte Biz focuses on the critical nature of N.C.'s public-private partnerships. CEO of The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Chris Chung remarks, “Right now is a pivotal time in North Carolina’s approach to job creation and development, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Leveraging cooperation for prosperity is the core of these partnerships, and under Klaus Becker's leadership, he and The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation already have facilitated and strengthened relationships between Germany and N.C.
Excerpts from the article:
“In barely less than one year, Klaus Becker has made an extraordinary impact on the greater Charlotte region engaging American and German businesses,” attests Mike Hawley of global law firm K&L Gates’ Charlotte office. “He has been especially successful with his Speaker Series and cultural events injecting German culture into this community.”
“Charlotte is so fortunate to have such a strong and articulate advocate for German businesses to locate their facilities in the Charlotte region,” asserts Gunda Knese, a member of the German community herself and director of business development at GreerWalker LLP, a Charlotte-based accounting and business advisory firm...
“Why do German companies like Charlotte?” prompts Becker. “First, Lufthansa and the airport provide easy access to Germany. Second, so many customers and suppliers are here. Third, the German culture is active here. Fourth, there is a good, hard-working base of employees here. And fifth, the Germans can fit into this community without overtly ‘standing out.’”
Given the training facilities, skilled workforce, leading-edge research and development, sound infrastructure and overall quality of life, Ronnie Bryant of the Charlotte Regional Partnership agrees, “The area continues to be a destination for German businesses looking to establish or expand their global operations and markets.”
Beckers receive the Global Leader Award at the 2105 Charlotte Mayor's International Community Awards
The Charlotte International Cabinet and the Office of the Mayor have hosted the Mayor's International Community Awards (MICA) since 1998. This event honors foreign-owned firms in the Charlotte region for their outstanding contributions to philanthropy. MICA also recognizes three individuals or organizations who have displayed strong leadership and contributed to the development of Charlotte's international community. The three categories for these awards are the Richard Vinroot International Achievement Award, the Patrick McCrory International Entrepreneur Award, and the Global Leader Award
This May, Klaus and Concha Becker received the Global Leader Award, the first time a couple has received the honor. The Becker's passion and dedication can be found in both their entrepreneurial endeavors and their commitment to community. Klaus is the Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany, a prominent member of the Charlotte community. In the short of his tenure as Honorary Consul, he has tirelessly worked to bring German politicians, journalists and artists to the Charlotte region. Since the 80s, he has run a total of five steel companies. He has also played a crucial role in founding the Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, of which he remained the organization`s President from 2004-2011. He is also dedicated to working with the Charlotte World Trade Association, World Affairs Council of Charlotte, and The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation, an organization celebrating German art and culture and the long-standing German-American bilateral relationship with the Charlotte region.
Concha pushes the boundaries of conventionalism to succeed in the international business community. Born in Mexico City, Concha spent her career forging a path in international industries that are predominantly male. She has always been involved in international business by selling Italian and German textile machinery to Mexico.
She was responsible for all exports of the garden equipment of Homelite-Textron throughout the world, and worked closely with a Japanese-French conglomerate manufacturing printing machines. She also served on the board of the Charlotte World Trade Association and the advisory board of the Schiele Musuem of Natural History. Currently, she is a member of the German American, French American, and Latin American Chambers of Commerce, the Charlotte World Affairs Council and the Southeastern World Affairs Institute.
The N.C. Zeitgeist congratulates Klaus and Concha, and the other prestigious winners. View more photos from the event here.
Top left to right: Klaus Becker, Global Leader Award Winner; Mayor Dan Clodfelter, host of the event; Dick Thomas, Domtar, Foreign-Owned Business winner in the large category; Dianne Gallagher, WCCB-NBC Charlotte and host of the event; Larken Egleston, Chairman of the Charlotte International Cabinet Bottom left to right: Hilda H. Gurdian, Patrick McCrory International Entrepreneur Award winner; Concha Becker, Global Leader Award winner; Susan Jackson, LensCrafters, Foreign-Owned Business winner in the medium category; Colin Bain, Foreign-Owned Business winner in the small category