His Excellency Ambassador Thomas Ossowski at Dualtech Center

t_ossowskiThis is our 33rd year as an institution and we are fortunate that on our last graduation rite for the year, we go back to our roots, having been co-founded by a German Institution called Hanns Seidel Stiftung, represented here by Mr. Paul Schaefer. We are called Dualtech because of the Dual Vocational Education System, or here in the Philippines, the Dual Training System that has been adopted all the way from Germany. Some of you and some of those I have talked to some years ago are proud to carry with them what they call a certain German identity: Excellence, Quality, Engineering, and Hardwork.

We have received a special recognition the other night from the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our guest speaker for today happened to keynote that event. We are truly fortunate and lucky to have him with us again for this day's event. He has been educated in Germany, France, Paris specifically and had had post in Germany, Uganda, Israel, Afganistan and of course the European community. So, he has a lot of experience.

With a hundred of you smiling at them, at us, and beaming that hope that you carry with you for your career, we are assuaged with the consolation that you will make us proud. May you also make our guest speaker, guests, and trustees proud from now on.

Let me welcome, his excellency, Ambassador Thomas Ossowski.

Ambassador Thomas Ossowski
German Embassy in Manila
(A speech delivered during the Commencement Exercises on November 28, 2015)

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. To the president, Mr. Morfe, members of the board of trustees of Dualtech, Mr. Paul Schafer from Hanns Seidel Foundation. Dear graduates and parents, families and friends, of course, it is a great privilege to come up with you to be here today. First of all I would like to say congratulations, Mabuhay to your graduation today. Excellent work!

Now let me start first by saying a story which came only in my mind when I was sitting here and when I saw you dear parents and family. At the end of the second World War, my grandfather who was trained as an engineer cycled for about 600 kilometers to the town, west of Germany where his wife and his children lived. He arrived with nothing because the second World War destroyed Germany. And being trained as an engineer, he started to build a company. He started to produce a factory and when I was born about 20 years later he already had more than a hundred employees with trainees and apprentices.    

So why I'm telling you that story? I tell you that story because he came with nothing, only his education.

Now Germany is humbled, they are really humbled that you take our system the dual vocational training system as your model for your own education. Of course in Germany, the dual vocational training has a long history, a long tradition. For hundred of years in this training, it started in the company and other schools and almost in the middle ages by the Professional Association. First it was the workers themselves who trained their own personnel, later on came the schools and it is a very long tradition. And what does it mean? Which means the entrepreneurs themselves have to invest. It is not only about employing people and getting work for them for their own benefits, not about investing in young people, but slowly as slowly you learn the job. You learn the skills, your drive, your faith and you become a productive and valuable member of the community.

Now let me talk a bit about German-Philippines relations, I have been in your beautiful country for 1 and half years now. I have learned how friendly and how hospitable the people here are. You are very resilient in face of all natural disasters which hit the Philippines. The Philippines is the country which is one of the most exposed countries in the world as regards climate change and natural disaster. So the partnership between Germany and Philippines has today a lot of layers but still builds up, and we are trying to build it up, this prestige partnership between Philippines and Germany.

Now lets go back to history. The relations between Germany and Philippines are older than some of you might think. The first encounter between Europe and Philippines took place when Magellan came with his three remaining ships to the Philippines. And Magellan had few German sailors on his ships. He was also sailing with the flag of the Holy Roman empire which was a little empire in Europe. Of course it came in Spain and its flags, the flags of the ship carry the colors which has still today the colors of Germany – black, red and gold. And Charles V or Charles the I as he was born in Spain being the first Charles as the King of Spain, he spoke a lot of languages. He said, with our priest, I speak in Latin; with my wife? I speak in French; with my employees? I speak in Spanish;  and with my horse, I speak in German. It was the cosmopolitan character of Charles I. So that was also the beginning, the joint history of Germany and the Philippines. Later on a lot of traders came to Philippines.

Now a lot of business traders came here and there’s still a single approach and we can experience the truth of this program by the fact that some of you wants the training even in German companies like Continental here in Calamba and other German companies which offers dual-education. Now, Germany and the Philippines enjoy today fruitful economic relations in the last years. While the Philippines enter into a, let's call it, “serious moralization process”, which is a fight against corruption, it  is definitely very much necessary to improve the legal system, the rule of law in this country. All this moralization process has contributed to the fact that also German companies today are more interested to deal here in Philippines, so they finance trades and investments are coming back. Still, modestly when you look at other South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam. Yet we see that the economic relations between Germany and Philippines is much stronger. We see much more business and have much more economic relations because the Philippines for a long time has been in a deep slumber. It was almost like one of those fairy tales – the princess was the Philippines; a country which has a lot of potentials in Asia but a bad witch which made the princess sleep, it was corruption, misuse of power and a lack of functioning political system.

Now this is getting better day by day in the Philippines and I saw the Philippines becomes or has become a new tiger in Asia. It is up to you to use that condition. I mean some of you, most of you will work in companies now and some of you later on will build their own company based on all the training and education here and in companies. But it is up to you to build a future of this country and I can only congratulate you that you had the chance to be a trainee to such an excellent institution as Dualtech because as the motto says “Virtue and Work”. These are the right values which are being instilled in you. Even though you will still encounter in your professional life now – problems, graft and corruption, misuse of power, nepotism. Stand against it, carry the values along that you got in your training here. It will be your generation which will decide how the Philippines would look like in the next 10, 20 years. And believe me that Germany is humbled and proud that we are a partner, a school partner of the Philippines in this endeavor. And it is also my mission as an Ambassador here while I am here for a few years to carry the partnership along. I do it so proudly and I'm very happy that I have the chance and privilege to see you this morning together with friends and families. Thank you very much!