PolEco studes take coffee with ex-German ambassador

PolEco studes take coffee with ex-German ambassador

by UA&P News Desk on May 23, 2012 - 6:37 pm

World affairs, current events discussed in get-together

by Mr.  Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Institute of Political Economy

Students from the UA&P Institute of Political Economy spent a summer afternoon with Dr. Klaus Zeller, former German ambassador to the Philippines, to review world events of the past month and exchange insights on issues’ local significance.

Former German ambassador Dr. Klaus Zeller

Among the issues the group tackled in the Kapihan session with the diplomat were Syria’s ceasefire, North Korea’s failed missile crisis, and the Norway massacre.

Given the ubiquity of Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs whose safety and welfare our country concerns itself with, such international events can affect the Philippines, the group agreed.

North Korea’s miscarried launch, they said, also easily became a local concern especially when the threat it poses to Philippine waters was pronounced.

The group also looked at the possibility of reunification for the two Koreas. Dr. Zeller related this with the separation of East and West Germany, and the huge social and economic costs it incurred. For the diplomat and scholar, unification may be “too expensive” for both parties, or at least the concept of a “shared nation” does not exist.

Dr. Zeller also told the students how religion plays a role in decolonization and reorganization of today’s world. He cited the independence of Algeria from France in 1962, the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Political Economy students have to read books on issues that matter to “diversify knowledge” and “understand the world better,” Dr. Zeller said.

For serious students, he recommended John Fairbank’s East Asia: The Modern Transformation, Gordon Goldstein’s Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam, and Arnold Toynbee’s Civilization on Trial as essential reads.

IPE’s international relations program Kapihan sessions is set to evoke greater interest on what is happening beyond the Philippines, and “to develop specialists in the group who would be knowledgeable on specific topics,” Dr. Zeller said.

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