Editor’s note: Mr Siegfried Hadatsch, who recently completed his Bachelor’s Degree in English and history at the University of Education Karlsruhe, has been an active member of the Lao-German project “Bi-directional teaching and learning” for a number of years now. He took part in my “Global English(es): Teaching English in Asia“ class in the summer term of 2017 (the forerunner of my current “Global English(es), Global TEFL & Global Citizenship Education” class) and decided to apply as a volunteer in the following semester. He then worked at the Lao-German Technical College in the spring of 2018 as a member of Team VIII.
On his return, he helped advertise the project on campus, advised new applicants, and also became my research assistant. In this new role, he has helped me with first research in the field of “Language Teaching and Global Justice” as well as with the development of my classes “Global English(es), Global TEFL & Global Citizenship Education” and, more recently, “Postcolonial theory and short fiction“. We extended the first “Course Readers” with newer and more academic literature for students, which meant that their presentations easily went up by one notch, if not two. His competent contributions were significant.
On nearing the end of his Bachelor studies, he chose to combine both his fields of study – English and history – with his international experience in Laos to identify a research area hitherto (almost) not investigated: “60 years of Lao-German diplomatic relations“. He was finishing his thesis at a time when German Minister Dr. Gerhard Müller of the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation – who visited BHS and our project in 2016 – announced (in April 2020) that the list of over 85 international cooperation partners would be cut down to 60 partners. Lao P.D.R. regrettably was amongst those struck off the list, for three reasons.
If you want to hear more about this fascinating hi(story) and Mr Hadatsch’s explorative research journey, read his full-length thesis on our new full-text research page, where you can also view the entire collection of theses that have been written within the scope of our projects and classes so far. There are more to come this year. The overview gives you the full list of all academic work conducted in our cooperations with 7 Lao partners, including conference papers, print publications, and course papers.
The start of our own Lao-German partnership between the Karlsruhe University of Education and Savannakhet University (2017/18) is documented in the articles “The German perspective“ and “The Lao perspective“.
As unexpected as it may seem, many a member of the old guard of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party speaks fluent German, with a Saxon or Thuringian accent at that. They bear witness to a special bond, one largely unknown outside of Laos: The countries of Germany and Laos can look back on over six eventful decades1 of diplomatic exchange, coloured by multiple shifts of ideological and political alignment on an everchanging global stage on which their relations took and are still taking place. For over six decades now, they have traded, exchanged ideas and personnel, and maintained closely knit cooperations – although some of that is set to change.
This Bachelor’s Thesis aims to provide a comprehensive and in-depth look into the reasons for and background of the relations between Germany and Laos, as well as their respective histories and current roles within the global stage of world politics. Throughout their shared history, Germany has maintained diplomatic and economic ties to Laos, often in form of development cooperation. Thus, the thesis will also investigate the success (or lack thereof) of various German-Lao cooperation projects.
With a shift of foreign developmental aid priorities announced by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in early 2020, which now focuses on the African continent after the “migration crisis to Europe” (with over 1 million refugees in 2015 alone), the future of cooperation between the two countries is anything but set in stone. One thing, however, remains certain: What has already been accomplished between Laos and Germany already left a remarkable impact – especially on Lao P.D.R.
Text by S. Hadatsch, editor’s note by I. Martin
Photos by S. Hadatsch & I. Martin
1 Official diplomatic relations between Laos and Germany – specifically West Germany and the Kingdom of Laos, at the time – were first established on 31 January 1958.
Auswärtiges Amt (2018). “Why the Embassy chauffeur in Laos speaks German: 60 years of diplomatic relations” https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/laopeoplesdemocraticrepublic/235264 (last accessed 2 March 2021).
Deutsche Botschaft Vientiane (2020). “Deutschland und Laos: Bilaterale Beziehungen.” https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/aussenpolitik/laender/laosnode/bilateral/201036 (last accessed 1 March 2021) (in German).
Finanznachrichten. “Entwicklungsminister plant Rückzug von Fachleuten aus Partnerländern.” https://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2020-04/49503998-entwicklungsminister-plant-rueckzug-von-fachleuten-auspartnerlaendern-003.htm (last accessed 2 May 2020) (in German).
GLFS e.V. “Laotisch-Deutsche Gesellschaft 2006 gegründet.” https://www.ggsruppichteroth.de/laos/gruendungverein.htm (last accessed 19 May 2020) (in German).