Ambassadors‘ Day for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at KLU

Top diplomats from 15 Eastern European and Central Asian countries accepted the joint invitation of Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) in Hamburg last week. The current state of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, news on the Port of Hamburg and on transport infrastructure projects related to their home countries were presented to the diplomats and their delegations by representatives from science, business and politics.

"After Latin America and the Caribbean in June 2018, KLU welcomed the second eminent group of diplomats from an important world region within only one year, including numerous ambassadors and embassy counsellors," emphasized KLU President Thomas Strothotte. "I am delighted that the KLU Ambassadors' Day has been met with such great interest. We see this as a signal that logistics and is a major issue for public and private organizations in countries of Eastern states. In this respect, the Ambassadors' Day is all about helping theses states take advantage of the opportunities which state-of-the-art logistics offers."

KLU alumnae being ambassadors for Eastern Europe students

After a short welcome address by Edna Schöne, member of the OAOEV executive committee and member of the board of Euler Hermes, the Logistics University was introduced from a student perspective by two Bulgarian alumni: Lyubomir Kushev BSC, now working in the field of associate business development for an open-banking platform, and Yana Asenova, now working as an analytics expert in Hamburg. Yana Asenova emphasized that it was great how one can create a home away one's country like she did being a student at a young and very special university like KLU. Thus, she sees herself in the role in being an ambassador for all young people in Bulgaria, who want to study at KLU or generally in Hamburg.

KLU offers numerous cooperation possibilities

Prof. Thomas Strothotte outlined opportunities for cooperation with KLU, e.g. through an internship abroad, a semester abroad at KLU or summer schools. KLU is already networked with 15 partner universities in the region and around 70 students have spent their semester abroad at KLU. Strothotte added that conferences, applied research and continuing education courses at KLU are also points of contact for public and private organizations from Eastern Europa and Central Asia in order to create international relations.

How can European ports benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative?

The gigantic Chinese-sponsored development program “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and its implications for European ports were the subject of the lecture of Michele Acciaro, Associate Professor of Maritime Logistics and Director of Hapag-Lloyd Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL). The BRI spans over 2000 projects primarily in central Asia which aim at building and expanding ports, railways and energy infrastructure and improve accessibility to China. Michele Acciaro traced the further development of the BRI from the official announcement in 2013 to today. He concluded: “The BRI could offer multiple opportunities for European countries and their ports.” He went on to suggest that the time had come for the European Union to develop a more ambitious vision of the role to be played in the economic development of Eurasia, not only in terms of international policy, but also in terms of logistical development and accessibility. Innovation, investment and infrastructure are highly profiled in the BRI and Europe should play a more critical role with its expertise.

Reception with Finance Senator

New perspectives on the maritime economy were also offered through a subsequent harbour tour off the usual tourist routes with information on infrastructure developments delivered by Dr. Felix Kasiske, Managing Director of the port and transport consulting company HPC Hamburg Port Consulting.

The Ambassadors' Day was rounded off by a Senate reception in the Town Hall by Finance Senator Dr. Andreas Dressel. In addition to the ambassadors, the approximately 50 guests also included consuls general and honorary consuls as well as business and educational attachés of the embassies from countries in Central, Southeast and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the South Caucasus.

Prof. Thomas Strothotte summed up: "The day offered many opportunities for interesting discussions and new impulses. We now will use this momentum to initiate concrete projects of cooperation in research as well as academic education and training".

KLU is a member of the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) being the major regional initiative of the German economy for about 30 countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia. The OAOEV supports its members in their international projects.

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