Speech Delivered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Occasion of her Visit to Dalhousie University
Minister of State Goodyear,
Vice President Crago,
Esteemed Scientists from Canada and Germany,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am particularly delighted to be here in Halifax today with my delegation and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your hospitality. Canada`s name has a special ring to it in Germany. It evokes beautiful landscapes and vast open spaces, openness, the force of integration and last but not least a deep and traditional friendship between our two countries. The ties between our two countries go back to the time when the North-American continent was settled. Many Germans sought their good fortune here and found a new home.
Canada has also played a special role for us Germans in the more recent history. I would just like to mention the long-standing presence of more than 100.000 Canadian soldiers in Germany. Canada`s Air Force also participated in the Berlin Airlift, which supplied the sealed-off city with the most essential goods. When the Berlin wall finally fell, Canada supported the wish of the German people to live in peace and freedom in a reunified country. As someone who used to live in the former GDR, I especially appreciate that of course. All of this is not and will never be forgotten. For this reason we are and always will be very grateful to Canada.
Today Canada and Germany are faced with a multitude of completely new challenges in a rapidly changing world. I am thinking of addressing the impact of the international financial crisis, the situation in Northern Africa and the Middle East, fighting climate change, combating hunger and poverty, fighting against piracy and terrorism. These challenges concern all of us together and – as times have taught us – we can only address and overcome them together.
That is why Germans and Canadians work together closely – as allies in NATO, as partners in the G 8 and the G 20, in other international forums as well as in bilateral projects. At many meetings your Prime Minister Stephen Harper and I have worked on exactly these problems – together. Our partnership – and that is its special characteristic – is based on values and interests, which we share and live: peace, freedom, democracy and human rights. We know that we can count on each other. That is not the case with everybody in the world and that is why we should appreciate it.
Yesterday and today in Ottawa we have had an exchange on various current bilateral and international questions. Here in Halifax we are of course focusing on science and research. As early as 41 years ago, Canada and Germany signed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. For Germany, as well as for Canada, ensuring growth and prosperity depends largely on the nature of our efforts and successes in science, research, and innovation.
German and Canadian researchers are successfully cooperating in many areas: in medicine and health research, green biotechnology, new materials, information and communication technologies, and space research. Cooperation in the areas of energy and environmental research, especially in the development of fuels cells, is gaining increasing significance.
A main focus of German Canadian cooperation is to be found here in Halifax – it is marine, polar and climate research. I just had the opportunity to learn about developments in this broad area of research, to have a discussion with scientists and students and to experience how much motivation, how much passion and enthusiasm can be felt in this research. That was also the purpose of my visit to Halifax: I wanted to get a personal impression of the practical side of the cooperation between Canadian and German researchers.
Three Helmholtz centers are closely cooperating with renowned Canadian institutes for marine and polar research: the Center for Oceanic Research in Kiel, the Center for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven and the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam. Just last year the important groundwork was laid for the continued expansion of German Canadian cooperation in marine and polar research. This year the transatlantic Helmholtz Research School for Ocean System Science and Technology will open its doors.
Successful cooperation of course requires intensive coordination. That also holds true for the research activities at the Halifax Marine Research Institute and the Helmholtz centers. That is why I am delighted to be attending today the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to make sure that all these intentions can be fulfilled and implemented. I know that today is just, pars pro toto, an excerpt of the research cooperation between Canada and Germany, but I would like to make it quite clear that I am very pleased to be here with you and to see for myself an example of the passion demonstrated in the work here, the joy and naturalness of international cooperation in science.
I can tell you: The same is true for the political relations between Germany and Canada. We have something in common, even if the fields of activity differ to a certain extent. That is why I wish everybody all the best and success in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding. After this visit I will keep an even closer eye on scientific cooperation between our two countries than before. Thank you so much! Wherever we went we were delighted to experience the wonderful Canadian hospitality. I sincerely hope that this will contribute to further strengthening the friendly bilateral relations between our countries, even though they are already very strong, and I am convinced, will remain very strong in the future. A heartfelt thank you to all of you!
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