Bundesverdienstkreuz bestowed on life-long Namibian friend, Klaus Hess
The important work of the German Namibian Society to promote understanding between the two countries was officially recognised this week when the society’s president, Klaus Hess, received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
German Federal President, HE Frank-Walter Steinmeier, bestowed the Order of Merit on Hess for his unstinting dedication over several decades to foster bilateral relations between Namibia and Germany.
The medal was presented by the Deputy Prime Minister of the federal state Niedersachsen, Bernd Althusmann, who worked for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Namibia for a number of years.
At the award ceremony, Althusmann lauded Hess for his dedication and outstanding expertise, saying that the latter had an important formative influence on Namibian German relations. He is also an acknowledged expert on issues of politics, Namibian civil society and local culture.
The [German Namibian Society] has been providing information about Namibia for more than 40 years, Althusmann said. He named the quarterly “Namibiamagazin” as an example, published since Independence in 1990. Furthermore the Society has promoted sustainable projects in the fields of education, health, social services and nature conservation.
Hess has also been instrumental in establishing the annual language competition for Namibian learners who take German as a foreign language subject. Through the work of the Society, he has contributed to many youth programmes and effected cultural exchange. The Society also contributed to the upgrading of the former Goethe Centre in Windhoek, turning it into a full-service Goethe Institute.
Hess expressed his gratitude for the official recognition but hastened to add that the award was ultimately due to all members of the German Namibian Society who have supported its many activities for so many years.
Hess is also a member of the Executive Council of the German Africa Foundation.
Caption: President of the German Namibian Society, Klaus Hess (left) and the Deputy Prime Minister of Niedersachsen, HE Bernd Althusmann. The German Federal Government bestowed the Order of Merit (Bundesverdientskreuz) on Hess for his dedicated work to foster good relations between Namibia and Germany. (Photograph by Lutz Müller)