Ladies and Gentlemen,
liebe Lehrer und Freunde der deutschen Sprache,
ich heiße Sie herzlich willkommen zur Verleihung der 14. German Teacher Awards – a warm welcome to you all!
I am delighted that so many of you have joined us here in London today from all parts of the United Kingdom to celebrate with us a very special event indeed – the 14th German Teacher Award Ceremony and the ‘Sommerfest der deutschen Sprache’.
I am proud to say that over the last thirteen years this award has evolved into a showcase of excellence in the teaching of German at British schools.
It is now known across the UK as a prestigious prize that rewards first-class and inspiring examples of language teaching.
Thank you for helping us to make this success possible.
Today’s celebration is more than ever a tribute to YOU, the teachers and head teachers and all the other tireless supporters of the German language, whose passion, outstanding commitment, in short their “Herzblut”, as we say in German, make German in the UK special.
I know that the teaching of German in the UK has seen great challenges over the years.
But never before has your mission to teach languages as a gateway to another culture encouraging friendship, trust and understanding across borders been more important than today.
The UK is preparing for Brexit.
And it will have a choice to make: will it become a more insular, introspective country, lost in dreams of a glorious past, or will it continue to be outward looking, reaping the fruits of international cooperation.
If the latter is the case, learning foreign languages will be an opener to other cultures, markets and ideas.
To learn German which is with 120 million native speakers ahead of any other language in Europe, will be an excellent choice.
Liebe Lehrer und Freunde der deutschen Sprache,
Since the inception of the German Teacher Award we have witnessed a cornucopia of brilliant and truly exceptional applications and examples of teaching German at different types of schools across the UK.
Your innovative teaching methods, your spirit of adventure in using new media and resources as well as your boundless creativity have been a joy to observe.
And this year’s contributions have been no different – on the contrary.
Once again the Selection Committee had a very hard time in selecting the best of the premier league and I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate ALL the participants in this year’s German Teacher Award.
I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have helped us in particular to the Association for Language Learning (ALL), the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT) and the Departments for Education in England and Wales on the British side and the Goethe Institute, UK-German Connection and the German School London on the German side.
For the first time the Embassy of Switzerland and the Austrian Cultural Forum have each donated one of the German Teacher Awards. Thank you very much for joining the GTA team.
Other initiatives and ideas to help your work inside and outside the classroom have evolved:
Over the last two years eleven regional German networks across the UK have been established at university German Departments.
These Think German Networks serve as hubs for regional collaborations and synergies between universities, primary and secondary schools, businesses and cultural institutions.
Let me welcome the newest member of the Think-German family, the University of East Anglia Think German Network.
These regional German networks are first and foremost also a platform for your ideas and contributions.
After the presentation of the awards I would like to invite you to join us downstairs for drinks and some German Leckerbissen.
But before that I have the great pleasure to present to you David Cornwell, better known to you as John le Carré, who has kindly agreed to be our guest of honour and to give the keynote speech. David clearly needs no introduction.
For millions of readers, you vividly brought to life political conflict and the moments of human tragedy and greatness from the Cold War era to the present day.
You have always been a staunch supporter of language learning as the key to understanding other cultures.
As a champion of German you were the man of the hour when the Think German campaign was born in 2010.
Thank you very much for joining us today. David, the floor is yours.