Foundation Bids Farewell, Welcomes New
|Dr. Ronald Meinardus bade
farewell at the launch of his book.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) bade farewel
to its resident representative of four years, Dr. Ronald Meinardus,
as it launched his book, Liberal
Times in the Philippines: Reflections on Politics, Society and the
Role of Media
on 26 September 2006 at the Yuchengco Museum
in Makati City. Liberal Times in the Philippines is a compilation
of Dr. Meinardus’ newspaper columns, which represent the focal
point of his work at FNF: strengthening organized liberalism in
the country. Dr. Meinardus is now assigned as the Foundation’s
regional director of the Middle East.
Newsbreak magazine editor in chief, Maritess Vitug praised Dr.
Meinardus’ book for its wide perspective. “His essays
are never parochial. The commentaries thoughtfully take us through
the nuances of being a liberal, especially in a country like the
Philippines,” she said. “The single most important
message of the liberal Foundation in the Philippines
during the past years is this: democratic, platform-based,
and publicly-accountable political parties are crucial
in a democracy,” she added.
Journalist Manuel “Manolo”
Quezon III talked about Dr.
Meinardus as a communicator. “He believes that one of
the great benefits for our country politically would be to get
people who are voiceless and unable to participate in political
dialogue to speak up,” he said. “The quickest, cheapest
and most effective way is to throw out their views online. This
is what blogging does,” he added. Through the Foundation’s
workshops, “people are now able to talk, to be involved,
to speak out and challenge the existing ideas. This, I think,
is the great contribution Dr. Meinardus has made,” Quezon
FNF Regional Director Hubertus
||New FNF Resident Representative
thanked Dr. Meinardus for his drive to use new communication
tools in the Foundation. “Dr. Meinardus offered not only to
train, teach and enhance the communication skills of our liberal
friends in the Philippines and our partners in CALD
[but he also] pushed us, his colleagues, to get acquainted with
the new communication tools to improve our work and outreach,”
said Mr. von Welck.
Dr. Meinardus thanked the Philippines for its
hospitality and openness towards the Foundation. “As a political
organization from a foreign land, we have never experienced any
form of discrimination,” he said. “This is a tolerant
and very generous behavior, and I would like to thank
all those concerned in the government and also in other sectors
for their hospitality,” he added. Dr. Meinardus also expressed
hope for the unity of the Liberal Party. “I
am confident about this, that in a not too distant future, Filipino
liberals will once more come together. “
Mr. Siegfried Herzog succeeds Dr. Meinardus
as the resident representative of the Foundation.
Mr. Herzog returns to the region after working as project director
in India and heading the Asia department at the Foundation’s
headquarters in Germany. “The tall and blond German from
Northern Germany is followed by a dark haired and shorter –
more Philippine-sized – German from the South of Germany,”
said Regional Director Hubertus von Welck in welcoming Mr. Herzog
to the Philippine office. Despite the contrast, “Siegfried
Herzog will certainly continue the excellent work of his predecessor,
and use that as a basis to build upon,” added von Welck.
“He will continue to promote liberal values, and as an economist,
he will put emphasis on economic freedom, market economy and free
Mr. Herzog thanked Dr. Meinardus for the work he had done and
for the strong team he leaves behind. “You have set a new
standard in the Foundation, especially in the use of information
technology for civic education, and I will do my best to keep
up the standards you have set,” Herzog said. “I
am an economist, not a journalist, and this will necessarily shape
my contribution. Our basic focus
remains the same: to promote liberal ideas and
concepts and to help strengthen the liberal family,”
he added. “But within this context, two topics are especially
important to me. One is the issue of economic freedom,
and the other is the quality of political institutions.
Two areas where I believe an organization like the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation can make a meaningful contribution," he concluded.
Liberal Times in the Philippines: Reflections on Politics,
Society and the Role of Media is available in major bookstores.