นายเพเทอร์ พรือเกล เอกอัครราชทูต แสดงปาฐกถาในหัวข้อ "การให้ความรู้ทางการเมืองในเยอรมนี"

31 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2560

ขยายภาพ

วันที่ 30 มีนาคม พ.. 2560 นายเพเทอร์ พรือเกล เอกอัครราชทูต แสดงปาฐกถาในหัวข้อ การให้ความรู้ทางการเมืองในเยอรมนีในการประชุมเชิงปฏิบัติการ เรื่อง การศึกษาเพื่อความเป็นพลเมืองระดับอุดมศึกษา ซึ่งจัดขึ้นโดยคณะกรรมการอุดมศึกษาโดยมีอาจารย์ระดับมหาวิทยาลัยกว่า120คนร่วมรับฟัง

เมื่อมองย้อนกลับไปพิจารณาการเข้ายึดอำนาจและการก่ออาชญากรรมอันร้ายกาจของระบบนาซีในช่วงสงครามโลกครั้งที่สอง ท่านทูตได้ย้ำให้เห็นความสำคัญของการให้ความรู้ทางการเมืองที่มีต่อการสถาปนาระบอบประชาธิปไตยในเยอรมนีหลังปีค.ศ.1945 จนกระทั่งกลายเป็นระบอบประชาธิปไตยที่มีเสถียรภาพและประสบความสำเร็จดังที่เป็นอยู่ในทุกวันนี้  ในจุดที่มองเห็นถึงความท้าทายต่างๆที่เกิดขึ้นทั่วโลกทั้งจากการเคลื่อนไหวของกระแสประชานิยม การกลับฟื้นคืนของพลังชาตินิยมและระบอบเผด็จการ ทำให้การให้ความรู้ทางด้านการเมืองและการส่งเสริมประชาธิปไตย พหุนิยม สิทธิมนุษยชนและหลักนิติธรรมนั้นยิ่งมีความสำคัญกว่าในอดีตที่ผ่านมา

ในเนื้อหาของปาฐกถานั้น ท่านทูตได้อธิบายถึงบทบาทที่สำคัญยิ่งของระบบการศึกษาในการถ่ายทอดค่านิยมพื้นฐานและการทำงานของกลไกต่างๆในสังคมพหุนิยมและประชาธิปไตย แต่ในขณะเดียวกัน  โดยเฉพาะพรรคการเมือง องค์กรเอกชนและสื่อมวลชนที่เป็นอิสระก็มีความสำคัญในระบอบประชาธิปไตยที่มีเสถียรภาพและมีชีวิตชีวาในฐานะตัวแสดงหลักในภาคประชาสังคมและวัฒนธรรมการอภิปรายทางการเมืองที่เปิดกว้าง

ต่อจากท่านทูต พรือเกล คุณซีกฟรีด แฮร์โซก ผู้อำนวยการภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกและเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ มูลนิธิฟรีดริช เนามัน ได้กล่าวบรรยายในหัวข้อ Civic Education by Civil Society: The work of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Thailand ซึ่งจากการบรรยายดังกล่าว ทำให้ผู้เข้าร่วมในงานได้เห็นภาพของการทำงานด้านการให้ความรู้ทางการเมืองในทางปฏิบัติของภาคประชาสังคมชัดเจนมากยิ่งขึ้น   โดยมูลนิธิฟรีดริช เนามัน ทำงานร่วมกับองค์กรของรัฐและเอกชนของไทย ในการส่งเสริมระบบประชาธิปไตย การเคารพสิทธิมนุษยชน และแนวคิดเสรีนิยมในประเทศไทยมากว่า 40ปีแล้ว

อ่านสุนทรพจน์ท่านทูตฯ ได้ที่นี่

Civic Education in Thai Universites
30th March 2017, Ambassador Hotel Bangkok

Speech by H. E. Mr. Peter Prügel,
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany

Dear Dr. Suphat Champatong (Sec-Gen for the Higher Education Comm.)

Dear Ass. Prof. Bundit

Dear Prof. Prinya (Vice-Rector of Thammasat University)
Dear Professors, Academics and Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished guests.

 

Thank you for inviting me to today´s conference about “Civic Education in Thai Universities”. I feel very honored to have the privilege to speak to you today and to share some experience and knowledge about the concept of civic education in Germany.

And as you can see in the program - I have not come alone: My opening remarks on Civic Education in Germany will be followed by a presentation by Mr. Siegfried Herzog, the Regional Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

He will be speaking to you from the point of view and – even more importantly - with the experience of a practitioner of civic education and of a Political Foundation which is actively involved in civic education. And he will present to you the work of the FNF and concrete examples of civic education projects of his foundation here in Thailand.

Before I start with an overview of civic education please allow me, however, to say a few words about German-Thai relations more in general:

Germany and Thailand are close friends and have a long tradition of bilateral relations for 155 years - be it in the cultural, academic, economic or political field. We have successfully expanded our cooperation in particular in the field of science and education, characterized today by almost 200 joint projects and university partnerships - as well as an ever-closer cooperation on vocational education based on the German dual educational approach.

I am sure that some of you already had contact with German universities during your academic career (as e.g. Prof. Prinya himself from Thammasat University, who wrote his PhD in Germany).

I am mentioning these close relations between our two countries because I believe that especially our people-to-people contacts are important to exchange experiences – as for example in the field of civic education.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

If you take a closer look at the broader concept of civic education in Germany, it is important to realize that civic education is not only written into the curricula of schools or universities - but also cuts across many institutions and parts of civil society like non-governmental organizations, political parties and foundations or media institutions.

Civic education in our view has two main objectives: to ensure that individuals have the knowledge and skills they need to form independent opinions and make informed decisions – and to enable them to reflect on their own situation, recognize and meet their own responsibilities towards the society and play an active role in social and political processes.

To better understand this broad concept of civic education and the political system in Germany today, we have to look back in our history:

Germany has come a long way since the end of World War II more than 70 years ago. Against the background of the atrocities committed by the German Nazi-Regime, it was clear to everyone that this should be made impossible to ever happen again!

That´s why the authors of our constitution, “the Basic Law”, which came into effect in May 1949, sought to ensure, that a potential dictator would never again have the chance to come to power easily in our country and that fundamental rights and liberties, human rights and the rule of law were to be protected as universal and inalienable rights by the constitution.

Since then, the Basic Law has been the strong foundation of our stable and successful representative democracy in Germany until today.

Active civic education was indispensable in building a liberal democracy in the Federal Republic after 1945 and in reunited Germany after 1989. But while there was an immediate link to the experience of totalitarian rule in the early days, civic education today is confronted with new challenges:

With the time passing, the memories and experience of totalitarian rule fading away, freedom and peace tend to be taken for granted, in Germany and elsewhere, whereas, on the other hand, we witness today a worldwide trend towards the resurgence of autocratic regimes and a rise of nationalist-conservative movements, also in Europe. Their leaders promise easy solutions for complex problems and easily reach out with their populist and simplistic messages to millions of people through today’s social media networks.

So while it is obvious that the multiple challenges we are facing today - be it terrorism, migration, climate change, poverty, the war in Syria or other conflicts - are not easy to solve, to counter populism and the resurgence of autocratic regimes and nationalist mouvements, civic education and our active advocacy for democracy, pluralism, human rights and the rule of law are today more important than ever!

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Ladies and gentlemen,

It would take too long to enumerate all aspects of civic education in Germany as it comprises – as I already pointed out – a broad network of governmental and non-governmental players and institutions. But let me briefly highlight the most important aspects:

The main concept of civic education in Germany is to empower citizens to promote our liberal democracy and to assume an active role in the society.

Towards this end, background and basic knowledge in politics, economics and the founding principles of our free and democratic society and political system are provided in order to educate and stipulate active, emancipated and responsible citizens.

The Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung) is the main federal public authority providing this citizenship education and information on political and social issues for all people in Germany.

This independent agency provides – mostly for free - civic education material used by schools, universities and other institutions. It takes on topical and historical subjects by issuing publications, by organizing seminars, events, study trips, exhibitions and competitions, by providing extension training for journalists and by offering films and on-line products. (Please have a look on their website www.bpb.de, part of the information is also available in English).

The Federal Agency for Civic Education is highly interconnected and also supports events organized by more than 300 approved educational establishments, foundations and non-governmental organizations involved in civic education in Germany.

Of course also our schools and universities play an important role in educating our young generation and this education can not start early enough. Students in German schools are teached democratic values, they learn about our constitution, political system and our history.

And most important: from childhood on students learn to critically question things and to actively participate in political discussions and issues that are relevant for our society (e.g. environmental protection). We believe that only well informed students can become responsible citizens and take an active part in political and socio-economic processes.

Another important pillar of our civic education are the Political Foundations:

These political foundations have a relatively close relationships to their respective political parties but are financially and personally independent. They reflect the entire political spectrum represented in our Parliament, with different priorities of course in accordance with their political affiliation. They are actively involved in civic education, inform the people about different political programs and thus stimulate the political debate.

And as you know, they are not only active in Germany but have offices and projects around the world to promote good governance, democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and social market economy (amongst others). In Thailand, five political foundations are represented with an office. And again, I am happy that we will hear more about the activities of one of these foundations, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, later on.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our democratic order – this is our experience and conviction - cannot work without civic involvement, without an active civil society. “Democracies need democrats” – this is the perennial concept of civic education.

But in order to facilitate an active civil society the state has to provide the necessary framework! This includes the right of freedom of expression and assembly including a reasonable public assembly law.

The state has to create an atmosphere where non-governmental organizations and grassroots movements can freely campaign and share their views on every relevant aspect of society, politics or global challenges. And let me underline that – in our experience – it is also thanks to the existence of such a vivid and multifaceted civil society, that fundamental changes in our country, in our politics and society in adaptation to changing requirements and challenges – let me mention i.e. only the strong grass root environmental movement in Germany – brought about timely adaptations to such new challenges, earlier than in many other countries.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

While talking about civic education and the advantages of an active civil society, we must however not forget the political framework that is needed for the civil society to grow and take up this active role within a society:

What is needed, is first of all a functioning political system of „checks & balances“ in order to assure good governance: Democratic governments must be held accountable and equally treated by the rule of law. To guarantee a stable democracy, you need a functioning system of checks & balances with a clear division between the executive, the judiciary and the legislative power. I think I do not have to elaborate on this.

Secondly, free media are of utmost importance: As the so called forth power, the media help to keep the system of checks and balances effective. Allowing the media to report independently and freely is the best guaranty for the people to be well informed and for irregularities or wrongdoings to be revealed. Therefore, media play also a crucial role in civic education and the political involvement of civil society.

And by the way, we have in Germany e.g. even a daily news program for children providing information about politics and about what´s happening in Germany, Europe and the world in a language adapted to children’s need. You cannot start early enough to educate and stimulate children’s interest in becoming active citizens.

*****

Ladies and gentlemen,

To conclude my introductory remarks let me emphasize that:

Firstly - it lies of course within the responsibility of the government, or even more so of the state within its constitutional order – in order to assure its independence from changing governments - to set the framework for civic education.

Secondly, however - in addition and beyond education in the narrow sense of the word, the broader concept of civic education involves a variety of independent actors and institutions - including in particular political parties, non-governmental organizations as well as free and independent media - in order to bring about a vital and responsible civil society with an inclusive and participative political culture.

Thank you for your attention.

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