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ASU faculty, students, meet German ambassador Dr. Klaus Scharioth

Feb. 3, 2009 -- Eleven Arkansas State University-Jonesboro students of German and International Business, along with faculty members from those disciplines, travelled to the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock on January 14 to attend German Ambassador Dr. Klaus Scharioth’s discourse on the transatlantic relations between Germany, Europe, and the United States.

German ambassador Dr. Klaus Scharioth, far left, meets a group of Arkansas State University faculty and students, including Dr. Yvonne Unnold, second from left, and Dr. Clint Relyea, third from left, back row.

Dr. Yvonne Unnold, chair of ASU’s Department of Languages and associate professor of German and Spanish, said, “We are grateful for the sponsorship by ASU’s Office of Academic Affairs and Research for facilitating this important visit. This visit provided our students the unique opportunity to meet the German Ambassador and the German Consulate General of Houston, Mr. Rainer Munzel, in person.  At ASU, students pursue advanced studies in German language not only because they know it will make a difference in their professional careers, but because they are keenly interested in international relations and intercultural exchange. Hence, Ambassador Scharioth’s lecture on the importance of transatlantic relations, including establishing such relations as a critical tool for rebuilding our economy, combatting climate change, and safekeeping our nation, reinforced our students’ understanding of the role that multilingualism and international relations play in the shaping of the future of our country.” 

Participants included Dr. Unnold; Dr. Clint Relyea, associate professor of Management and coordinator of ASU’s International Business program; Hanne Pardos, instructor of German, Stefanie Mittermayer, MBA student and adjunct instructor of German; German language students Alana Holland, David Finley, Melanie Partin, Jerry Mullins, Kathleen Williams, and Scott Sheppard; and international business student Reid Robertson.

student Alana Holland said,
“I am very glad I was able to listen to German Ambassador Scharioth's speech at the Clinton School. Ambassador Scharioth addressed ten of what he believes to be the major problems facing the world today, focusing on three—the financial crisis, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. It was good to hear about major problems from a non-American perspective. It was interesting to hear Ambassador Scharioth's explanation of how these problems happened and what we can do to help begin to solve them. His speech was very insightful, and I am very fortunate to have attended.”

Sophomore Kathleen Williams agreed. "It was nice to be able to speak German with the ASU students who came to Little Rock and with native German speakers in the area who attended the meeting. Also, hearing the ambassador's opinions on issues such as carbon emission minimalization and the global economy was enlightening," said Williams.

Finally, freshman Scott Sheppard said, “Meeting an ambassador for the first time was great—hopefully, he will not be the last ambassador I meet. Ambassador Klaus Scharioth had many interesting things to say about various transatlantic issues. Some were controversial, such as his view on raising American gas prices, but they were not without reasoning. His reasoning for raising the gas prices were so people would still have the drive to look for alternative fuel sources. He also talked of "failing" countries. He wouldn't name any, since he jokingly said he wanted to keep his job, but he said that the world needed to care more about countries that were failing, since those countries are the ones that are most likely to harbor extremist views such as terrorism."

Sheppard continued, "One thing that particularly interested me was disdain for the virtual non-existence of passenger trains here in the United States, and it baffled him that the country that is essentially known for the train went away from using them so quickly."

Scharioth was named ambassador to the United States by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2006 after 30 years in Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his lengthy career, Scharioth has served as State Secretary of the German Foreign Office, head of the Political Directorate-General, and head of the Office of the Foreign Minister, among other positions.

For more information about ASU’s Department of Languages, contact Dr Yvonne Unnold, chair, Department of Languages, Arkansas State University, at (870) 972-3887. E-mail or For more information on ASU’s International Business program, contact Dr. Clint Relyea, College of Business, Arkansas State University, at (870) 972-3430, e-mail him at, or visit



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