Prof. Dr. Siegfried Englert
Sinologist, former State Secretary
DAAD Scholarship 1974–1975
While many encounter globalisation with scepticism, it has been Siegfried Englert's experienced reality since his earliest youth. Born in Worms in 1947, he took part in visits abroad to France, England and Japan while he was still a student at the local high school. "The sooner a young person goes abroad, the better. The decision for Bad Kreuznach on the River Nahe comes early enough in life," says the sinologist with conviction.
The intensive examination of a foreign culture puts one's own system of values to the test.
In the course of his studies at the University of Heidelberg, he spent several semesters in the United States and Taiwan. From 1974 to 1975, Siegfried Englert studied at the Beijing Language and Culture University as a DAAD scholarship holder, which made him one of the first western students ever in the People's Republic. "It was an unknown world. Dealing intensively with a foreign culture makes you put your own system of values to the test." He considers the DAAD exchange programme as a vehicle for remaining competitive in the globalisation process.
After his first stay in Beijing, the People's Republic played an important role in his professional career. In 1988, at the University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen am Rhein, he established the degree programme on Marketing East Asia, from which the East Asia Institute emerged in 1997. A year abroad in Japan or China is obligatory for students at the institute today. In 1996, the university professor took leave of absence to establish the first Chinese SAP branch office. "We have to open up new markets, and China plays a key role in this." In 2006, the sinologist changed his career with a move to Mainz to become state secretary at the Economics Ministry of the Rhineland-Palatinate. He remained in office until 2011, after which he devoted his time to writing, published books about China, became a sought-after speaker and engaged in voluntary work – not only in support of international cooperation, but also social causes. Englert is active as chairman of the district association of the German Red Cross.