"Nepalis Are Good People" ANN-KATRIN BAUKNECHT

ANN-KATRIN BAUKNECHT, an honorary consul of Nepal to German’s city of Boersenstrasse, Stuttgart, was recently in Kathmandu. Having served in that capacity, she has devoted her life to promoting Nepal in Germany. Bauknecht spoke to KESHAB POUDEL on

Oct. 15, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -8 September. 26- 2014 (Ashoj 10, 2071)

How do you look at your Nepal visit this time?

Well, I came here with a big expectation as you have a new government. I am very excited to see the change that took place recently. I am very much happy to see, despite all difficulties, smooth political transition is happening. No country would have been fortunate enough to see a peaceful transition like in Nepal. Of course, Nepal needs to write the constitution sooner to provide political stability.  I am looking forward to the change.

How did you feel when you arrived in Nepal during this festival season?

I came here along with some journalists from Germany. They will see the work we will do in the rural parts of Nepal. It is a good time for me but the time is more interesting and exciting for the journalists who are visiting Nepal for the first time.  I am very happy to see the Nepalese keeping their traditions in modern times. They still care about the traditions.

You have been promoting Nepal in Germany through people-to-people contacts. How do you see the level of interest in Germany about Nepal now-a-days?

I am very much concerned about Nepal’s situation where young people in large numbers are leaving the country. I know these young folks have no work in rural parts of Nepal and they don’t have any options other than to go for search of a job to support their families. Although these young people are going to countries for work, they don’t get a good treat there. They are destined to be a cheap labor force. There is recently news about inhuman treatment of Nepalese in those countries. I find it very pathetic. I have seen that there were no more youths in your rural areas. If this goes on, there will be only children and old people left in rural areas. This should not be your future. Your country needs to do something to keep these young Nepalese back home. I am investigating this as a German citizen to know why this is happening and what the circumstances behind it are.  We need to be together to find out the answer to save the future of Nepal and so that this cannot happen anymore.

Being an Honorary Consul General of Nepal to Stuttgart of Germany, what roles have you been playing?

I have to be respectful to the country which I represent. I have been fulfilling my duty by promoting Nepal’s policies in Germany and supporting Nepal’s activities to attract German’s private investment, tourism and trade. Along with this, we also provide support to Nepalese in Germany and provide necessary information to German citizens to come to Nepal.  There is still a good image of Nepal in Germany as a wonderful and beautiful country. German tourists like Nepal and they prefer to visit it as tourists. There is a growing interest of German tourists to visit Nepal. This is good for Nepal’s tourism industry.

Many Germans have been supporting Nepal through their personal contributions by constructing drinking water taps, offering health services and other works. What is the trend now?

I have been supporting women's development project in Nepal for the last two decades in Bhujung Village of Lamjung District. I am now considering supporting a project in Upper Mustang together with Sujana Heider’s Himal-Asia foundation. We also supported Maiti Nepal’s works against women trafficking. Some Germans ask me why I do such a work in such a far away country and why I am not concerned for our own folks? Since I have been working in Nepal since 1985, I have a great attachment towards this country and towards the people. During that period, Germans considered themselves as a very happy nation with no problems at all. There was no reunification, no immigrants from southern parts of Europe and we did not have even many problems which we have now. Despite all these new problems, we are still a great country and rich country in the world. It is my family which supports my endeavor to support Nepal. There are still a lot of Germans who want to do something to uplift the life of rural people of Nepal to improve their livelihood.

How do you see the future of people to people relations between Nepal and Germany?

Despite all the changing global scenarios, many German NGOs and individuals are coming to Nepal. They see Nepal as a fantastic and beautiful country with great Himalayas.  Despite miseries and hardships, Nepalese people have smiling faces.  This charming character of Nepalese people remains an attraction for all the foreigners ,including Germans. Your people deserve the  help because they are good people.

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