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Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder Speaks On Pressing Political Challenges


By Russell Guerrero ’83 

Gerhard Schröder

Climate change, globalization, and international political decision making are three of the huge challenges faced by America and its allies across the Atlantic, according to Gerhard Schröder, former chancellor of Germany.  Schröder spoke on the issues as the guest speaker of the Spring 2007 Trinity University Distinguished Lecture Series.


“I am pleased to be here tonight because it provides me with the opportunity to underline the importance of Trans-Atlantic relations between Germany and the rest of Europe with the United States,” Schröder told an audience of about 1,200 people at Laurie Auditorium. “The relationship is based on common values - freedom and democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.”


Schröder then addressed three of the most pressing challenges that the world faces today.


Regarding climate change, Schröder said if we do not urgently take action, the global climate could change so radically that it would become uncontrollable. “We must reach international agreement in order to reduce green house gases and thus slow down climate change,” said Schröder. He added that we must also invest in renewable energy.


Turning his attention to globalization, Schröder said that every individual feels its consequences and many feel helpless by its impact. Schröder said it was up to politicians around the world to convince their populations of the development opportunities that globalization brings. He also stressed that globalization will only be beneficial if there are a reliable set of rules and agreements that everyone can abide by and if all countries are involved in the process.  


Schröder then spoke on the challenge of international security.  “The 21st century has not made our world a safer place,” said Schröder. “We now face the threat of international terrorism.” Schröder said that multi-lateral approach is needed to safeguard the world. “We must stabilize fragile regions and countries that are threatened by disintegration,” said Schröder. “In the long run, the fight against terrorism can only be won if people feel there is a degree of success in their lives – when they experience that saying ‘no’ to violence does indeed pay a dividend and brings the opportunity for development and prosperity.”


Schröder, who became chancellor in 1998, is recognized as the first of a new generation of vibrant German leaders.


He held office for seven years, overseeing the world’s third largest economy and moving to modernize Germany’s economy. He increased his country’s influence on a global level not only by taking strong stands on global issues, but also by sending German troops to hotspots around the world, a bold act that required changes to Germany’s Constitution.   


The Trinity University Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by an endowment gift from Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Brown of San Antonio. 

© 2007 Trinity University

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