Welcome to 2021

Dear members and friends of the DEF,

We are now entering into a new year – having left the old one behind – a year that some would like to “stuff in the bin”, so different, so limiting and burdensome it has been for each of us.

But it cannot be pushed aside, it has impacted us in so many different ways on a daily basis and challenged us to respond

What has it been for the DEF?

Our Annual General Meeting at the beginning of the year had to be postponed again and again until it finally could not take place at all.  It was supposed to give us the opportunity to make final decisions about the future of DEF, to discuss alternatives and initiatives in this regard.

All activities and events – from “Fish ‘n Chips” to our traditional “Christmas Carol Singing” had to be cancelled.

No visit programme with our friends in Nottingham could be realised.

I myself had planned a programme of visits to high schools in Nottingham in the first half of the year, using film and promotional material from the city of Karlsruhe to stimulate interest in exchanges with our city and our grammar schools – and of course to introduce more opportunities for our pupils. The main office, the school office and the Karlsruhe grammar schools as well as the corresponding institutions in Nottingham offered financial and organisational help – this also had to be cancelled.

Besides CORONA, BREXIT was a sword of Damocles that accompanied us through the past year.

Only one workshop on 30 September on the topic “What does an ideal town twinning look like?”, to which the city’s main office invited, could take place. About 30 leaders and staff of international associations, societies, organisations and projects took part in the one-day event and discussed their problem areas and possible solutions. For further discussion, I prepared a paper on the political and social stabilisation of town twinning associations and societies. Before I send it to the main office, I would like to discuss it with DEF members first. Maybe we can meet soon at our AGM after all!?!?

What was it like for each of us?

Certainly it is hard to summarise and describe. We had to cope with increasing restrictions in the cultural sphere and in the private-personal sphere to the point of complete isolation.

No theatre, cinema, concert, no meeting with neighbours and friends, no visits from children and grandchildren….                                                                                                            

And then the ever-closer circle of CORONA infected friends and relatives, hospital admissions, artificial coma, artificial respiration and dying without the hand of the beloved partner. I had to experience it directly with my brother.

Let us look forward together.

First and foremost, I wish us all good health for the New Year 2021 and then, finally, a life full of personal contacts, loving embraces, intensive conversations and…

And the fulfilment of quietly cherished wishes.

With warm greetings

Joachim Klaus

DEF Chairman