German Club hosts Houston Consul General at student event

Emily Burleson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Ricarda Redeker, the German Consul for Houston, presented a video messaged during Deutscher Samstag, an enrichment event for German language students, on Nov. 15. As keynote speaker, Redeker presented a  speech and played a video message from astronauts on the International Space Station.

“She was very approachable,” German Club Vice President and junior Alex May said. “They had a cool speech for us, and I thought that was very interesting.”

Redeker spoke at Deutscher Samstag (German Saturday), an annual event hosted by alternating high schools in the Greater Houston area each autumn. This was Cinco Ranch’s first year hosting the event.

Redeker, although credited with over 20 years in foreign service for Germany, has been General Consul in Houston just four months, and serves Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. General Consuls international diplomats a step below Ambassadors.

“Houston is the powerhouse of the United States, the energy capital,” Redeker said. “So we are doing a lot of that in that respect. We are here basically for economic relations, fostering German-American relations, helping German companies.”

The video message she presented, featuring astronauts American Gregory Wiseman, Russian Maxim Surajew and German Alexander Gerst, focused on a message of peaceful relations in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and directly addressed the Houston General Consulate directly.

“This year was very much a commemoration year,” Redeker said. “100 years for World War I, 75 for World War II, 25 years for the Berlin Wall, 10 years for the enlargement of the EU, and then next year is 25 years of German unification.”

One experience that struck Redeker since starting as General Consul on July 1 was a standing ovation for former president George H. W. Bush at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s concert in Houston that commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“When he came into the auditorium, people were so thrilled,” Redeker said. “It was a very heartfelt response. He had standing ovations, just for being there. That was very unique. As you know, Germans are sort of reticent. They don’t communicate their feelings so well.”

Redeker’s only complaint, after a smooth professional transition, is the Houstonian weather.

“I had a very warm welcome,” Redeker said. “I came on the first of July, so a hot welcome. I had to cope with the heat. My contract states that I am going to have 75 degrees every day, minimum, and 80 maximum, perhaps 85. So I’m feeling a little bit badly treated.”