Presentation of the Order of Merit to Dr. Teresita T. Tumapon
On 26 January 2017, Ambassador Dr. Gordon Kricke presented the Cross of the Order of Merit (Verdienstkreuz am Bande) of the Federal Republic of Germany to Philippine national Teresita Tanhueco Tumapon, PhD, of Cagayan de Oro City. The award was bestowed upon her by Federal President Joachim Gauck in recognition of her outstanding achievements for the German-Philippine cooperation in the field of higher education and for the promotion of German as a foreign language in the Philippines.
In her untiring efforts to boost internationalization in education, Dr. Tumapon has focused on Germany since the late 1990s. She prompted a great number of Filipino students and graduates to take up studies or research opportunities at German universities, thus creating an invaluable pool of Germany alumni here in the Philippines. At the same time she instigated the establishment of many partnerships between institutions of higher education in Germany and the Philippines.
When the German Foreign Office launched the “Schools: Partners for the Future”(PASCH) initiative in 2008, Dr. Tumapon did her utmost to install German as a school subject at Liceo de Cagayan University High School under the Special Program in Foreign Language of the Philippine Department of Education. Subsequently and in her position as Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice-President for External Relations and Internationalization, she installed courses in German as a foreign language at Liceo de Cagayan University to further enable the students to improve their proficiency in the German language and thus enhance their international job opportunities.
Dr. Tumapon has paved the way for many Filipinos and Germans to a better mutual understanding not only of the others´ words, but also of their culture and their way of life. Being a Germany alumni herself, she has been an ambassador in both directions, both to and from the Philippines. Not as a diplomat with an official mandate but as a mediator and creator of shared knowledge and shared insight.
“You have been both a stroke of luck and a prime example for the close relationship between Germany and the Philippines. It is with great pleasure and honor that I present today the Cross of the Order of Merit to you on behalf of Federal President Joachim Gauck,” Ambassador Dr. Kricke stated at the ceremony that was attended by family, friends and many well-wishers of Dr. Tumapon.