An Advocate of Liberalism

Article excerpt

Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid

YESTERDAY, friends and colleagues of Dr. Ronald Meinardus, resident representative of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung (FNS) bade him farewell at the launching of his book entitled "Liberal Times in the Philippines: Reflections on Politics, Society, and the Role of the Media." Ronald arrived in the country four and half years ago at a critical time - when the Liberal Party was starting to regain its former stature as a political party - by undertaking a serious self assessment of its vision, directions, and structure. I think most of us appreciate FNS' support in strengthening the LP policy and advocacy institutions -- the National Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS), Council for Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) as well as in pushing the party agenda through a dynamic public awareness program. He has been instrumental in helping us, particularly the youth in understanding liberalism as a political ideology through his advocacy in both the traditional and new media of Internet.

A doctorate holder in international relations at Hamburg University, he was at one time director of the Greek Service of Radio Deutsche Welle. He also holds an honorary doctorate in political science at Nanyang University and an honorary citizenship in Korea where he served for five years as representative of the Friendrich Naumann Foundation.

Some of us in the media value our relationship with Ronald with whom we had many pleasant exchanges, and who further shares common views on the role of media in society. A regular contributor of the Business World and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, his byline is familiar to bloggers, podcasters and those who regularly surf Internet.

This is as good a time for many of us who have had the opportunity to participate in the seminars and workshops in Germany and other parts of the world to acknowledge the assistance given by the Foundation during the past 20 years that it has been around. I myself had the privilege of interacting with media leaders and parliamentarians involved in public broadcasting and community journalism during a three-week visit in Germany some few years back. The FNS regularly sponsored fora which enabled us to examine media's role in the political life of the nation. I think that most of us who have had the opportunity of working with German development foundations would agree that the latter have enriched the intellectual life of our community. …