By Heidi Trautmann
When I first met
the German Ambassador Dr. Gabriela Guellil – it was on the occasion of a play
at the Nicosia Municipality Theatre – I said to her quite seriously from my
heart: As a German I am proud of you, of the way you do your job’ and when I
said good bye to her on board of the FGS BERLIN berthed in Limassol harbour on
July 04, 2014, I repeated it: I am proud of you!
It is for her
sensitive way, of stretching out a hand to the other part of the island, to
initiate talks with the artists and bring them together, so done in spring 2014
at her residence in Nicosia. That is building up trust and confidence.
Who is this woman
who has come here to Cyprus to take over the job of Ambassador in the divided
city of Nicosia in times when Cyprus was in deep difficulties.
She was born in 1959 in Glendale/USA, and is married, with two
children. In 1985 she graduated with PhD from Freiburg University in ‘Islamic
Sciences and Political Economy. She had a practical year as Sales Manager with
Robert Bosch GmbH and joined the Federal Foreign Office, Diplomatic Academy
from 1987-1989. From 1989-1992 she was with the Consulate General in Istanbul.
From 1992-1995 she was again with the Federal Foreign Office in Disarmament and
from 1995-1998 as Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Quito/Ecuador.
Back to Europe she joined the German Embassy in Ankara Dept. of Public
Relations; from 2002-2006, at the Federal Foreign Office again as Deputy Head
of Division, and back to Ankara Embassy as Head of Economic Division; in
2007-211 she became Head of Division for Cultural Relations with Near and
Middle East and in September 2011 she took on the assignment as Ambassador in
Cyprus. On 4 July 2014 she said her
farewell to invited guests on the FGS Berlin. Her future assignment will be in
Bangladesh and as she announced in her speech on that evening, it will be a
joint venture together with the French Embassy, they will be sharing one
In her speech the
Ambassador welcomed the guests in several languages, German, English Greek, Turkish
and French, also on behalf of the Commander Rosenbohm of the BERLIN but held
the speech in English trusting that all would be able to follow but remarked
proudly that many of her Cypriot guests
and friends were fluent in the German language and she was happy to notice the
strong interest in the German language especially among the young people.
She was aware that
French is the language of diplomacy and for her it was a special day since
France and Germany, two countruies with a special relationship, were meeting on the same day on the level of
world cup football and she would keep fingers crossed for a fair play and
whoever wins will hopefully have digested the outcome of this match when they
move together in Bangladesh.
With respect to
Cyprus where no settlements has been found yet – the conflict is not a game of
football – …. “there cannot and will not be a winner on one side and a loser on
the other. Time has come for a Win-Win situation. Today the leaders have met again to continue
their dialogue, determined to find a sustainable solution to the Cyprus
problem. I have confidence in the ability of both communities and their leadership
to seize the positive momentum to advance in the process towards a long waited
for settlement. To find a solution that everybody considers “fair” will be very
difficult. But what would be extremely “unfair” to Cypriots, and especially the
future generations, would be to postpone a final solution again.” And she continued to say that in sports,
especially international football the Turkish-Cypriot Team has so far not been
considered but progress has been made in that matter. “We see this as a positive signal and we do
support such progress!”
“There were some remarkable events during the three years of my assignment,
there was the Mari tragedy just shortly before our arrival; the virgin EU
Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus; numerous high-ranking visits such as the one
by the German chancellor Angela Merkel, the counter visit by President Anastasiadis
in Berlin and Hamburg, and finally the economic crisis that shook the country,
all unforgettable moments, difficult ones but also exciting. Real friendships
develop in challenging times.
I have learned a
lot in Cyprus. Crisis management needs a strong spine. I tried my best, with
the support of friends, reaching out to all relevant stakeholders and partners,
loyally, reliably and faithfully, in a transparent and open-minded way. We are
proud to have found friends all over the island, different nationalities,
different origins and different opinions.
I thank all those
who have accompanied me, advised me, supported me or criticized me constructively.
I thank my team in the Embassy!”
She finished by
thanking the crew of the BERLIN and wished them good speed on their way to the
Horn of Africa, and she thanked Captain Pouros, Head of the Port Authorities,
to have made the evening possible.
She and her husband
Naguib will leave the island loaded with memories and a feeling of home….. “Ambassadors
do not stay forever. We move on to represent our country, to defend our counry’s
interests. We have the privilege to discover new horizons. At the same time, we
depart loaded with rich memories, and for us Cyprus is part of these memories.”