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Prestigious award for Stephan Meiser, Project Manager of Schweers

Meiser 2021 11 16


The real heroes of everyday life are not primarily prominent people, but rather those people who show a civic commitment that is not to be underestimated for our coexistence and who do not make much fuss about it.


Such a modest person is the 63-year-old Stephan Meiser from Langenfeld, North-Rhine Westphalia, who can be called a true "peace ambassador" because of his forty years of commitment to international understanding and exchange. For this reason, the German Federal President has now awarded him the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. This will be awarded to him on November 18 by the Mayor of Langenfeld.


In conversation with him, it becomes clear that he is a man of balance, radiating a kindness, who has the gift of being able to organize and moderate very well. Meiser's passionate interest in other countries, cultures and languages already emerged during his student days. Since his first visit to an international Taizé meeting in Barcelona in 1979, he has been passionate about these peaceful encounters that promote reconciliation between peoples, and about ecumenism. Stephan Meiser has been to other Taizé meetings in London, Rome and Paris, and during the Taizé meeting in Cologne in 1984/1985, with some 40,000 participants, he arranged accommodation and care for 120 participants in Langenfeld. Since the meeting of the Taizé Community in Rome, New Year's Eve 1980/1981, Stephan Meiser has cultivated his international contacts. From then on, he made new contacts each time with people from all over Europe and collected all the addresses, and he continues to maintain these connections to this day. His talent for organization also serves him well in his job as International Project Manager of the company Schweers Consult GmbH and PanStreet International GmbH in Meerbusch-Osterath, which is active worldwide, apart from Europe, for example in the USA and Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, and has employees from Syria, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and also of Persian-Indian origin. In his 33 years of professional life to date, Stephan Meiser has traveled all over the world, which has made him truly polyglot. In addition to English, he speaks French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian, the mother tongue of his wife, with whom he has been married for 31 years and has 3 adult children.


Stephan Meiser is the chairman of the Association for the Promotion of the Partnership Committee of the City of Langenfeld, registered association. He accompanies the exchange with the twin towns Senlis (France), Gostynin (Poland), Ennis/County Clare (Ireland) and Montale (Italy) . In particular, he has accompanied the brass orchestra of the Langenfeld Music School to Italy and interpreted there, as well as accompanying return visits of foreign orchestras to Langenfeld.


Music is uniting people


To come back to Taizé: The unifying element at the Taizé meetings is based, apart from the common prayer, essentially on the songs and the music. In 2022, Stephan Meiser, who is also the 1st chairman of the Support Association of the Music School of the City of Langenfeld, registered association, will have his 40th anniversary as choirmaster of the Singing Group at the St. Joseph Church in Langenfeld. He has always brought the Taizé chants into the masses in Langenfeld, which was very well received. With the Singing Group, he has taken trips to London to visit Anglican priests, to Montale and Perugia (Italy), Senlis (France), as well as to Wageningen and Roermond (Netherlands), among other places. There, Meiser and the Singing Group have provided musical accompaniment to church services and concerts - how can international understanding succeed better than through the language of music? Stephan Meiser also accompanies the choir on the organ. It is particularly worth mentioning that in 1997, after the severe earthquake in Assisi, he organized a benefit concert of the Singing Group in Langenfeld, which resulted in the transfer of 5,000 German marks to nuns in Assisi.


For a Europe of diversity


Stephan Meiser sees the different facets of the countries in Europe as a great enrichment. "Everybody can learn from other people. Italy, for example, stands for culture and food, other countries have perfection in terms of railroads or even architecture - each individual European country, thus, brings something very special to our family of nations," Meiser emphasizes. He particularly goes against the grain when many things in Europe are badmouthed. "Europe is rich in cultural identity, in social skills. In the public discussion, it is always just about advantages and disadvantages. You have to look at the whole package," is Meiser's argument to critics of European integration and European policy.


Taking the wind out of the sails of others


"I don't like to work against the bad, but rather for the good," is Meiser's philosophy of life. The idea is to drive the good as a reinforcing factor. For example, an old friend of him in Italy, a supporter of the right-wing party "Fratelli Italia", made very xenophobic comments on Facebook. Meiser then replied to him, "Even if I am no longer welcome with you, you are still welcome with me, just as you were in the past years." Building bridges instead of walls in people's minds Stephan Meiser's conclusion from the philosophy of the founder of the Taizé Community, Brother Roger, from the experiences of the numerous international meetings of the Taizé Community and from his function as a dialogue-oriented and musical ambassador in matters of international understanding is: "Reconciliation, respect, above all trust among people, but also between countries and peoples, are the basis for securing peace in Europe in the long term. I don't want to miss any moment of my previous commitment to the peace project Europe and it is my endeavor to continue to inspire people for this project also in future, because you can never have enough companions in this field!" 

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