German consul general in Atlanta, Heinrich-Peter Rothmann, left last week for debriefing in Berlin before assuming his next post in Libya in January. He told GlobalFax his experience in Atlanta was positive and he looks forward to Libya’s challenges.
After three years in Atlanta, Mr. Rothmann will be moving to Tripoli, Libya’s capital, in northern Africa. It will be his last assignment before retirement, he said during an interview at the World Trade Center Atlanta last week.
“I feel like we just arrived yesterday,” Mr. Rothmann said of his family’s stay in Atlanta. “But I wanted to go [to Libya] because history is being made in the Arab world. It is a focal point right now, so it’s going to be a professional challenge.”
Mr. Rothmann said he will be able to engage in more political duties as consul in Libya because, unlike in Atlanta, he will be in the country’s capital city where national policy-making takes place. In Atlanta, he took on a more economic role because, here, consular corps affairs are associated with trade and tourism.
He said he advised the German government to keep Atlanta
in mind as a model of growth and job creation for eastern Germany, which still lags behind the western part of the country in terms of economic productivity.
When Mr. Rothmann moved to Atlanta, 50,000 jobs were being created per year, and the housing market was booming to accommodate the 100,000 people moving here each year.
Even as the economy has slowed down, Mr. Rothmann said Atlanta is doing better than most U.S. cities and will continue to have a strong relationship with Germany through university exchanges, business ties and, especially, auto manufacturing.
Georgia’s ports are going to become a more important link to Germany, due, in part, to a new DaimlerChrysler plant expected to be built in Savannah, he said.
Germany was also the first country to establish a consulate general in Atlanta – in 1904 – so the two regions have a tradition of close ties, he added.
Before coming to Atlanta, Mr. Rothmann was posted in Bonn, Germany, 1995-99; Geneva, 1991-94; Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1988-91; Bonn, 1984-88; San Francisco, 1981-84, and Kinshasa, Zaire, 1977-80. He said he counted ballots with former President Carter in a Haitian election when he was consul there and remains friends with Mr. Carter.
Andre Zimmer, the German deputy consul here, will be in charge of the office until the new consul arrives in early January.
Contact the consulate at (404) 659-4760.