"Wolfgang H. Reuther" - Autor bei Tredition.de
 

     

Wolfgang H. Reuther

Wolfgang H. Reuther (1950) was born and grew up in the Ore Mountains in the Saxony region of Germany bordering on Czechia. This region is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its tradition of 800 years of mining (for silver, tin and uranium), triggering technological and scientific innovations that have been transferred worldwide.

After graduating in international law, he began working with UNESCO in its efforts towards international peace, understanding and co-operation in education, science, culture and communication in different ways and structures, continuing for a total of 38 years until his retirement in 2012.

From 1990 to 2008 he took positions successively as the Deputy-Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO in Bonn (Germany), as the UNESCO-Director and Representative for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Russian Federation in Moscow, then for Jordan and Iraq in Amman (Jordan), and finally for Central America from Mexico to Panama in San José (Costa Rica). From 2008 to 2012, he worked at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.

Today he lives in retirement in Vienna, with branches of his multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious family residing in Cape Town (South Africa) and Moscow (Russia).

The subject of ‘living together in cultural diversity’ has been of great interest to him since the 1990s. With this book (first published in German in 2018) he hopes to contribute to a more objective public discourse in the West on Islam and the Middle East and to a better understanding between the two regions. To this end, he brings in various details and perceptions that have so far received little attention.

At the same time, he allows the reader to participate in his own transformation from a romantic proponent of ‘multicultural societies’ to a more thoughtful and experienced observer who is always open, interested, caring, tolerant and respectful of other lifestyles and cultures, but also maintains a critical eye. In practice, this has earned him recognition and appreciation from partners all over the world.

Wolfgang H. Reuther is a co-author and co-editor of the ‘UNESCO Handbook’ (in German and Russian), and of the series ‘How to File Complaints on Human Rights Violation. A Manual for Individuals and NGOs’ published in several languages and editions for different countries.

Besides his native German Wolfgang H. Reuther speaks fluent English, French, Russian and Spanish.
 

News

Review by Australian scholar

25/01/2021
 
What Makes the Middle East Tick – Insights of a Diplomat
By Wolfgang Reuther

Review by Carlene Winch-Dummett PhD, Canberra

What Makes the Middle East Tick – Insights of a Diplomat is a timely and interesting book. A close observation of the cover gives a visual synopsis of the content of the book through a combination of conventional and symbolic motifs. The traditional, generic view of sun-bleached, undifferentiated Arabic styled buildings is counterpoised to the brilliant blue of the background sky in which the national flag of Jordan is the dominant and distinguishing feature. The reader knows what to expect.

This book is timely for both official and non-official visitors to the Middle East because of its important position in global affairs. It is not that there are not enough travel books and academic books concerning the Middle East, but the availability of information gleaned from westerners who have lived and worked in the Middle East is limited. This day-to-day experience of navigating official and social Middle Eastern mores is of importance to serious visitors, workers, and people doing business in the Middle East.

What this book offers that differs from the usual discussion of cultural adaptation, in this case the Middle East, is its capacity for intimate knowledge and explanation of attitudes and practices in everyday business and social experiences that confront ex-pats struggling to familiarize themselves with appropriate expectations and actions.

What Makes the Middle East Tick attempts to unravel these conundrums through both theoretical discussions and personal anecdotes. The personal anecdotes are the most illuminating to this reader for two reasons: the events are written in a conversational style and have immediate resonance; and they encourage the reader to consider and weigh up their own responses to those shared experiences.

Introduction into any unfamiliar socio-cultural living and working environment is always fraught with concerns of socializing and generally building positive relationships with other members of that country. This book sets out successfully to educate the reader through serious observations served with lighter, sometimes amusing, personal experiences. It is this combination of themes that is appealing to the reader.