German President Christian Wulff Honors Sylvaina Gerlich

German President Christian Wulff

On Thursday, January 14th, 2011, at Schloss Bellevue, German President Christian Wulff officially recognised and awarded 60 citizens  for their dedication to promoting various causes. These individuals were primarily engaged in fostering cultural exchange, integration efforts, care for the homeless, education, and environmental protection.

President Wulff expressed his gratitude for their “continuous and relentless service.” The New Year Reception also attracted prominent figures from government, business, and culture. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Vice-Chancellor Guido Westerwelle (FDP), Left Party Chair Gesine Lötzsch, and Klaus Ernst were all present. Security for the event was understandably high.

The President and his wife, Bettina, warmly welcomed the invitees. Throughout the three-hour event, the couple engaged in friendly conversations, smiles, and handshakes with the guests. Their tireless hospitality throughout the evening showcased their energy and dedication.

Following the arrival of the federal cabinet ministers, group photos were taken before everyone mingled, including the awardees. It was undoubtedly a unique experience to be in the same room with Germany’s most powerful politicians.

Among the distinguished awardees, Ms. Sylvaina Gerlich, a Ghanaian resident in Hamburg, She stood out with her regal, handcrafted dress. Ms. Gerlich is the founder of the renowned “Interkulturelle Migranten Integration Centre e.V.” (IMIC e.V.), which has provided invaluable services to immigrants, youth, and seniors in Hamburg.

Ms. Gerlich’s dedication extends beyond her organization. She is also a member of Hamburg’s “Integrationsbeirat,” an advisory council focused on migration issues. Her contributions include social counseling for Africans, job search assistance, involvement in Hamburg’s “School Reform,” and actively combating discrimination within the city. Her self-confidence, dedication, and resilience have been instrumental in her achievements.

Since 1997, Ms. Gerlich has remained actively involved in social projects in her home country of Ghana. Her efforts have included supporting charitable programs, shipping hospital equipment, and providing clothing and toys for kindergartens.

“I share this honor with all my colleagues,” she said, acknowledging the collaborative nature of her work. “Without them, I could not have come this far.” The award ceremony visibly invigorated Ms. Gerlich, leaving her excited and motivated to continue her social work.

This visit to the Presidential Palace offered a glimpse into a world often unseen by many, particularly members of minority and immigrant communities. The experience not only provided well-deserved recognition for Ms. Gerlich’s contributions but also offered the African community valuable insight into high-level protocol.