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Interview with Prof. Martin Löffelholz about his visiting professorship at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

In February and March of 2017, the head of the Institute of Media and Communication Science, Prof. Martin Löffelholz, lectured as a visiting professor at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in the Philippines. The IfMK has a cooperation with the Department of Communication at ADMU since 2004. We spoke with Martin Löffelholz about his teaching experiences in the Philippines.

The German Ambassador Dr. Gordon Kricke was invited by Prof. Martin Löffelholz to speak at the Ateneo de Maila University (in the picture as well: Dr. Jose Ramon Vilarin and Prof. Löffelholz) (Photo: private)

Prof. Martin Löffelholz and Prof. Violet Valdez of the Department of Communication at ADMU talking to the former Philippine president Fidel Ramos (Photo: private)

Many German professors go to the USA for teaching and research experiences abroad. Why did you choose Asia, Prof. Löffelholz?
In 1980, I was in Asia for the first time as a backpacker in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. East- and South-Asia developed rapidly ever since, not only economically, but also politically. Therefore, media and communication play an increasing role. In addition, taking globalization seriously means having a look at regions that are not yet in the spotlight.

How did the cooperation with the Ateneo de Manila University start?
Initially, it happened by accident. In 1998, my partner and I were wreck diving in the Philippines. We met some colleagues there, who established a first contact. In 2004, I was at the Department of Communication at the Ateneo as a visiting professor for the first time. Afterwards, we arranged a partnership, and now students from Ilmenau are going to Manila for a semester abroad ever since.

Your visiting professorships were funded by the German Academic Exchange Service. What experiences did you get from teaching at the Ateneo de Manila University?
The Department of Communication of the ADMU is teaching in English, therefore, there are no problems in interacting with the students. Similar to the Master’s program in Ilmenau, the students come from different countries, like South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Nepal or Indonesia. This diversity is very beneficial for teaching communication science. That is why our students from Ilmenau love to come to the Philippines to experience a multicultural work- and study environment.

Are there any plans for future activities?
In addition to my regular seminars in Ilmenau, right now I am teaching an online seminar at ADMU, which I designed during my visiting professorship. In the next winter term, we will probably offer a joint online seminar together with the Ateneo de Manila University. This is a form of globalization, which does not only serve economic interests.