Ortwin Gierhake

I was born and raised in a small town in Germany called Soest. Nobody could have foreseen that I would embark on a journey which has brought me to Asia - for close to 20 years now. Following my studies at Tuebingen University in Economics and Japanese Studies I moved to Japan and basically never left - staying there for 11 years after receiving my masters from Waseda University in Tokyo. It was also in Tokyo where I met my wife Miki and where our son Leo (K12) was born. We lived for 3 years in Frankfurt where Mona (K07) was born before work brought our family back to Asia - this time HK. We have called HK home for over 10 years now with no end in sight.

GSIS has been very important for the family to make HK our home. As a trilingual family there was no question that German will be the main language for formal education rather than Japanese or English, which are cultivated at home as well. As such I have rather strong feelings towards the importance of a German school in HK.

We have been with GSIS for 10 years and look forward to 5 more years, and therefore hope to become more active in the school. My focus will be on what’s best for our children. This means a good and strong school. Self development and language are areas which need further push. Mandarin is not taught until Abitur thus severely limiting the German students when selecting courses. While there are some excellent programs in the afternoon we should strive to offer more and better organised cross stream sports, science and other development programs. This would also serve as a tool to further cross stream integration and collaboration.

As parents we need to understand that we can have a real impact on running this school - to a much larger extent than what we are used to from Germany. We can and should ask for more transparency on financial as well as management matters to improve the school for our children.

Professionally I have worked for Goldman Sachs, Nomura and currently COWEN in Tokyo, Frankfurt and Hong Kong leading Equity Sales and Equity Syndicate teams.