German Ambassador to the UK Explores York's Historic and Technological Landscapes in Landmark Visit

International German Ambassador to the UK Explores York's Historic and Technological Landscapes in Landmark Visit

Photo caption 1: L- R: Charles Storr, Inward Investment Manager at City of York Council; Nigel Tracey, General Manager at ETAS; His Excellency Miguel Berger, Ambassador of The Federal Republic of Germany to the United Kingdom; Professor Miles Elsden, Director of the Institute for Safe Autonomy; Tony Corby, Head of Inward Investment at City of York Council; Christine Hogan, Inward Investment Manager at City of York Council; Sabrina Zissler, Global Partnerships Manager at the University of York. The group are pictured standing in one of the ISA’s labs, next to a healthcare robot.

YORK, UK - In a striking display of York's historical charm and technological prowess, His Excellency Miguel Berger, the German Ambassador to the UK, embarked on a comprehensive tour of the city on Thursday, 30 November. Accompanied by York's Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris Cullwick, and Lady Mayoress Joy Cullwick, the Ambassador's visit shone a spotlight on York's dual identity as a custodian of ancient crafts and a hub for future technologies.

The Ambassador's first stop was the awe-inspiring York Minster, where he met with teams of skilled glaziers and stonemasons. These artisans are pivotal in preserving the medieval cathedral, a world-renowned heritage site, ensuring its grandeur endures for future generations.

The visit took a futuristic turn at the University of York in Heslington, where Ambassador Berger met with Professor Matthias Ruth, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. Discussions centred around the university's groundbreaking work in research and innovation, particularly in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

A tour of the Institute for Safe Autonomy (ISA) with its Director, Professor Miles Elsden, offered the Ambassador an exclusive look into the latest AI innovations. The ISA's mission to develop technologies ensuring safety and security in autonomous systems was a focal point of the visit, reflecting the institute’s commitment to societal welfare and economic advancement.

Ambassador Berger expressed admiration for the UK's blend of education and innovation, highlighting the potential for increased international collaboration.

The day concluded with a presentation by ETAS, a York-based subsidiary of the German firm Bosch, specialising in automotive industry systems. Nigel Tracey, Manager of ETAS, underscored York's appeal as a prime destination for high-growth tech companies, citing the city's quality of life, access to talented graduates, and cutting-edge research facilities like the ISA.

Cllr Chris Cullwick, the Rt. Hon Lord Mayor of York, remarked on the visit's demonstration of York's ability to honor its past while embracing a forward-looking vision. "This visit truly gave a sense of how York both embraces the past and looks ahead to a bright future," he said.

Cllr Pete Kilbane, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, thanked the Ambassador and emphasised York's historical role in leading new technologies and industries. "The visit was a great opportunity to shine a light on York’s international role in high-growth industries such as AI," Kilbane stated.

Ambassador Berger acknowledged the significance of understanding the UK beyond London and praised the burgeoning York-Germany connection. "It was impressive seeing the close and thriving economic relationship between the UK and Germany," he commented.

Professor Matthias Ruth highlighted the Institute for Safe Autonomy's commitment to minimizing risks while maximizing the societal, economic, and environmental benefits of autonomous systems. "In presenting the Institute to His Excellency Miguel Berger, we highlighted that working in partnership we can provide better understanding of the safe, ethical and real-world applications of autonomous systems," he explained.

The visit underscored York's status as a city where history and future technologies coalesce, fostering a unique blend of cultural heritage and innovation.

William Gomes
William Gomes

South Asia correspondent.
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