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Soft Power

Dungaree diplomats

— Berlin


When a flood devastates Uganda or an earthquake strikes Pakistan, Germany’s THW gets some of the first aid workers on the ground. Mostly volunteers, they are part of Germany’s soft power arsenal.

In the dark of a business park in Berlin’s Reinickendorf district, about 40 men and women in blue uniforms are standing in two straight lines, awaiting orders. It is 19.00 on a Monday evening and this is where the local branch of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk or THW) meets.

After a short briefing from team leader Sven Wersoly, they head into a large garage where there is a motorboat, five trucks and piles of equipment – wooden planks, cables, bolt-cutters and chainsaws. The workers chatter as they meticulo…


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