Carl H. Hahn

4.2 Honorary mandates

  • Initiator and member of the Wolfsburg Museum
    of Art's Board of Trustees

Museum bei NachtOpened in May 1994, the Wolfsburg Museum of Art has since developed into a key ambassador and lively place of communication for the Volkswagen city. The topicality and quality of its exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as the professionally executed communication of its offerings have gained the museum an excellent reputation far beyond state and national boundaries. The exhibition previews are always very well attended and, together with the national and international media resonance, underline the popularity and standing which the Wolfsburg Museum of Art now enjoys throughout the world - not only among art connoisseurs but also among the general public.

  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Antonius Holling Foundation
Visit of the then Prime Minister; photo courtesy of Wolfsburger Nachrichten

The Antonius Holling Foundation, Wolfsburg, was founded in 2004 and is a non-profit organization with particular activity focused on children and youth-orientated work. Monsignore Antonius Holling (1908-1996), the prelate from whom the foundation takes its name, had already courageously rendered great service as a young pastor during World War Two in the "town of the KDF car" (the "strength through joy" car - later to become known as the Volkswagen), which subsequently became Wolfsburg. After the war he was among the pioneers of this aspiring city, the religious and social life of which he played a leading role in shaping - for many years as priest of the St. Christophorus parish. In 1984 the City Council of Wolfsburg made him a freeman of the city.

Within the framework of its promotion and support of pre-school and school education, the Antonius Holling Foundation started a pilot project in August 2007 that has its origins in an initiative of Carl H. Hahn. To this end, an English-language pre-school group was set up for children aged 3 and above in the Edith Stein Kindergarten in Wolfsburg under the leadership of Mrs. Doris Heubach, and a specific educational program, based on the English curriculum, was developed for the pre-school. One important objective of the project is to introduce the children to various tasks including reading, writing and arithmetic through play. In this way they develop a curiosity and a love of learning, virtually absorbing knowledge at up to ten times the learning speed of an adult, but without missing out on the all-important element of play. The children are looked after by university-educated English-speaking pre-school teachers (native speakers). The pre-school is now in its ninth year.

It is a further aim of this concept that these randomly formed pre-school groups are each enrolled as closed classes in the Catholic Eichendorff primary school in Wolfsburg and, as of now, in the Käferschule primary school in Wolfsburg-Reislingen as well. This school, together with the Eichendorff grammar school, monitors the work done in the groups, so that the curricula of the secondary schools are carefully coordinated, in order to ensure the continuity of the bilingual education and to exploit the children's relatively high intellectual level.

Scientific findings support the idea of this innovative project. They point to the enormous potential of learning through play for children of this age in terms of the development of the brain. In particular, the fact that definite windows of opportunity exist for the development of particular centers of the brain - for example up to approximately the age of ten for the language center of the brain - demonstrates that omissions at this stage of life cannot subsequently be made up for. Unlike in many other countries in the world, German pre-schools have not taken sufficient account of these findings to date. The Antonius Holling Foundation's nursery school project wants to change this and has had a very encouraging response from both parents and children. In addition, the special early childhood education, which benefits children of any ability, lays the foundation for a general reduction in the length of school education and, therefore, an earlier entry into university studies and professional life as well.

The consultant for the project is Mrs. Susanne Ak, the former head of the Berlin British School and the International School Villa Amalienhof, who is now responsible in the Volkswagen Group for the global coordination, planning and advising of pre-schools and schools. In particular, Mrs. Ak provided a great deal of professional support in the recruitment of "native speakers".

Several of the pre-school groups from the Edith Stein Kindergarten have in the meantime moved up to Eichendorff primary school, whilst the first of our former kindergarten children have been attending high school since the summer of 2014. The children are impressive in every respect: their ability to learn and their speed of learning, their social behavior and interaction are far superior to that of their peers who have been educated using traditional methods. This advantage will stay with them all their lives, as confirmed by modern scientific findings.

The pre-school project of the Antonius Holling Foundation has far exceeded the expectations of everyone involved. The then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, also confirmed the importance of this project for the improvement of the German education system during his visit to the Edith-Stein Kindergarten in June 2011.

What began as a pilot project has now found a high degree of acceptance beyond the region and is also being implemented in various nursery schools, including the nursery school of the Saxony International School Carl Hahn, Glauchau, which alone has 1,600 Kindergarten children. In order to take account of China's growing importance to the Volkswagen Group as the world's most important economic power, Chinese has been part of the Wolfsburg Edith-Stein Kindergarten program as a second foreign language since January 2014.

  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Volksbank BraWo Foundation

As part of an extensive field of promotion and supportive activities covering youth and old people's welfare, adult education and vocational training, science and research, protection of nature and the environment, right through to the upkeep of buildings and monuments and the promotion of international understanding, the Volksbank BraWo Foundation also runs the United Kids Foundation project in cooperation with other well-known foundations. This initiative is aimed at putting in place long-term projects for children in the region comprising Braunschweig, Wolfsburg and Salzgitter.

  • Member of the Executive Board of the Mayo Clinic Foundation Germany

The Mayo Clinic Foundation in Germany was set up in 1998 at the initiative of Carl H. Hahn as a non-profit body for the promotion of medical training and research. It gives promising young medical doctors the possibility of working and conducting research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (USA), one of the world's largest and most prestigious clinics with more than 100 years of tradition behind it. In order to optimize processes and quality in medical care and to make nurse training more academic, the cooperation and transfer of know-how, promoted by the Mayo Clinic Foundation, will be further intensified in the future.A project realized with Porsche Consulting in the field of neurosurgery likewise served this objective.