"Our field is the world": Our patron Carl Hahn
The former top manager, whose name was linked to the rise of VW as a global brand, had been committed to early childhood education and a new form of school for many years.
Carl Hahn was born in Chemnitz in 1929, the son of the former sales manager of Zschopauer Motorenwerke and later co-founder of Auto-Union-Aktiengesellschaft Dr. Ing. Carl Hahn. The passion for the automotive industry was already in the nature of the junor; after studying business administration at the Universities of Cologne and Zurich and economics in Bristol, Carl Hahn became the Head of Export Promotion in 1954 at Volkswagen. From 1959 to 1964, he directed the destiny of „Volkswagen of America" in the U.S. as sales manager, and played a decisive role in the development and expansion of the company. After his return to Germany, Hahn was appointed to the VW Board in 1965, changed in 1972 to become Head of Continental AG Hannover, and returned as CEO to Wolfsburg in 1982. Under his leadership, the car company grew to become Europe’s market leader, and during his tenure he can be credited for the takeover of the Spanish Seat and the Czech Škoda plants as well as the expansion into China. In 1993, Carl Hahn moved to the supervisory board of the group to which he belonged until 1997. The revival of the automobile industry to his old stomping grounds in Chemnitz and Zwickau was of particular interest to him. After the reunification in 1989, VW became the largest investor in East Germany through Carl Hahn's commitment. He thus played a major role in the economic development in the region, and was appointed honorary citizen of the city of Chemnitz in 1994.
So what is it about Hahn's commitment to education? After all, the top manager and world citizen, honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau and honorary senator of the TU Braunschweig, is the namesake of the Saxony International School - Carl Hahn gGmbH since August 17, 2009. It is very close to his heart because Hahn is convinced that education, especially early childhood education, is vital to keeping Germany competitive. Deeming the study rate in Germany penurious, Hahn had begun to deal with educational issues during his work as head of VW. After his retirement, he further deepened the topic through his intense engagement with his eight grandchildren. The research results of neurobiologist Martin Korte of the TU Braunschweig strengthened Hahn's conviction that education has to start as early as possible for children - especially in regards to language and foreign language acquisition. In any case, for Carl Hahn, knowledge and language acquisition is one answer to the radical advancing global upheavals.
However, Hahn does not think this is related to the “elite universities,”: rather, a radical reform of the foundations of the education system, especially preschools and kindergartens, is necessary to better prepare children for the world of tomorrow, to make them competitive, and ,at the same time, make them happy.