Hans Peter Gohla, former Executive Director of CAMECO has died

On 16 December, Hans Peter Gohla who steered the fortunes of CAMECO as Executive Director from 1991 to 1999 died at the age of 87 in Aachen.

After studying economics, history, philosophy, pedagogy and Dutch language with the aim of becoming a teacher, Hans Peter embarked, however, on a career in journalism and the media. On behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation he implemented the tele-education centre at the Catholic University of Lima / Peru in the 1970s. He worked for the Church newspaper in the diocese of Aachen, as Misereor press officer and later – among other positions – as the Head of the Misereor Asia Department. He also continued to work as a freelancer for the weekly “Die Zeit” and for various broadcast media.

In August 1991, at a time of structural change, he became Executive Director of CAMECO, succeeding Fr Dr Marcel Vanhengel op. His leadership of the organisation was careful to maintain CAMECO’s independence as a trusted intermediary between project holders and the donors who fund them, promoting expertise in the local churches and professional dialogue on Social Communications and ways to harness the potential of the media in an appropriate and effective manner for evangelisation as well as for development. As he himself put it: “My desire was to be as impartial, neutral and professional as possible.”

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the opening of Eastern Europe and the newly independent states that emerged from the Soviet Union, it was particularly important to him to assist the churches in Central and Eastern Europe to swiftly build up their communication ministry. During his tenure, he established the Desk for Central and Eastern Europe at CAMECO with the support of Renovabis and Church in Need.

In recognition of his dedication to the media apostolate of the Catholic Church, at the end of his time at CAMECO he was awarded the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory, bestowed on him by Cardinal James Patrick Foley, the late former President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

We at CAMECO will remember Hans Peter Gohla fondly for his humanity, openness and as a polyglot, with a wide range of interests and critical mind.