Catharina Covolo, (26), a former M.Phil student in Ecumenical Studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics (2008/2009) was awarded the honorary Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for extraordinary voluntary civic engagement. Catharina was among fifteen other young people who were distinguished with the honorary medal of the Order of Merit by Christian Wulff, the President of Germany, at a special ceremony in Bellevue palace in Berlin on August 26, 2011.
Catharina has been voluntarily involved in the work with young people in the Lutheran Church in Germany at different levels, from local to international, since 2000. Her special contribution to the youth work has been in the area of educational work and training for youth leaders and youth workers. She also is the Vice-chairperson of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe (an umbrella organisation of Christian youth organisations in 25 European countries). Catharina is currently finishing her studies in Lutheran Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the only/ highest state decoration, which has been awarded to individuals for their outstanding achievements in political, economic, cultural, intellectual or volunteer field since 1951.
(Special thanks to current doctoral candidate Vladimir Kmec for translating media coverage of this event from German)