In the late evening of the 1st of May 2009 our colleague, partner and friend Dr. Jörg Meyer-Stamer passed away after a short and intense battle with cancer. It is still difficult to come to terms with and accept his death, as well as the fact that we will never again have the chance to be with him, laugh and work with him and be challenged by him and his amazing pursuit of making a difference through participatory economic development approaches, and of searching for opportunities to improve life in developing and transformation countries. In the midst of these moments of sorrow we also start to realize our gratitude for having worked with Jörg in mesopartner, and been inspired by him with many insights, ideas and his driving spirit. This infected not only all of us in mesopartner but many colleagues all around the world alike. It enables us at present to value most highly the time we were able to share with him as a partner and friend.
Before founding mesopartner, from 1988 to 1998 Jörg worked for the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Berlin (now based in Bonn), an Institute that is still the main German think tank on development studies (see also Obituary for Jörg from the GDI www.die-gdi.de).He then moved to Duisburg to search for a deeper and more practical understanding of industrial and economic development with a special focus on the structural change process in the Ruhr Valley. Here he led a German-Korean-Chilean research project at the Institute of Development and Peace to look at the regional economic development process in Germany from an internationally experienced perspective. Many of those who have had the chance to cycle with him through
the Ruhr Valley know the enthusiasm he developed for this region. He used the gained insights to develop further-reaching economic development strategies for industrial and developing countries that also merged into his later work with mesopartner.
When Jörg founded mesopartner in 2003, he had already paved the way for business success with his experience and practical manual publications on the PACA approach. He once said that he never was interested in opening a business with employees. What he wanted was to share his knowledge and to enrich it through networking and exchanging with other international and local experts. This is a trait he not only shared with us as partners and other colleagues but with more than 10,000 people who have downloaded the LED podcast hosted by him and Shawn Cunningham during the last few years.
Jörg continuously challenged himself and his colleagues. He had this ability to take different perspectives and to be open-minded about different perceived realities. It was not necessary to agree with him but he encouraged new discussions, forced us and others to reflect on the status quo, and to look deeper into realities that, from a scientific and theoretical perspective, do not provide many more answers. Within these discussions he never got lost in one point of view or settled in the “comfort zone”. Although sometimes people had difficulties with the continuous challenges with which Jörg confronted his colleagues, and occasionally his customers. It was rooted in a highly creative character with an intrinsic motivation to understand better and to contribute with new and innovative ideas, patching and re-configuring old insights into new and further developed innovative formats and products.
We will never be able to replace Jörg. With gratitude in our hearts we will keep his spirit alive.
Dear Jörg, thank you for this opportunity to work and learn with you. It was a great pleasure, and we will always miss you!
In line with the great legacy you left behind, our company mesopartner will continue trying to make significant contributions in the area of economic development.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to his mother Mrs. Inge Meyer, his sister Birte and daughter Lina. Our empathy also goes out to Jorg's longtime partner Ute Lutz who, over the last several months, gave him all emotional and physical support possible.
The mesopartner team