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Joint press statement by Foreign Minister Gabriel and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Grütters: fellows nominated for the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles

19.09.2017

At a special meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House association, whose members include representatives of the Federal Foreign Office and the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, has nominated the first group of fellows for the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles:

Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, Prof. Heinrich Detering, Mr Burghart Klaußner, Prof. Yiannos Manoli  and Dr Sylke Tempel will live and work in Los Angeles in the coming year.

Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement on this in Berlin today (19 September):

In a conflict-ridden world, it is more important than ever for us to create and protect spheres outside the realm of politics that facilitate exchange and understanding. The United States is our most important partner outside Europe and is indispensable for resolving many problems around the world. This is why we are seeking to enter a dialogue on many levels and working to expand our hubs for access to culture and education on the other side of the Atlantic, especially with a view to the Year of Germany in the United States scheduled to take place in 2018. In difficult times when some things separate us across the Atlantic, cultural exchange is paramount for open societies and for our common transatlantic foundation of values.

Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, stated the following:

In times of challenging transatlantic relations, the purchase of the Thomas Mann House is a stroke of good fortune and also a great obligation. While in exile in the last century, Thomas Mann raised his voice for freedom and for democratic and open societies as one of the most important writers and intellectuals of his age. With this residency programme, we intend to offer a platform for discussions and discourse that is able to counter increasing confrontation and polarisation. Culture and the media have an indispensable role to play in this regard. Where intellectual discourse is neglected and critical journalism is unwelcome, it will fall to outstanding individuals to do all that they can to stand up for the freedom of the arts and the press, as well as for social cohesion.

The Federal Foreign Office purchased the Thomas Mann House, which is currently undergoing renovation work, in November 2016. The residency programme is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. It aims to give outstanding individuals from all fields of German society, particularly from the realms of culture, academia, business, politics and the media, the opportunity to address the major questions of our time and to enter into a dialogue and network with individuals and institutions in the US.

The fellows nominated today will inaugurate the Thomas Mann House in the coming year.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House are responsible for the residency programme. The association has operated the artists’ residence Villa Aurora since 1995. Villa Aurora was the exile residence of Marta and Lion Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades and offers a well-established infrastructure in Los Angeles.

The Federal Government sets great store by the dialogue with the US. This applies not only to the political dialogue with the Administration, but also and especially to the dialogue among societies conducted by intellectuals, artists, academics and journalists. It is the Federal Government’s aim to make Germany’s voice even more clearly heard in the US with regard to the key issues of our time.

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media would like to thank the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung for their generous support.

Further information about the Thomas Mann House and about the fellowships is available on the website of Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House:

www.vatmh.org

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