Cultural relations and education policy

Tasks and objectives

Along with political and economic relations, cultural relations – including education – is one of the three cornerstones of German foreign policy and has, moreover, a demonstrably long-term impact. Cultural and educational programmes tailored to the needs and interests of people in our partner countries not only create a broad basis for stable international relations but also build trust in our country around the world. As a result of such programmes, our civil society, business and political actors readily find a host of important and reliable partners to work with. Our cultural relations and education policy objectives are:

  • to present Germany as a country with a lively, multifaceted and internationally renowned cultural scene
  • to strengthen Germany as an education, science and research location by awarding scholarships, for example, to students and outstanding young researchers from all parts of the world
  • to promote interest in the German language in Europe and also internationally
  • to contribute to international crisis and conflict prevention efforts by helping, for example, to rebuild schools and universities in Afghanistan
  • to promote European integration by introducing EU-wide education and training parameters, for example
  • to preserve cultural diversity around the world by supporting, for example, projects to restore endangered cultural sites in developing countries
  • to create a stable foundation for international relations by fostering dialogue and encounter.


The main focus is on academic exchanges, support for schools abroad and activities geared to promoting interest in the German language as well as intercultural dialogue.

Our current priorities are as follows:

  • under the "Schools: Partners of the Future" initiative, we are building a network of partner schools in selected growth and priority regions
  • promoting the German language abroad
  • Germany years in the Russian Federation (until June 2013) and Brazil (from May 2013)


Germany’s cultural relations and education activities reflect the diversity and independence of the bodies responsible for their delivery. These are non-governmental organizations which operate under strategic guidelines laid down by the German Government and with a German Government mandate. In their programme and project work they enjoy a very large measure of independence. In the interest of consistency, the various activities undertaken by these organizations abroad on behalf of the German Government are coordinated locally by the relevant German embassy and consulate-general. Given the increasing number and diversity of the organizations involved, the coordinating role of our missions abroad is becoming increasingly important.

Our principal partners in this connection are:

  1. Goethe-Institut (GI)
  2. German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  3. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH)
  4. Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa)
  5. Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA)
  6. Educational Exchange Service (PAD)
  7. German Commission for UNESCO (DUK)
  8. German Archaeological Institute (DAI)
  9. Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
  10. Max Weber Stiftung – Foundation for German Humanities Institutes Abroad (MWS)
  11. Federal Cultural Foundation (KSB)
  12. Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures – HKW)

Last updated 04.02.2013

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