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Cultural Relations in 2011

Winning hearts and minds for Germany and forging lasting networks – these are the goals pursued by our cultural relations and education policy. We put this policy into practice by supporting more than 1500 partner schools worldwide, providing funding for over 40,000 students and academics, and by working with 150 Goethe-Institut branches and other partner organizations around the globe. The 15th Federal Government Report on Cultural Relations and Education Policy was adopted by the Cabinet on 11 January 2012.

Cultural relations and education policy is viewed by Foreign Minister Westerwelle as a top foreign policy priority and a key “calling card” for Germany around the world. The Foreign Minister welcomes the fact that it was possible to negotiate the largest budget for cultural relations and education policy in the history of the Federal Foreign Office for the year 2012.

Cultural relations and education policy has new challenges to master in this age of globalization. The world is changing rapidly – the environment in which politicians act is now shaped by a high degree of intercommunication, shifting global power structures and social upheaval.

Under these altered conditions, cultural relations and education policy has ever more significance as a key pillar of German foreign policy. It provides a platform for intercultural dialogue, trust and mutual understanding. The networks and long-term partnerships established under its framework are what stable international relations are built on.

The Federal Government’s 15th Report on Cultural Relations and Education Policy covers the period from August 2010 to September 2011. It was compiled under the aegis of the Federal Foreign Office, and provides an overview of the principles and priorities of cultural relations and education policy.

Cultural and educational work abroad – priorities

Minister of State Pieper with students in a digital classroom

Minister of State Pieper with students in a digital classroom
© Photothek / Th. Trutschel

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Minister of State Pieper with students in a digital classroom

Minister of State Pieper with students in a digital classroom

Minister of State Pieper with students in a digital classroom

On the one hand, we seek to nurture old friendships. For example, in 2010/2011 we ran campaigns in Great Britain, the USA, Poland and France to promote German language learning in those countries. Within Europe, our focus will be on fostering relations with our eastern neighbours.

At the same time, the Federal Government also wants to establish new partnerships and has launched a wide range of initiatives to this end, including the exhibition on the “Art of the Enlightenment” which will be shown in Beijing from April 2011 to March 2012, and the Year of Germany in India which was started in 2011 with events in seven major cities.

The Arab world is and will remain a key focus of Germany’s cultural relations work. The opportunities now presented by the Arab spring are tremendous. Civil society structures must receive targeted support in this time of dramatic change.

Germany has concluded partnerships with the countries undergoing transformation in North Africa. Twenty million euro have been earmarked in the field of culture and education for each of the next two years.

Our new cultural relations and education policy

In September 2011, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented the Government’s new cultural relations strategy entitled “Cultural relations and education policy in the age of globalization – gaining partners, conveying values, representing interests”.

This set out new strategic and regional priorities designed to consolidate our policies and thoroughly update them to bring them into line with the realities of the 21st century.


Last updated 11.01.2012

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