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Myanmar: Exhibition on 60 years of diplomatic relations opens Myanmar

03.09.2014 - Article

The new exhibition in the Atrium of the Federal Foreign Office is devoted to 60 years of diplomatic relations with Myanmar. During the opening ceremony, State Secretary Steinlein presented Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin with a digitised version of the “Golden Letter”.

Handing over the digitised version of the “Golden Letter”
Handing over the digitised version of the “Golden Letter”© AA

The new exhibition in the Atrium of the Federal Foreign Office is devoted to 60 years of diplomatic relations with Myanmar. During the opening ceremony, State Secretary Steinlein presented Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin with a digitised version of the “Golden Letter”.

Since the country opened up in 2011, Myanmar has undergone a tremendous transformation. Germany is providing political, economic and cultural support for the process of democratic change in Myanmar. Sixty years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Myanmar, the Federal Foreign Office is presenting the first exhibition on cooperation between the two countries.

“Golden Letter” receives a symbolic reply

During the opening ceremony on 3 September, State Secretary Stephan Steinlein presented Myanmar's Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, with a digitised version of the so-called “Golden Letter”. In his speech, Steinlein talked about accompanying Federal President Joachim Gauck to Myanmar at the beginning of the year, saying how struck he had been by the country’s rich cultural heritage.

State Secretary Steinlein in the Atrium of the Federal Foreign Office
State Secretary Steinlein in the Atrium of the Federal Foreign Office© AA

The State Secretary acknowledged the reform process in Myanmar and reaffirmed Germany’s support for the country’s further development. Steinlein described the intercultural exchange between the two countries as “immensely dynamic” and welcomed the conclusion of the bilateral Cultural Agreement in 2013. The increasing number of university partnerships and visits by journalists highlighted the extent of this exchange, he went on, adding that a branch of the Goethe-Institut would shortly be opening in the heart of Yangon.

The digitisation of the “Golden Letter” from the archives of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library in Hanover was a very special project which “breathed new life” into bilateral cultural relations, emphasised the State Secretary.

Part of the Golden Letter
Part of the Golden Letter© dpa / picture alliance

The letter, made of pure gold, which the Burmese King Alaungphaya sent to George II, then both Elector of Hanover and British king, in 1756, is a unique piece of global and colonial history. The historic document has been digitised in 3D with the support of the Federal Foreign Office and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library and forms a modern cultural bridge between Germany and Myanmar.

At the exhibition opening, State Secretary Steinlein presented a digitised version of the “Golden Letter” to Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, saying that the letter was finally receiving a reply – at least symbolically. The digitised version is to go on display first in Yangon and later in Myanmar's National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw.

A large crowd for the opening of the exhibition on 3 September
A large crowd for the opening of the exhibition on 3 September© AA

First exhibition on bilateral cooperation

The 24 information panels in the exhibition “Culture, science, academia: keys to the future” look back on changing relations between Germany and Myanmar while at the same time looking ahead to the future. The main focus is on concrete cooperation in the fields of cultural and educational exchange, cultural preservation and cooperation in the media – all key areas for modern networking and knowledge transfer in which Germany has special expertise.

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Exhibition flyer (PDF, 979 KB)

Speech by State Secretary Stephan Steinlein


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