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The "Kulturweit" volunteer programme – new options for non-military national service

13.02.2009 - Press release

The Federal Foreign Office's new volunteer programme "Kulturweit" (Bridging Cultures) has been launched on Friday 13 February. Participation in the "Kulturweit" volunteer programme is based on the provisions for a voluntary social year, and thus also counts as an alternative to compulsory military service.

The Federal Foreign Office's new volunteer programme "Kulturweit" (Bridging Cultures) has been launched on Friday 13 February. Participation in the "Kulturweit" volunteer programme is based on the provisions for a voluntary social year, and thus also counts as an alternative to compulsory military service.

Minister of State Erler, Dr Bernecker, the Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO, Professor Lehmann, President of the Goethe-Institut, and German Archaeological Institute President Professor Gehrke presented the "Kulturweit" programme to the public at a joint press conference.

In his introductory statement, Minister of State Erler said that, "the new volunteer programme will foster young people's intercultural skills and encourage a cosmopolitan outlook on life. These are key skills in our globalized world. I thus hope that the new cultural volunteer programme will meet with great interest from young people."

Dr Bernecker highlighted the coordinating role to be played by the German Commission for UNESCO: "By assuming the coordination of "Kulturweit", the German Commission for UNESCO will help meet various core UNESCO objectives: creating educational opportunities, promoting international understanding and fostering cross-border cooperation. We will work hard to ensure that the new volunteer programme becomes a hallmark for quality, and that the great opportunities it opens up for all participants are seized and realized."

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