From 27 September to 2 October, Minister of State Cornelia Piper is travelling to Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. In addition to talks with politicians in all three countries, her trip will focus on expanding Germany’s cultural cooperation projects in South-East Asia.
In Myanmar, the Minister of State is to sign a joint declaration on cultural cooperation in Nay Pyi Taw. The most important aspects of the declaration are the reopening of the Goethe-Institut in Rangoon and the strengthening of academic cooperation. The joint declaration lays the cornerstone for a future agreement on cultural cooperation. Previously, experts from abroad could not travel freely within Myanmar and cooperation with domestic institutions was limited. The joint declaration guarantees these freedoms. This is an important step in the direction of reform for Myanmar and establishes the preconditions for an expansion of cultural as well as academic and technical cooperation between the countries.
In Cambodia, the Minister of State is to inaugurate the “Dimensions & Perspectives” exhibition on conservation efforts in Angkor at the National Museum in Phnom Penh and also visit Angkor Wat. The Federal Foreign Office has contributed around three million euros in total to the restoration of Angkor’s temple complex since 1992. It is the largest single project supported by the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office.
In Thailand, the Minister of State is to open the first joint German-Thai conference on education. It will be held at King Mongkut’s University under the title “DUAL.excellence”. In this context, a Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in the field of education will be signed. Because Thailand now spends almost a quarter of its budget on education, new forms of cooperation between institutions of higher-learning, vocational training centres and business are in demand. Minister of State Pieper’s trip takes place in the context of the celebration of 150 years of German-Thai relations.