On Friday (12 July) Minister of State Cornelia Pieper leaves for South‑East Asia on a trip lasting several days. Her main destination is Myanmar, where together with Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs she will sign a bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation. This will provide the legal framework for Germany’s cultural and academic cooperation with institutions in Myanmar and lay the basis for the opening of a Goethe‑Institut branch in spring 2014. Minister of State Pieper’s delegation includes Prof. Klaus‑Dieter Lehmann, the Goethe‑Institut President, as well as representatives of German business.
Before leaving on her trip, Minister of State Pieper issued the following statement:
I am very pleased that, with the signing of a cultural cooperation agreement so soon after the country has begun to open up, we can now start developing cultural exchanges between Germany and Myanmar. Germany is the first country to sign such an agreement since the country embarked on its reform agenda. This reflects the new quality in our bilateral relations. I am particularly glad that on the basis of this agreement we will be opening a Goethe‑Institut branch in Yangon in the year we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
In September 2012 the Minister of State had made a previous visit to Myanmar, where she and the Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs had signed a joint declaration. This paved the way for the setting up of a Goethe‑Institut branch there. In January 2013 the Federal Foreign Office opened negotiations on the bilateral cultural cooperation agreement. Considerable headway was made when the Myanmar Minister for Cultural Affairs visited Germany in March at the invitation of the Federal Foreign Office. The agreement provides the legal framework for sending German cultural experts to Myanmar to intensify academic cooperation with the country and to set up a Goethe‑Institut branch in Yangon. In 2014 Germany and Myanmar will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.