Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier opened the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles yesterday (18 June). The Federal Foreign Office purchased the house for the Federal Government in autumn 2016. The first fellows will live and work in Los Angeles from August 2018.
Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement on this in Berlin today (19 June):
We are currently experiencing challenging times in our transatlantic relations, with many crises and conflicts throughout the world which require us to stand close together. The United States is our most important partner outside Europe. Only by working side by side can we tackle global problems. That is why intensive dialogue on the issues that concern us is so important, also and particularly beyond the bounds of traditional diplomacy. In times when there are certain topics which divide us across the Atlantic, the Thomas Mann House is designed to be a place of cultural and social interaction on the fundamental issues of our day. I am delighted that Federal President Steinmeier opened the Thomas Mann House yesterday.
The Federal Foreign Office purchased the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles in November 2016. Since then, renovation work has been carried out, the board members and the first fellows selected. The residency programme is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung are also providing financial support. Close exchange is also envisaged between the Thomas Mann House and the Goethe-Institut network in the United States.
The house is conceived as a place which will inspire debate, in the spirit of Thomas Mann, on fundamental current and future issues on both sides of the Atlantic, also with regard to the Pacific region. A residency programme in the form of fellowships is to be established, under the responsibility of the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House association, which has operated the artists’ residence Villa Aurora in the former exile residence of Marta and Lion Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades since 1995 and offers a well established infrastructure in Los Angeles.
The fellowship programme aims to give intellectuals and thinkers from all fields of German society, particularly from the realms of culture, academia, business, politics and the media, the opportunity to address the major questions of our time and to enter into a dialogue and network with individuals and institutions in the United States.
The first fellows were nominated in a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on 4 September 2017: Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, Prof. Heinrich Detering, Burghart Klaußner and Prof. Yiannos Manoli. Dr Sylke Tempel, who died tragically last year, was also nominated as a fellow. Frido Mann, who, as Thomas Mann’s grandson, spent part of his childhood in the house, receives an honorary fellowship.
The German Government attaches particular importance to dialogue with the United States. This certainly applies to political dialogue with the Administration. Yet it also and especially applies to the dialogue among societies conducted by intellectuals, artists, academics and journalists, for example. It is the Federal Government’s aim to make Germany’s voice even more clearly heard in the US with regard to the key issues of our time.
The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media would like to thank all partners involved in the project, including Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House, the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, for their generous support, without which the restoration of the Thomas Mann House would not have been possible.