|Role of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany|
|At the Venice Biennale Germany has traditionally been
represented by a German Pavilion commissioned and co-funded by the Federal
Foreign Office. The Federal Foreign Office is keen to help foster a lively
and creative arts scene in Germany as well as cultural exchange throughout
the world. Such efforts are part and parcel of our cultural relations
and education activities, which for many decades have been considered
a key dimension of our foreign policy.
The 52nd Venice Biennale is not just a mecca for art-lovers everywhere but also an important forum for international exchanges that attracts people from all over the world. So this year Germany is once again represented at the Biennale with a Pavilion.
For the Federal Foreign Office cultural engagement is a well-established tradition; we have long seen fostering lively cultural contacts as an important part of Germany's foreign policy. Our activities in this field are geared to a number of objectives. First and foremost we want to help people all over the world to discover Germany for themselves rather than relying on clichés and preconceptions. By the same token, we believe our own culture and education will benefit as well if we convince people abroad, for example, that Germany is an attractive place to study. At European Union level we hope our activities in this field will increasingly help forge a common identity among citizens of the EU's 27 member states.
To realize these objectives, the Federal Foreign Office and our embassies abroad work with a number of highly competent partners. The main organizations active in this field are the Goethe Institute, the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. In the management of 117 German schools abroad we are aided by a special body set up for this purpose, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad.
Working together, we have achieved some impressive results. Across the world from Sao Paolo to Kabul some 70,000 young people a year attend our German schools abroad. An estimated 150,000 people anually attend the Goethe Institute's German courses. Currently some 30,000 young foreigners per year are studying at German universities on DAAD scholarships.
These figures also mean a host of personal ties with our country and its people, ties from which both sides have much to gain. Learning to understand how a foreign artist or researcher perceives the world enables us Germans to acquire new insights. And such face-to-face encounters are seen by many of our contacts all over the world as a wonderful way of expanding their horizons. Particularly the kind of fertile and stimulating exchanges that take place at the Venice Biennale forge enduring ties with the wider world. For our foreign policy as a whole, such ties are clearly a tremendous asset.
|Contact: Section 602 Cultural Programmes|