Cultural Relations and Education Policy

The third pillar of German foreign policy

June 21st, 2017
Berlin Global Team, News from Berlin
2017_06_21 Cultural Education.jpg

Along with political and economic relations, cultural relations and education policy forms the third pillar of German foreign policy and is one of its most sustainable and visible instruments. Cultural and educational programmes tailored to the needs and interests of people in Germany’s partner countries create a broad basis for stable international relations.

At the same time, cultural relations and education policy builds trust in Germany around the world, helping the country’s society as well as business and political players to find a host of important and reliable partners to work with. Cultural relations and education policy pursues the following objectives in particular:

  • Creating stable foundations for international relations with the synergy of knowledge and culture and the dialogue between people
  • Promoting the German language in Europe and around the world
  • Contributing to worldwide crisis and conflict prevention
  • Promoting European integration
  • Preserving cultural diversity in the world
  • Presenting Germany as a modern and attractive location for education, science, research and professional development
  • Showcasing Germany as a country with a world‑renowned, creative and diverse cultural scene
  • Communicating a realistic and vibrant image of Germany

The primary focus of cultural relations and education policy is on academic exchange and cooperation between universities, schools abroad, cultural programmes, promoting German as a foreign language and intercultural dialogue.

The structures of Germany’s cultural relations and education policy reflect the diversity and independence of their actors. With its strategic guidelines, the Federal Government creates the necessary conditions for cultural and educational activities abroad and tasks intermediary organisations with their implementation. Cultural mediators enjoy a very large measure of independence in their programme and project work.

The Federal Government’s most important partners include the Goethe‑Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), the Federal Office of Administration – Central Agency for Schools Abroad, the Educational Exchange Service, the International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB), the German Commission for UNESCO, the German Archaeological Institute, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Partners of the Federal Foreign Office’s cultural relations and education policy also include political foundations, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Max Weber Foundation, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” and private foundations, as well as foundations with commercial ties and civil‑society organisations.

The Federal Foreign Office supports efforts by political foundations to encourage gifted scholarship holders from abroad by making funds available for scholarships and associated measures. The political foundation alumni network comprises important contacts and multipliers, who remain friends of Germany also after returning to their home countries.

In order to ensure consistency of the various activities, the cultural and educational work undertaken by the intermediary organisations is coordinated locally by the German missions abroad. Given the increasing number and diversity of the organisations involved, the coordinating role of the German missions abroad is becoming increasingly important.


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