Selected regional focal points
Australia, New Zealand, Japan
Australia: The Goethe-Institut’s cultural festival BERLIN DAYZ 2010 in Melbourne offered some 35,000 visitors over 60 events featuring art, design, and architecture along with music events, concerts and film screenings. Nationwide TV and radio programmes reached hundreds of thousands of interested individuals. The Berlin Philharmonic was a featured guest at six concerts in Perth and Sydney, its first Australian tour in its 150-year history. These concerts were broadcast live on ten large screens to an additional 10,000 enthusiasts. In recent years a particularly diverse film production has taken root in New Zealand. New Zealand will be the Guest of Honour at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. A year of culture was inaugurated in Tokyo in January 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between Prussia and Japan. This festival was the result of an initiative by civil society to recognise the close bilateral relationship between Germany and Japan through a series of cultural events. The triple catastrophe – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster on 11 March 2011 – constituted a tragic watershed. In a conscious show of German solidarity with Japan, many organisers went ahead with the programme despite restrictions.
Since 2008, grant programmes have been expanded through the initiative “Aktion Afrika”. Language instruction, school exchanges and sports promotion have been intensified. Cooperation in the field of higher education and research has also been further developed. Civil society engagement with Africa has been impressive, for example the annual Africa Festival in Würzburg. German development cooperation supports the “Afrikamera” film festival in Berlin. The aforementioned projects are good examples from the fields of ‘development, education and research’—objectives of the Federal Government’s Africa Strategy formulated to emphasize the continent’s potential and opportunities. Israel, Palestine, Middle East, dialogue with the Islamic world, transition countries Middle East/Israel-Palestine: The Barenboim-Said Conservatory Foundation has organised annual joint concerts with young Israeli and Palestinian musicians for the past 20 years. In 2009/2010 the Foundation founded a new conservatory in Jaffa. Germany’s cultural relations with the Palestinian territories are closely tied to efforts to strengthen civil society, for example through the NGO project Cinema Jenin (West Bank). In 2002, Germany became the first Western nation to create a policy focus around “Dialogue with the Islamic World” (referred to as “Islam Dialogue”) at the Federal Foreign Office. Since 2007, Germany has been a highly dedicated member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC). The German Anna Lindh network created through the Alexandriabased Anna Lindh Foundation also continues to develop. Around EUR 2.4 million (USD 3.2 million) was allocated to successful project work in Islamic countries in both 2008 and 2009. As of 2011/2012, transition countries in North Africa and the Middle East are a particular point of focus.
China is a priority country for Germany’s international cooperation. The event series “Germany and China – Moving Ahead Together” (2007-2010) was attended by over a million Chinese citizens. In April 2011, the exhibition "The Art of Enlightenment" opened at the National Museum of China, where the central ideas of the Enlightenment and its influence on the visual arts to this day were highlighted. The unique panorama of masterpieces was accompanied by a lively public dialogue programme and received wide media coverage in both China and Germany.
Germany maintains particularly intensive relations with Turkey. On the 50th anniversary of the German-Turkish Recruitment Agreement of 1961, the exchange of artists was further deepened. Since 2006, the Ernst Reuter Initiative (ERI) has facilitated a joint educational framework, for example the German-Turkish University in Istanbul. In the Istanbul district of Tarabya, the Federal Government built a cultural academy on the grounds of the historic summer residence of the German ambassador. Through a grant programme, young artists are afforded space and time for intercultural living and work. Similar programmes are also sponsored at regional level: for example, the NRW Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the City of Cologne and the Braunschweig School of Art maintains the “Atelier Galata” in Istanbul.