On the initiative of the Goethe-Institut and the Federal Foreign Office, institutions working in international cultural cooperation have set up a relief fund. It is aimed at organisations abroad whose commitment is of great importance for artistic freedom and for a pluralistic society. With the fund, projects that serve in particular to ensure the livelihood of these institutions will receive short-term and non-bureaucratic support. The Foreign Office is providing the basic funding of three million euros; the Goethe-Institut is coordinating the allocation of funds. A jury will select the funded projects. Together with the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German UNESCO Commission, the S. Fischer Foundation, the Mercator Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Siemens Foundation the Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut form a consortium and invite other institutions to participate. In this context, the partners partly set their own accents.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated, “Foreign policy is a lived partnership, especially in difficult times. It also involves a cultural policy mandate. For in times of physical distancing, cultural closeness is more important than ever. We in Germany have therefore built a network of international solidarity for culture and civil society. I am pleased that the Goethe-Institut has taken up the coordination of this fund. International cultural policy needs strong networks and structures. The Goethe-Institut can and should play a key role in this.”
Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, says, “In many countries, institutions such as theatres, art spaces, or independent literary houses are already under pressure – not least due to the reinforcement of authoritarian forms of government and increasing restrictions on civil liberties. Many of these institutions, which are essential for critical and open dialogue, are now faced with serious financial challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis. Through the International 2020 Relief Fund for Organisations in Culture and Education we want to help these very organisations, for their existence is vital for the societies and for international dialogue.”
The funding is aimed at institutions from countries outside the European Union where there are no other funding options. They must also meet the following criteria: