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Interview with Johannes Ebert
“Stimuli That Germany Needs”

Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, in an interview with “The Latest at Goethe”
Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, in an interview with “The Latest at Goethe” | Photo (detail): © Goethe-Institut

The coronavirus pandemic also left a mark on the year 2020 for the Goethe-Institut. In his interview with “The Latest at Goethe”, Secretary-General Johannes Ebert nonetheless is optimistic about the future and speaks about the focuses the Goethe-Institut will set in its international cultural and language work in 2021.

By Alexander Behrmann

The Goethe-Institut contributes to peaceful and understanding coexistence in the world, says Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert, adding, “And that’s only possible through encounters, encounters and more encounters.” In 2020, they mainly took place in the digital space. In its cultural programmes, the Goethe-Institut developed digital and hybrid formats with broad coverage. By setting up an international aid fund together with the Federal Foreign Office, it was also able to support cultural and educational organisations abroad. There were also innovations in language work: Online language courses significantly intensified worldwide and in November 2020, the Goethe-Institut was named the best digital language teaching institute.

Interview with Johannes Ebert: “Stimuli That Germany Needs” | Goethe-Institut e.V.
English subtitles can be displayed © YouTube Interview in German language. English subtitles can be displayed.

A globally embedded society

However, revenue did fall due to the global restrictions. It was possible to mitigate the consequences with interim aid from the government and constant realignments. At the Annual Press Conference, Ebert noted, “We’re quite pleased about the digital formats we were able to implement at such short notice this year, for example the kulturama livestreaming platform or Danachgedanken, an intellectual archive of the coronavirus pandemic. Next year, we’ll also partially digitise the Kultursymposium Weimar, which will be shedding light on the topic of ‘Generations’ from an international perspective from 16 to 17 June 2021.” Since German society is globally embedded, Ebert noted in the interview with The Latest at Goethe, we need to find out what debates are taking place in other societies. The Kultursymposium Weimar brings people from culture, politics, business and science from all over the world together to discuss a big question. “It really offers stimuli that Germany needs.”