An Interview with Johannes Ebert
“Europe is Our Foundation”
Decolonisation, sustainability and Europe in times of populism: The Goethe-Institut is strengthening its network to facilitate the dialogue on these and other issues. For the annual press conference of the Goethe-Institut, Secretary-General Johannes Ebert reports in an interview on the focuses of the Goethe-Institut’s international cultural and language work in 2020.
At the annual press conference the secretary-general of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert stated, “With the funds of more than 10 million euros raised from the adjustment session of the German Bundestag, we can strengthen our network at key cultural policy locations and further promote European cooperation. For example, next year, together our French partners, we will open the first two Franco-German cultural institutes in Rio de Janeiro and Palermo. We are also preparing a German-French partnership in Iraq. With the support of public funds, we can also continue running the Goethe Centres in Baku and Yerevan, which are being prepared for permanent operations as Goethe-Instituts. We are thrilled about the great success of the Year of Germany in the USA ‘Wunderbar Together’ and will therefore continue the Goethe Pop Ups that were set up in Houston, Kansas City and Seattle for another year. This is an important contribution to the sustainability of this overarching transatlantic encounter initiative.”
“Our local spaces are spaces of freedom, of learning, are important meeting places.”
Johannes Ebert also spoke about the work of the Goethe-Institut for and on Europe, noting, “Europe is our foundation, European cooperation strengthens us in the face of global challenges. Promoting European integration is an important goal of the Goethe-Institut. For example, with the project Generation A = Algorithm, the Goethe-Instituts in Europe will deal with the importance of artificial intelligence for ethics, work, creativity and climate change.”
Secretary-General Ebert continued, “The issues of ecology, climate justice and sustainability are important for the Goethe-Institut because they decide the fate of humanity. Culture and education can make an important contribution to awareness and information. This year, I am particularly pleased that the Goethe-Institut has consolidated its cooperation with the Dutch Prince Claus Fund in this field.”