As the globally active cultural institution of the Federal Republic of Germany, we advocate for understanding between Germany, Europe and the world. The framework agreement with the German Federal Foreign Office is the foundation for this work. Worldwide, we provide information about the cultural and societal diversity of Germany and Europe. 158 Goethe-Instituts in 98 countries together with numerous partner institutions form the basis of our global network. The Federal Foreign Office supports our work institutionally. As a registered charity we operate autonomously on a legally independent basis and are not affiliated to any political party. We generate around a third of our revenue ourselves through income from language courses and examinations. We also receive support from the European Union (EU), further German federal ministries as well as foundations and companies in Germany and abroad.

We contribute to establishing the German language in the educational systems of the guest countries. We support over 100,000 schools worldwide in giving high-quality German tuition, and promote the advanced professional training and qualification of teachers of German. Furthermore, we offer languages courses ranging from general German courses to prevocational language courses and seminars to raise societal and cultural awareness. Our services include online courses and autonomous learning programmes. Every year, more than half a million people sit a German examination at a Goethe-Institut or one of our cooperation partners. With a wide range of educational and information programmes, we support in particular students and skilled workers from abroad on their route to Germany. 

We believe in the potential of international cultural exchange. Our approximately 20,000 cultural events per year take place in partnership with governmental and non-governmental institutions and initiatives from civil society in our guest countries. We qualify, advise and interlink cultural professionals and support the development of sustainable structures in the cultural and creative economy by advanced training measures for cultural entrepreneurs or the internationalisation of creative companies. With our residence programmes, partnerships and co-productions, we promote the networking of cultural professionals around the globe. We offer stakeholders from civil society a protected space and scope for a sincere exchange of views. We do not break off democratic dialogue, even in difficult times. In our work we orientate ourselves towards the values of a democratic, liberal society governed by the rule of law.

Via our digital information and educational programmes in more than 60 languages and a network with 95 libraries, we offer a space to learn, meet up and participate. We use innovative technologies, seize the opportunities of digitalisation and, at the same time, reflect on their implications for people and society. Through diverse formats such as information trips for multipliers, specialist exchange between experts, youth exchange programmes and international festivals we enable communication on a worldwide basis.

The Goethe-Institut in the USA

Our principal goals are:
  • To shape and revise the image of Germany in the United States
  • To present contemporary German culture
  • To foster German language and culture within the American educational system
  • To develop a transatlantic network for the exchange of culture and ideas
An up-to-date image of Germany in the United States
The Goethe-Institut develops initiatives to provide a current, clear and realistic image of Germany. To this end, we disseminate thematically relevant information. We introduce, organize and support projects that present and augment a variety of views of Germany. One of our most important goals is to build bridges between people and organizations in Germany and the United States, thereby counteracting existing stereotypes and prejudices.

A forum for contemporary German culture
Our programs feature important elements of contemporary German culture. Not only does the Goethe-Institut present art and culture from Germany, but we also convey the intellectual trends and social issues now under discussion. We seek to build relationships between the cultural spheres of Germany and the United States on the individual as well as the institutional level.

A role for German language and culture in the American educational system
We strive to awaken interest in students to learn the German language. In our support for the teaching of German within the American educational system, we work in close collaboration with various professional organizations, especially the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). As advocates for greater general knowledge about Germany, we make special efforts to help develop social-studies curricula for public schools.

A transatlantic network for culture and scholarship
We understand German culture to be an element of a larger European culture. In cooperation with other European cultural institutes and partners, we strive to improve existing transatlantic cultural networks. Acknowledging that we share common problems and challenges, we work to channel intellectual, artistic and practical contributions from Europe in the formulation of mutual solutions. Political conflicts can not be ignored—we see them rather as opportunities for dialogue. We believe that a united Europe can be a strong partner of American society.

Our partners in these endeavors are:
  • Experts, decision makers and opinion leaders in the fields of culture, politics, business, media, education and scholarship
  • Students and scholars
  • Specialists in German as a foreign language
  • Young professionals
  • A general public interested in language and culture