Photo: Anja Beutler © ifa

Conference addresses upcycling and recycling worldwide

Paper Balls and Plastic Bags – Pure Gold?

ifa | How can trash be turned into pure gold? Why does design thrive on waste? And which role do upcycling and recycling play worldwide? These and other questions were discussed by curators, researches, designers and students in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The two day conference accompanied the ifa exhibition "Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded!", which will travel around the world for ten years.

Emam Abdelgadir works in the field of peace education. Photo: © Uli Reinhardt

Solving conflicts peacefully

From Student to Trainer

ifa | How can I teach people to detect a rising conflict and solve it peacefully? A question Emam Abdelgadir faces regulary in his daily life. He works as trainer at the Alternative to Violence Project in Sudan and is very active in the field of peace education. It is crucial for him to show people that every little contribution to peace matters. As a scholarship holder in ifa’s CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration he shared his knowledge with his colleagues at the organisation Act for Transformation in Aalen.

Photo courtsey of the artist

Eman al-Awami documents her perspective on the situation in Yemen

Through the Eyes of Coffee

zivik | Eman al-Awami was one of the thousands of Yemenis who were harmed by the ongoing war. She lost her job, had to change her daily routine, and had to say goodbye to a number of friends who left the country. Coffee was the only thing that remained the same and didn’t escape. In her photo series "Through the Eyes of Coffee", she reflects her view of the world through the small surface of her coffee in its cup. The series was published in Al-Madaniya, a magazine funded by the ifa progamme zivik.

hands with paint, Foto: Amaury Salas via Unsplash

Call for Art Funding Programmes

International Art

ifa | Artists, actors and cultural practitioners are invited to apply for ifa's art funding programmes. The closing date for the application is 31 January 2018. With the "Exhibition Funding" programme ifa supports projects in foreign countries of contemporary German artists and artists with residence in Germany. The "Artists' Contact" programme supports intercultural exchange among German and international creative artists. Research trips, international events and Workshops are only some possible events to be supported.

Wolfgang Tillmanns. Fragile, poster series, photo: ifa; © Wolfgang Tillmans

Poster series

Wolfgang Tillmans. Fragile

ifa | Wolfgang Tillmans 'Fragile' exhibition is the first one to show the artist on the African continent. On occasion of the presentation of his works in Kinshasa the ifa offers a series of exclusive exhibition posters.

Jordaan, Amsterdam: Religion can be an important part of one's identity - being European another one. Photo: Michael Coghlan (CC-BY-SA 2.0)  via flickr

Pew study forecasts increase of "Muslim population" in Europe

Islam does not stand in antithesis to the West | The number of Muslims in Europe will rise. The result of a recently published study conducted by the Washington based "Pew Research Center" caught the attention of Europe’s press, especially in Germany. But what does that mean for Europe's cultural landscape? Is there a grain of truth in the polemics of right-wing populists? According to Loay Mudhoon we don't really have to fear a demographic shift. In her view, Muslim identities are too diverse to be measured by the same yardstick.

Mary Gina Angaun works for the organisation "International Rescue Committee" (IRC). Photo: © Sascha Montag

CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration

The All-rounder

ifa | She supports poor farmers, advocates the prevention of violence against women and is active in a range of other projects – at the organisation "International Rescue Committe" (IRC) Mary Gina Angaun is a real All-rounder. For this global aid organisation for refugees and war victims she organises workshops and trainings. Through ifa's CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration she spent two months in Germany. At IRC Berlin she learned a lot about working with refugees. Her German colleagues instead benefited from her broad experience in Uganda.

Photo: Ian Espinosa (CC0), via Unsplash

Former Lebanese Combatants Promoting a Culture of Peace

Fighters for Peace

ifa | For 15 years a civil war raged in Lebanon, until the Taif Peace Agreement sealed its end in 1989 and guaranteed a general amnesty for all those who were involved in the conflict. But the war is still a blind spot in Lebanese collective memory today. In the Lebanese organization Fighters for Peace, former combatants face the past and publicly advocate a culture of peace and reconciliation in Lebanon. The project is currently supported by the ifa funding programme zivik.

Christmas fair in Lviv; Photo: picture alliance /

Festivals Around the World

Christmas in Lviv

ifa | In Ukraine, according to the Julian calendar the first day of Christmas falls on the 7th of January. The western Ukrainian metropolis Lviv is different from other regions. Besides having a rich multicultural past, the majority of the people profess to the Greek-Catholic church.
The Ukrainian poet, translator and essayist Ostap Slyvynsky takes on an imaginary journey to Lviv during Christmas time.

Site plan of the Humboldt Forum, Berlin, photo/© SHF / Architekt: Franco Stella mit FS HUF PG

Art as a way out of the crisis of representation?

Decolonising ethnological museums

ifa | Dealing with ethnological collections in science and society has become a controversial subject, as the history of ethnological museums is inseparably linked to Eurocentrism and colonialism. Dominant narratives have consistently been reproduced. How can museums encounter this past? Can the transformation of a colonial institution into a space for post-colonial discourse be successful? What are the challenges at the interface of ethnological museums and art?

CCP Fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi at the Workshop in Stuttgart, November 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

German construction sites as a symbol for a peaceful Yemen of the future

'Yemen needs peace to breathe'

ifa | 'While there is development in Germany, you can only find destruction in Yemen', says Ashwaq Al-Gobi. The young CrossCulture fellow comes from the crisis-ridden Yemen. Since 2015, the southernmost country of the Arabian Peninsula has been experiencing one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. In November 2017, we met Ashwaq during our intercultural workshop to talk about the conflict in Yemen and her experiences in Germany.
Interview by Christina Palau

Interview with Richard Higgott, emeritus professor of international political economy

Resistance against Growing Nationalism, Nativism and Protectionism

Culture and Populism

ifa | For Richard Higgott, emeritus professor of international political economy, the cultural sector plays a special role in the resistance against movements which constitute a danger to democracy. "My intuitive assumption is that certain elements of the arts and the cultural industries will always play powerful roles in resisting different kinds of ideas", says the expert in ifa's research programme "Culture and Foreign Policy". In the report "Populist-Nationalism and Foreign Policy. Cultural Diplomacy, International Interaction and Resilience" he captures the essence of the so-called "populist nationalist zeitgeist" together with his colleague Virginia Proud. And he explains how one can face nationalist actors in foreign cultural policy.
Interview by Isabell Scheidt, Sarah Widmaier and Siri Gögelmann

Turn Your View of the World on Its Head

"The Living Library"

ifa | Very special books were borrowed in the ifa Library in Stuttgart on 7 September. The "books" – all in some way linked to ifa and the CrossCulture Programme – were real people. Coming from the Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Pakistan and other countries, the "books" had their own (cultural) identity, so that the dialogue opened up new angles and perspectives for the readers. The "Living Library" was the fifth stop of the CrossCulture Tour 2017.

Photo: Wolfgang Kuhnle

Call for Applications

CrossCulture Programme 2018

ifa | Young professionals and volunteers from Germany and abroad can now apply for the ifa CrossCulture Programme 2018. Politics, human rights and peace, sustainable development or media and culture – CrossCulture offers intercultural exchange and professional experience in different cultural contexts and work areas. Deadline for applications is 12 January 2018. Who can apply? What documents do I have to submit? For more information, please see the call for applications.

Photo: Austin Ban (CC0), via Unsplash

Isatou Joof is taking care of women in need

"We Help Everyone"

ifa | People celebrate Halloween in autumn every year to scare off evil spirits. In the German reception centre of the Red Cross in Brandenburg, they are warded off every day: The 27-years-old Isatou Joof from Gambia is taking care of women in need. She is one of this year's fellows of the ifa CrossCulture Programme CCP Refugess and Migration.
By Jan Rübel

© Caritas international/Caritas Freetown 2017

Humanitarian Assistance

Emergency relief: Sierra Leone after the landslide

ifa | On August 14, 2017 a heavy landslide occurred in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Local authorities report more than 1.000 victims. Humanitarian assistance aims at alleviating the suffering of people in need as a result of natural disasters like this. With its corresponding funding programme, ifa supports projects that provide fast, needs-based assistance. A report on Sierra Leone
By Karin Kathöfer


Pure Gold Picture Gallery

About the art of recycling waste creatively

ifa | Waste, its disposal and recycling have been on the global agenda for a long time. The exhibition format Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! shows how to face the problem creatively. Regarding the aspect of sustainability, designers from all over the world present art made from waste. The touring exhibition officially started in Hamburg and will be continued for the next ten years at different venues. The picture gallery presents first results of the exhibition opening at the 'Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe MKG'.

Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

European Education Area

Strengthening European Identity

European Commission | "Education and culture are the key to the future – both for the individual as well as for our Union as a whole", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in the margins of the leaders' meeting in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017. The summit focused on EU efforts and ideas to improve the European Agenda in the area of education and culture – and thereby strengthening the sense of European identity. As a contribution to the summit in Gothenburg, the European Commission set out its vision of a European Education Area by 2025.

Exhibition Rosemarie Trockel, Tirana; Photo: © Ulli Groetz

Exhibition opening: Rosemarie Trockel

Tirana: Rosemarie Trockel, Pyramids and Pomegranates

ifa | A  counterposition to a largely male-dominated art scene: with her feminist art work Rosemarie Trockels often raises controversies. The ifa touring exhibition now arrived in Albania's capital Tirana. The Berlin-based art historian, curator and author An Paenhuysen accompanies the exhibition since 2016. Besides the opening ceremony, press conference and guided tours she gave a workshop at the University of Arts and did a portfolio viewing with art students from Tirana. With  enthusiasm she reports on her journey and gives a deep insight into her experiences.

Architect Bijoy Jain in an interview sitting in his exhibition at ifa Gallery Stuttgart

Local Resources and Traditional Handicrafts

Contemporary Architecture from India

ifa | In order to "explore thoughts and ideas", Bijoy Jain founded the "Studio Mumbai" in 2005. Carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, plumbers and many other artisans work in the architectural office aside from architects. The co-creation enables creative processes and designs that combine tradition and modernity. In the exhibition "Between the Sun and the Moon" the ifa Gallery Stuttgart presents the working processes and sources of inspiration of the Indian architect and his team as well as various materials, tools and color samples. The exhibition is part of the "Architekturnovember", organised by the Association of German Architects Baden-Württemberg.
Interview by Constant Formé-Bècherat und Siri Gögelmann

Comment on European Development Policy

More Development – More Migration?

SWP | To what extent does socio-economic development promote or reduce migration? The so-called migration hump and its significance for European development policy co-operation with Sub-Saharan Africa is addressed in a paper recently published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). As the authors point out, it is problematic when policy makers assume stopping development aid will stop migration. It is evident that migration decisions are also influenced by further factors.

Chandran Nair, founder of the 'Global Institute For Tomorrow', holding a keynote on a stage during the conference 'Cultures of We' in Berlin

Chandran Nair about the Illusion of Globalism

How to Accept the Others

ifa | 'I don't like the idea of "we"', Chandran Nair said at the beginning of the international symposium 'cultures of we' on the 13 September in Berlin, Germany. In his keynote the Founder and CEO of the independent pan-Asian think tank 'Global Institute For Tomorrow', discussed the link between populism and postcolonialism. He calls to see people how they are and to accept the world as it is.

Brexit, photo: Jonathan Rolande (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr

Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy'

The Impact of Brexit on International Cultural Relations in the European Union

ifa | 'Cultural cooperation will inevitably suffer from reduced freedom of movement, less money from loss of access to EU programmes, tariffs on trade in cultural goods and services, and increased bureaucracy from the introduction of customs checks.' There is a great deal of common ground and existing collaboration between Germany and the UK in the main areas of international cultural relations. This collaboration is supported by a range of instruments, some of which are at risk from Brexit, some of which are not directly impacted by Brexit. Which consequences will Brexit have for cultural cooperation between Germany and the UK? Which consequences are actual, which are only potential? How can Germany’s foreign cultural policy react at the initial stage of this process? How can intercultural exchange be secured with a long-term perspective despite Brexit?
Study by Stuart MacDonald

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

What does education mean to you?

ifa | What about the state of education in the arts? During the documenta 14 international educators, cultural producers, artists and scholars discussed this question. The experimental and artistic exchange took place as the documenta itself in Athens and in Kassel. Following the slogan of the event 'Under the Mango Tree – Sites of Learning' it was held outdoors, surrounded by trees.
By Aïcha Diallo

Wartburg in Eisenach, Photo: Thomas Şindilariu

Report on the ifa special interest tour "500 years of the reformation in Germany"

Phenomenon Reformation

Here in Germany, the Reformation is, in particular, being commemorated as a social, political and cultural phenomenon. Does this perhaps explain why the churches are empty while the commemoration of the reformation is being celebrated as a huge cultural event? A special interest tour with international experts didn't just look into this intriguing question.

Citizen dialogue "Which Europe do we want?", Freiburg 2017. Photo: © Thomas Kunz

Citizen dialogue

Diplomats close up: A conclusion

ifa | Loud demands for more transparency and opportunities for co-determination occur on a regular basis. Political engagement of civil society extends far beyond the election of its representatives. Due to modern forms of communication and transport , foreign policy takes place in detachment from incumbents of political office. Does this make the work of diplomats obsolete? No, as foreign policy is a very complex field that requires a certain form of expertise. However, the exchange with the civilian population can be very fruitful. This was shown by the citizens' dialogue "Außenpolitk live - Diplomaten im Dialog (Foreign Policy Live - Diplomats in Dialogue)".


Conversation with Olaf Holzapfel

A bridge between two worlds

ifa | The ifa-exhibition "The Event of a Thread" that focuses on questions concerning textiles and their cultural significance runs since the beginning of September. One of the participating artists is Olaf Holzapfel who worked together with female Indio weavers from the Wichí community of Northern Argentina. For their textile art they used Chaguar, a plant for fiber to be woven into bags or ponchos. The video shows two interviews with the artist where he talks about the cooperation with the locals, the dialogue and the meaning of art as a bridge between two worlds.

Franz Erhard Walther: Action Bodies (Handlungskörper), 1969, cotton textile sewed; Photo: Uwe Walther, © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017

Exhibition: World premiere in Dresden

Action Bodies

ifa | Franz Erhard Walther is considered a pioneer of participatory art. As professor at the Art Academy in Hamburg he has gained influence on a wide a range of important artists. At the 57 th art exibition "La Biennale di Venezia 2017", he had been awarded with the Golden Lion as best artist. From 1st september till 20th january, his works are displayed within the exhibition "The Event of a Thread" at the "Kunsthaus Dresden". In an interview Walther speaks about the beginnings of his work in the 1950s, drawing and his own definition of "sculpture".

Panel discussion 

"7 Billion Voices in a Multipolar World"

ifa | Many questions were raised during the conference "Cultures of We" – an event taking place in Berlin on 13 September, addressing future concepts of community. The evening’s panel discussion with four international participants had some answers and more food for thought, touching on a variety of topics: the challenges of living in an international community, the role of Europe, the impact of new technologies. All agreed on one point: the future of coexistence requires new forms of dialogue.

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

Centering Indigenous Bodies, Thought and Practice

ifa | The event Under the Mango Tree -Sites of Learning, as part of documenta 14, acted as an open forum for the study of the understanding of cultural education and educational initiatives from around the world. The artist Duane Linklater, who took part with the project Woodland School, has met with Aïcha Diallo for an interview. The Canadian artist discussed education, cultural expressions and the centrality of indigenity.

Photo: Oliver Killig

CrossCulture Tour - picture gallery

'Theatre of the Oppressed' by Ramshid Rashidpour, Iran

ifa | In 'Theatre of the Oppressed', Iranian Ramshid Rashidpour aims to raise political awareness and combine it with a liberating educational function. The destination of the theatrical journey taken by the Iranian-German cast is not fixed, as the plot development and dialogue are largely determined by the audience. Only one thing is certain: 'Theatre of the Oppressed' merges democratic processes and shared ideas and solutions to create a promising entertainment format. The pictures were taken at the recent performance in Dresden.

CrossCulture fellow Nour Eddine Bellahbib in Stuttgart, July 2017. Photo: © ifa/ Kuhnle

CrossCulture fellow about his experience 

A Moroccan Perspective on Migration

ifa | As the first country in North Africa, Morocco started a regularization process, which gave migrants from sub-Sahara Africa the chance to apply for a residence permit.  CrossCulture fellow Nour Eddine Bellahbib works with those migrants and is an advocate for the improvement of their situation. At an intercultural Workshop in Stuttgart he talked about his work in Morocco as well as the expectations of his CrossCulture internship in Berlin.
Interview by Leontine Päßler



Photo: Toussaint Ruggeri (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)  via Flickr

The EU in the wake of Brexit

What holds Europe together?

ifa | Why do we really want Europe? Can we demonstrate to European citizens the opportunities offered by social politics and a strong social democracy in Europe? This is the aim of the new Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung project "Politics for Europe". In a random selection of persons eligible to vote in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the Czech and Slovakian Republics, persons were surveyed about their perceptions of the European Community and their expectations of the EU. The results show that European integration can be done in a democratic, economic and socially balanced way and with a reliable foreign policy.

Volker Albus: www/www we want wind/we want water, cork balls, 2015; photo: Philip Radowitz, © Volker Albus/Philip Radowitz


Pure Gold or: Why It Is Worthwhile to Sometimes Pay More Attention to Domestic Waste

ifa | Recycling is an increasingly popular topic among the population. However, recycling is becoming more and more important not only in private households, but also in the art scene. Volker Albus is the curator of the exhibition "pure gold" that is dedicated to the topic of recycling and will open in Hamburg on September 15th. In his introductory text, Albus reports on his work with garbage, the variety of recycling, and the recycling-motivated design in recent years.

Photo: Jocelyn Kinghorn (CC BY-SA 2.0)  via Flickr

Biennial Conference: „Curating Under Pressure“

On the ethics of curating

ifa | "What can art achieve in times of crisis?" – The question was central in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the cities had to deal with two serious earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Even though the local biennial was at stake, the organizers decided to continue. The idea of a biennial conference in Christchurch on the ethics of curating came up. Under the headline "Curating Under Pressure" organizers and directors, but also curators, artists, academics as well as representatives and activists from the local art scene participated. Susanne Boecker and Paul Wood summarize the results of the conference.

Medina in Tunis. © Humpert


A mouthpiece for the medina

ifa alumni | A confusing tangle of narrow alleyways: this is what the old town of Tunis looks like. Two years ago Stuttgart architect Raoul Cyril Humpert moved there. With the financial support of ifa he launched a newspaper. About the project, history and life in the medina of Tunis.

Karim Ghantous (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

Reading in times of conflict

Kurdistan's Book Café | More than 3,500 books in Kurdish, Arabic and English can be found in the 'Book Cafe'. Rafan al-Ta'i opened this one of a kind café in Erbil despite procurement difficulties, financial barriers and the 'tumultuous security situation'. Regardless of many obstacles, she created a place that lets people forget what happens outside the cafe. By Sahar Moqaddem

CCP fellow Amur Alrawahi at the workshop in Stuttgart, July 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

Young professionals abroad

From the Omani desert into German forest

ifa | Amur Alrawahi's participation in ifa's CrossCulture Programme brought him right in the heart of Germany. During his two months long internship, Amur is experiencing various facets of German nature based tourism at 'Hainich National Park'. Especially his daily commute is new to him - he swapped his car for a bike. At a CrossCulture Intercultural Workshop in Stuttgart he talked about his experiences so far.
Interview by Leontine Päßler

Darul Aman Palace in Kabul; Photo: Bruce MacRae (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), via Flickr


The strong women of Darul Aman | 'This is our cultural heritage: We have to preserve it', says Wazhma Kurram a twenty-six year-old structural architect. Together with 50 other architects and engineers Wazhma works on site of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace. Once built to house Afghanistan's parliament the building is currently in a war-torn state. As part of an entirely Afghan project Kurram and her colleagues aim to set a peaceful example in the midst of war. By Sandra Petersmann

Kimberly Farmer (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

A Fresh Look at Crisis Prevention

'PeaceLab 2016'

GPPi | After one year of various debates the summary of the project 'PeaceLab 2016' has been published. A diverse group of stakeholders from the German government, civil society, academia, and the parliament discussed different aspects of Germany's role in crisis prevention and peacebuilding. The project was initialized by the 'German Foreign Ministry' and various German ministers, such as former Foreign Minister Steinmeier, were part of the debates. The final report gives ideas for German government guidelines on this topic.

[Translate to English:] Besichtigung der Ausstellung "Future Perfect" mit Lilian Scholtes in Guadalajara, Mexiko, 2017 © FototecaMusa/Nayeli Huizar

Contemporary Art from Germany in Mexico

"Imaginar para Imaginar" – A Workshop with Lilian Scholtes

ifa | Four days of pure creativity: With different materials and colours young people from Mexico created their personal artworks during Lilian Scholte's Workshop "Imaginar para Imaginar" in Guadalajara. The exhibition "Future Perfect" served as the source of inspiration. The exhibition includes films, photographs, sculptures, objects, painting, and collages by sixteen artists who look at visions of the future and speculations on the course of history. The next workshop with the art mediator Scholtes takes place from 28 to 31 August in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. For further information see the "Future Perfect Blog".

The Leeds Library; Photo: © Michael D. Beckwith, CC0 1.0 via Flickr


It's education, stupid | Commentators argue that globalisation with its implications is the main reason for the cleavage appearing in western Europe. Several recent European elections, as well as the UK’s referendum on Brexit, have shown a clear split in voting choices between citizens with different levels of education. The traditional distinction between right and left seems to be obsolete. Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille argue that a new political cleavage in Europe has emerged between citizens with high levels of education and those with lower levels of educational attainment.

Dieter Reinl, Federal Foreign Office; Sophie Haring, University of Passau; Valentin Naumescu, Babeș-Bolyai-University Cluj; Photo: ifa / Hochstätter

Foreign Policy live

Dialogue between citizens and foreign policy: expectations and reality

| Pegida and TTIP are symptoms of society’s loss of confidence in the government. Civil-society actors are becoming increasingly more significant when it comes to shaping Germany’s foreign policy. What is the importance of participation here? Can dialogue formats break down distrust and create transparency? On 21 June 2017, Dieter Reinl and Valentin Naumescu discussed these topics in the German city of Passau. The discussion was moderated by Sophie Haring. By Odila Triebel und Daniela Hochstätter

Rafah, Gaza; Photo: DYKT Mohigan (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr

Comedy made in Gaza

No escaping life in Gaza | From Reham al-Kahlout’s point of view "comedy is the best way to get people to change". The 19-year-old Palestinian is the only woman in the young comedy troupe called "Bas ya zalma". Other than her male colleagues she has to cope with repeated harassment and criticism, but quitting is not an option for the fierce comedian. By Peter Münch

[Translate to English:] Crowd, Standing, People, Hand and Raise. Foto: Edwin Andrade via Unsplash

 German civil society international

A conversation on the new foreign policy

ifa | In times of increasing political disillusionment and scepticism towards the state, reference is often made to civil society as an important contributor to shaping democracy. Many actors target neighbouring countries, regions or international politics with their activities. In their study "Zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure in der Außenpolitik [Civil Society Actors in Foreign Policy]" Prof. Dr. Daniel Göler and Robert Lohmann discuss the foreign policy of civil society. What is the meaning of 'civil society' in this context? How does this new form of foreign policy influence state actors?

Baghdad, Photo: Abdulmomn Kadhim (CC0 1.0), via Pixabay

Book review: Sinan Antoon's "The Baghdad Eucharist"

Fading under fire | 'To leave or not to leave Iraq?' is the central question of Antoon's novel "The Baghdad Eucharist". The story takes place after transnational militants entered the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad and opened fire. The attitude of the two protagonists’ Youssef and Maha is fundamentally different. Whereas the elderly Youssef has a nostalgic and optimistic view of Iraqi life, the young Maha is preparing herself for a future elsewhere. Antoon's novel was shortlisted for the 'International Prize for Arabic Fiction'. By Marcia Lynx Qualey.

Foto: James Cridland -Crowd via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

Germany platform

How Germany ticks

Auswaertiges Amt | Informing the world about Germany and conveying a positive image of the country number among the Federal Foreign Office’s most important tasks. One of the most important instruments in this regard is the Germany platform. The world can gain an impression of our country in nine languages on the website, as well as on its social media channels. Since 17 July, the website has had a new look under the title “How Germany ticks”.

Photo: Samuel Zeller (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash


EU Commission publishes the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor

ifa | Why is culture important for European cities? How does an ideal cultural city look like? The European Commission published their findings in the first edition of “Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.” With the comparing tool developed by the scientific office of the European Union, called the Joint Research Centre (JRC), cities are supported in finding their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, they want cities to compare themselves and learn from each other. The tool is the result of data collected from 168 cities in 30 European countries. The performance was measured by using 29 indicators mirroring the cultural, social and economic dynamic of the cities.

Elke aus dem Moore, Head of the Visual Arts Department at the ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations, and Sepake Angiama, Head of Education at documenta 14, talk about shifting educational approaches in art, new curricula, and the conferen


Learning to Unlearn Interview

ifa | Elke aus dem Moore, Head of the Visual Arts Department at the ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations, and Sepake Angiama, Head of Education at documenta 14, talk about shifting educational approaches in art, new curricula, and the conference Under the Mango Tree – Ulterior Sites of Learning on this subject


Photo: Andy Roast (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr


Science Leauge receives award from the University of Manchester

ifa | The project Science League by Hamza Arsbi, which has been supported by ifa, has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Social Enterprise award. Science Leauge has been founded in reaction to the bad condition of the education system in Jordan. The project empowers young people from the Middle East to compete in various scientific challenges.

Ahmad Kanbar  (CC0 1.0), via unsplash

The future of the Middle East

How about a Marshall Plan? | If we are ever to break the modern Middle East′s cycle of crises, we must not lose sight of the future. Across the Arab world four trends are already brewing a new set of problems for the coming decade.
By Tarek Osman

Flavio Cerqueira: I told you..., 2016; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

C& Issue

Overview of all issues

C&/ifa | The first issue of Contemporary And (C&) was published 2014 during the Dakar Biennale. The issue offers online, as well as offline, different narratives of contemporary African art. C& is a dynamic place where topics and information of contemporary art practice and African perspectives are reflected and connected.

Sudanese filmmaker produces music video for a traditional nursery rhyme. © ifa / Aamir

Music video for a traditional sudanese nursery rhyme

Yesterday's music – tomorrow's trees

ifa Alumni | "Music videos provide a great opportunity to make our enormous wealth of traditional folk music more accessible to young people", says CrossCulture alumnus and filmmaker Mohamed Emugtaba Aamir from Sudan. It is an opportunity and at the same time a challenge, as the number of well-produced music videos that have been made in Africa's third largest country is almost non-existent.

Photo: Erdem Dindar (CC0), via Pixabay

Copenhagen's mosque led by women

When the muezzina calls | Friday prayers are regularly held in Europe's first female-led mosque. In a further innovative step, a new Islamic academy for the training of female imams for Denmark is about to open its doors. Ulrike Hummel reports from Copenhagen

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski, (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr

Austria′s president and the Islamophobia debate

The courage of one man | By criticising the fear of Islam that is rife in Austria, the country's new president, Alexander Van der Bellen, is sending out an important signal of opposition to both the racism that has become socially acceptable once again in Europe and the stigmatisation of Muslims. By Farid Hafez

Photo: Aida Muluneh Departure 2016 Courtesy of Artist and David Krut Projects

7th Print Issue Is Out Now

C& / ifa | On the occasion of documenta 14: Curriculum of connections, the latest print issue is focused on education. 

Photo: ifa / Grimke


Journalists from German Minorities Link up in Prague

ifa | In May 2017, journalists from German minorities’ newspapers and radio stations in Central and South Eastern Europe, as well as Russia and Kazakhstan, came together for a (net)working meeting. Most met in person for the first time, but the majority has known one another before, thanks to their collaboration with Mind_Netz. Since November 2016, journalists from the German minorities’ media have been cooperating on the joint social media platform, in partnership with Mind_Netz’s editors at the ifa in Stuttgart. On its facebook, VK, and Twitter presences, Mind_Netz curates the most intriguing contributions from German minorities’ media, targeting a young and international audience.

Photo: Elena Bolcekova & Alice Horvathova (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), via Flickr


How culture and the arts can promote intercultural Dialogue in the context of Migratory and refugee crisis

ifa | The publication shares various case studies by the working group of EU member states' experts on intercultural dialogue. Focusing on empowerment, integration ,and evaluation, the report wants to show how culture and the arts can promote intercultural dialogue.

Photo: Markus Petriz (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

Emancipation in Afghanistan

Breaking down cyber barriers | By teaching girls programming and computer literacy, two sisters in Afghanistan have triggered something of a digital revolution.

Photo: Robert Zunikoff (CC0 1.0) via unsplash


Chaos world? Douard Glissant and the question of universality

ifa | For the exhibiton "Untie to Tie" by the ifa gallery in Berlin, Markus Messling from the Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, wrote an essay about the writer, literary theorist, and philosopher Édouard Glissant.

Photo gallery

Dabkeh Flash Mob in Bremen

ifa | Dance as an instrument to learn more about living in the Palestinian Territories: Osama Awwad, dancer, choreographer, and dramaturge from Bethlehem is using the Arabic folk dance Dabkeh as a flash mob in Bremen. Various places in the city, like the town square and the main station, become a stage.  Therefore, the dance can start conversations about daily Palestinian life.

Queen Silvia of Sweden; photo Rosie Alm, ©

Theodor Wanner Award 2017

Laureate: Queen Silvia of Sweden

ifa | The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is bestowing the 2017 Theodor Wanner Award for peace, freedom and human rights upon Queen Silvia of Sweden. With her multifaceted, longstanding and transnational engagement, she actively and concretely contributes to the broad implementation of human rights, dialogue between different social groups, and thusly, to peace and social cohesion.

The 'Future Perfect' exhibition arrives in Guadalajara © Fototeca Musa / Nayeli Huizar

ifa exhibitions in Mexico

From Oaxaca to Monterrey

ifa | During the Year of Germany in Mexico 2016-2017 the ifa presents alltogether seven exhibitions in different Mexican cities. Currently 'Sibylle Bergemann. Photographies' and 'Future Perfect' are to be seen in Oaxaca and in Guadalajara respectively. On 8 June the 'Otto Dix. Social Criticism' exhibition will open in Guadalajara. One week later 'Music from an Unknown Source' with 40 gouaches by Sigmar Polke will start in Oaxaca.

Rosemarie Trockel: Reclining Nude, 2000 © (Rosemarie Trockel) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2003; photo: Bernhard Schaub

Cooperation in Europe

Rosemarie Trockel exhibition in Romania

ifa | 25 years ago former Federal Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and his Romanian ministerial colleague Adrian Năstase signed the German-Romanian Treaty on Friendly Cooperation. During the anniversary year various events on the cooperation of the two countries are taking place. In Timișoara the German Cultural Days are celebrated. On May 25, the ifa-exhibition 'Rosemarie Trockel' opens at the Museum of Art of the West Romanian town. The Centrul Cultural German Timişoara presents the exhibition 'International Relations. Young Architectes from Germany' up to 9 June.

Kaiwan Mehta, photo: ifa / Gögelmann

A World in the City

The worlds within... what is found there?

ifa | We are all familiar with something we call Natural History, but what would be the history of Natural History? Where I specifically would see Natural History as forms of relationships that human beings and human civilisations share with nature and Nature. This relationship is akin to a world view that people and civilisations develop and live with.
By Kaiwan Mehta

[Translate to English:] © ifa / Kerzel

Picture Gallery

Up-and-coming Journalists

ifa | 15 pupils had the chance to learn more about their own town of Sanktanna in Western Rumania, when they participated in a journalistic workshop in May. The main focus of the workshop was interviewing people with traditional professions like a mason, a blacksmith, or a upholsterer. Concluding the workshop, they gathered all their information and wrote short articles that are published on May 17th in the German Newspaper for Romania on a double page.
Pictures by Florian Kerzel (Manager Cultural-ifa)

Johannes Dnaliew: Holi Festival Dortmund (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

The Import of 'cultural goods' and emigration: an unexplored relation

RSCAS | The paper within the EUI Working Papers series analyses the effect of the import of cultural goods, be it cultural heritage, performance, visual arts, or other on emigration decisions. 'The import of cultural goods, by affecting individual preferences, reduces the cost of any migration move and favours outflows towards exporting countries.' In a gravity model 33 OECD destination countries and 184 sending countries have been examined.
By Mauro Lanati and Alessandra Venturini

Photo: Martin Dörsch (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash


'Shrinking space for civil society: the EU response'

European Parliament | 'The global clampdown on civil society has deepened and accelerated in recent years. Over a hundred governments have introduced restrictive laws limiting the operations of civil society organisations (CSOs),' states the study pulished by the European Parliament this year. It presents EU mechanisms against this phenomena and offers some strategic guidelines. 

Photo: Roman Kraft (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash


European Commemoration

ifa | What are the correlations between national, transnational and European perspectives? Is there a difference between a European perspective and multiperspectivity? What can and what should be the goal of historical education concerning the First World War? The contributions in this anthology reflect on these questions, reveal blind spots and present new approaches and projects to European Commemoration of the First World War.

Populism in Europe on the rise. Photo: (CC0), via Pixabay

Special Press Review

Target Europe

ifa | Populism is on the rise in Europe. Anti-European parties and protectionist movements are enforcing nationalistic ideas. The new ifa’s Special Review ''Target Europe'' addresses the revival of nationalist thinking in Europe, its impact on the arts, culture, the media and science as well as the latters' responsibility  to fight back against oversimplifying populist narratives.

Exhibition "Politics of Sharing" at ifa Gallery Berlin, 2016 © ifa / Tomaschko


Politics of Sharing – On Collective Wisdom

ifa | As a result of an international research and exhibition project the publication Politics of Sharing – On Collective Wisdom presents perspectives that aim to activate our collective knowledge, our experience and our practices of sharing in the context of contemporary art and visual culture.

Peter P. (CC BY-NC 2.0), via Flickr

Simulation game on European cultural policy

Giving Europe a Home

ifa | The European Union is rife with crisis and discord. Instead of solidarity and cohesion, self-interest and protectionism dominate the discourse between its member states. Internally as well as externally, the project EU is as unattractive as never before. Hence, the European Commission ventures to act big: a new pan-European idea is needed.


CrossCulture Workshop 2016

ifa | In August 2016, we met three CCP fellows at the workshop in Stuttgart. We wanted to know: 'Why does intercultural knowledge matter?'

Working side by side, Florian Börner and Ahmed Al-Shaikhli. Working side by side, Florian Börner and Ahmed Al-Shaikhli. Photo: © Sascha Montag, Zeitenspiegel


Two heads are better than one

ifa | The living room is vast, easily big enough to accommodate a football pitch – and at the moment a couple of dozen refugees. In Berlin-Spandau, 750 refugees live in the Stadtmission refugee centre, a former cigarette factory comprising a number of production areas. In this surrounding Florian Börner and Ahmed Al-Shaikhli are working side by side, discussing problems and finding solutions.
By Jan Rübel

Is there an of switch for asymmetrical power constellations? Photo: Sylvain Naudin (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr

ifa Edition Culture and Foreign Policy

Can Asymmetrical Cooperation be Legitimised?

ifa | Is there a chance of balanced power constellations between the global north and the global south? How can uneven cooperations be justified?  This research will investigate whether asymmetric cooperation may nonetheless be legitimised if it leads to effective problem-solving or generates emancipatory effects. This tension will be examined on the basis of a critical and reflexive analysis of the DAAD project "Tunisia in transition", involving collaboration between German and Tunisian universities.

Memorial to honour Gebran Tueni, Lebanese journalist who was killed in 2005. photo © ifa/Pfordte


From Amnesty to Amnesia

ifa | "In Lebanon, repression has become a permanent state of mind," says the journalist and Orientalist Monika Borgmann. With the archive "UMAM Documentation & Research", founded in 2004, she attempts to fill the gaps in the country's collective memory. In her latest documentary "Tadmor", former Lebanese detainees break their silence. The theatrical release at different cinemas in Switzerland starts on 9 March 2017.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte

Muna Abdelbaqi spent two months working with BORDA, the Bremen Overseas Research & Development Association. © Sascha Montag, Zeitenspiegel


Help without borders

ifa | A young engineer is utilising experience gained in Jordan, Iraq and Germany to tackle some of the technical problems faced by refugee camps. A portrait of Muna Abdelbaqi, fellow of the funding programme CCP Refugees and Migration.
By Jan Rübel

'In the Carpet': exhibition at ifa gallery Stuttgart, 2016 © ifa/Siri Gögelmann


Blooming Pencils and Woven Symbols

ifa | At the end of school holidays, Taysir Batniji as a young boy sharpened pencils for hours. Today, a field of pencil shavings is part of one of his most famous performances. The Palestinian artist was born 1966 in Gaza. With his installation 'Hannoun', Batniji is confronting two central dimensions of his life: the conflictive situation in Gaza, and living in exile. The installation is featured in the exhibition 'In the Carpet ǀ Über den Teppich'. Another work shown in the exhibition is from Amina Agueznay. The Casablanca-born artist loves collaborating with Moroccan weavers and artisans from the countryside. With her textiles installations she deals with traditional motifs and craft techniques. In the interview they talk about the mutual influences between arts, crafts and culture.
Interview by Mustafa Yapakci and Siri Gögelmann

Lesesaal der ifa-Bibliothek

ifa Library

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