Participants of the "Living Library" in Stuttgart © ifa / Kuhnle

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.

© 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

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.

Wartburg in Eisenach, Photo: Thomas Şindilariu

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

Phenomenon Reformation

ifa | 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.

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.

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 

uswa 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 www.deutschland.de, 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: Andy Roast (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr

Education initiative from Jordan

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.

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

Qantara.de | 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

Qantara.de | 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: 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: 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, © Kungahuset.se

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.

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 a study pulished by the European Parliament this year. The study presents EU mechanisms against this phenomena and offers some strategic guidelines.

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 and/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.

Photo: Aaron Burden (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

Special Press Review

Culture Shock Trump?

How U.S. Policies Influence the Arts, Culture and Science

ifa | Within just a few days of taking office, President Donald Trump has begun to change the political scenery of the U.S., decree by decree. His policies affect the arts, culture and science: Universities are to suffer financial cutbacks; the immigration ban for individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries threatens to damage the international exchange in the arts, culture and science. Still, Trump's executive orders do not go unchallenged: Museums and universities refuse to accept this growing isolation without a fight. Our special press review 'Culture Shock Trump?' provides an overview of current developments in the U.S., exploring their consequences for the arts, sports, the media and science.

Havana, Cuba © Albia Consul

German-Cuban cultural and educational relations

Cuba opens up: will culture and education be the new motor?

ifa | The death of Fidel Castro has put Cuba in the public eye. It was preceded by the resumption of diplomatic relations with the USA and Barack Obama's visit in March 2016. Tourism continues to rise steadily and foreign holidaymakers are bringing the foreign exchange into the country that is such a welcome source of income for many Cubans. To many observers, it appears to be inexorable that the country will open up. Cuban intellectuals and artists are hoping for more freedom as well as a more intensive exchange with foreign countries. Foreign cultural and educational policies play an essential role here.
Interview with Professor Bert Hoffmann, an expert from the ifa's research programme

HIGH LINE – Post-Fossil Fuel infrastructures, New York; public park, First section opened in 2009; Team: James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro; © Iwan Baan

Post-Oil City: Urban Systems 

From Community Gardens to Vertical Farming

City planners the world over are discussing urban agriculture. According to experts 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2030. Even today, 70% of the world’s CO² emissions are due to cities, to a large part originating from transportation and the supply of food. In order to achieve sustainability, transit distances must be reduced and food networks at the local and regional levels must be activated.
By Carolin Mees

ACUPUNCTURE – The Radial-Concentric City, Curitiba; Projects began in 1965; Team: Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano de Curitiba (IPPUC), Jaime Lerner; Express bus system, 1974 © Jaime Lerner

Post-Oil-City: Urban Transit

Learning from Curitiba

The Successes and Failures of an Early Instance of Urban Acupuncture.
By Stefan Gruber

new olds. Workshop with Laura Bernhardt and Daniel Juric in Nanjing; photo: Lao XU (Hongwei XU), © ifa

Workshop in Nanjing

Lotus Root and Sauerkraut

The streets in China are full of the smell of food. Whether boiled, steamed, fried, or baked, street vendors are cooking everywhere. What makes Chinese street food special? How is it prepared? What do the vendors use to cook it? And how is it different from German food?
By Laura Bernhardt and Daniel Juric

Rüdiger Stehn: Egypt 1999 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Taha Hussein and the democratisation of education in Egypt

The sea of knowledge

Qantara.de | The Egyptian author Taha Hussein warned as long ago as the 1930s that the future of Egypt depended on reforming its education system. His book "The Future of Culture in Egypt" is a plea for an enlightened, democratic and Mediterranean Egypt.
By Andreas Pflitsch

Gigi Ibrahim: Tahrir (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Post-Arabellion reform deadlock

The logic of power

Qantara.de| The Arab world is locked into a huge cycle of violence. At the same time, reformers are isolated - both within the regimes and outside them. Those who advocate violence, on the other hand, sense momentum and are growing in number. And they are convinced that the future will be a violent one.
An essay by the Kuwaiti political scientist Shafeeq Ghabra

Photo: Darrell Chaddock (CC0 1.0) via unsplash

Arab Uprising

The Two Futures of the Arab World

Yalebooksblog | Five years since the Arab uprisings, a political, cultural and social battle is still raging across the Middle East. Tarek Osman, the author of Islamism, explores‎ the challenges facing the Arab world, and reflects on the conflicting factors that will shape its future.
By Tarek Osman

Catalogue of the ifa-Library

[] ifa-Bibliothek

News / Press Releases

Supporting networks of mediterranean youth is vital

Wrap up of the UNESCO Networks of Mediterrranean Youth Project

unesco.org | 08.01.2018

Getting behind civil society

Goethe-Institut education initiatives in the MENA region. 

qantara.de | 06.01.2018

E-Learning as Cultural Diplomacy

A study on a new tool of Cultural Diplomacy

uscpublicdiplomacy.org | 02.01.2018
Scott Webb, via Unsplash