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.

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

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.

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

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 "Außenpolitik live- Diplomaten im Dialog (Foreign Policy Live - Diplomats in Dialogue)".

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.

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

ifa | 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 and Daniela Hochstätter

Ph Crowd, Standing, People, Hand and Raise. Photo: 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?



Yannick Jürgens, Jon Worth and Dr. Andreas Görgen (from left) ;Photo: © Zeitgeschichtliches Forum

Europe in an Epoch of Populism

A Multicultural Flatshare

ifa | One audience, two guest speakers, countless questions. How might the European fabric be strenghtened? Which roles do populism and nationalism play? And what is Europe, altogether? Political blogger John Worth sits adjacent diplomat Görgen at the podium. The concluding seminar of the programme "Foreign Politics Live – Diplomats in Dialogue", held at the Leipziger Zeitgeschichtliches Forum (Contemporary Historical Forum) is underway. Yannick Jürgens from the radio station mephisto 97.6 moderates the theme "Strengthening Europe – Handling Populism and Euroscepticism". 

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. You can find the full report here.

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.

Photo gallery

Up-and-coming Journalists

ifa | Participating in a journalistic workshop, 15 pupils had the chance to learn more about their own town of Sântana in Romania in May 2017. The main focus of the workshop was interviewing people with traditional professions like a mason, a blacksmith, or an upholsterer. Concluding the workshop, they gathered all their information and wrote short articles that are published in the 'Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien', a German-language daily newspaper based in Romania.
Photos by Florian Kerzel (ifa cultural manager)

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.

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.

Photo gallery

On the traces of the Transylvanian Saxons in Romania

ifa | The German school is deserted, a Protestant parsonage serves as a youth hostel. Today, Seligstadt has just 200 residents. It is one of the oldest villages founded by Transylvanian Saxons in Romania. In November 2016, a group of German-speaking youngsters from Temeswar and Fogarasch visited the village in search of its past, present and future. With the help of an audio expert and two ifa cultural managers they produced articles for an interactive audio-trail.
Photos by Florian Kerzel (ifa cultural manager)

Step by step forward with the CrossCulture Programme "Eastern Partnership and Russia". Photo: Jake Hills (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

Call for Applications

CrossCulture Programme: Eastern Partnership and Russia

ifa| The programme offers young professionals and volunteering individuals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and Germany the opportunity to gain professional experience abroad and to act as multipliers in their home countries. This initiative aims at the extension and development of political, economic and social relationships among the countries involved. Deadline is 10 March 2017.

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.

Olga Guryanova (CC0 1.0) via unsplash
Olga Guryanova (CC0 1.0) via unsplash

Culture report, EUNIC Yearbook

Sport is man, sport is society

Talk about soccer requires a more than vague expertise, but, all in all, it is well-focused. It doesn’t oblige you to intervene personally, because you are talking about something played beyond the area of the speaker’s power. For the male adult it’s like little girls playing ladies: a pedagogical game, which teaches you how to occupy your proper place.
By Umberto Eco

A Global Game – Sport, Culture, Development and Foreign Policy / EUNIC,... (Hg.). – Göttingen: Steidl, 2016. - (Culture Report, EUNIC Yearbook)

Culture Report / EUNIC Yearbook 2016

A Global Game. Sport, Culture, Development and Foreign Policy

Sport spans linguistic and cultural boundaries and gets into the hearts of people all over the world. But the ideal of fair play is under threat from corruption and commercialisation, greed and political manoeuvring. Can sport be a useful tool in cultural relations? How can the social power of sport be used for development, integration and peace work? These and other questions are addressed in the Culture Report and EUNIC Yearbook 2016. On the occasion of Euro 2016, we publish selected articles in the series A Global Game.

Dave Eggers: Sports for communists
Serhij Zhadan: Ukraine goes into extra time
Anders Ravn Sørensen: Swede of the year
Umberto Eco: Sport is man, sport is society
Beqë Cufaj: Sport is also war
Julian Rieck: A symbol of Spain's internal battles
Andrei S. Markovits: A force for emancipation and discrimination
Marianne Meier: A love affair with dictators

    Simulation game

    We will determine the future of our city

    Young people in Kiev had the opportunity to slip into the role of local politicians and activists in a fictional city. The aim of the simulation was to promote participation and democracy. A report on the Our Community simulation game held from 2 to 4 November 2015.
    By André Eichhofer

    © European Union, 2015, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service, Photo: Armend Nimani

    Interview with Federica Mogherini

    Europe is a cultural superpower. We need to use its force | The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, after the presentation of the 'Cultural Diplomacy' project.

    European Commission: Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations

    Catalogue of the ifa-Library

    [] ifa-Bibliothek
    Scott Webb, via Unsplash
    Allie Caulfield: Franz Marc, Kühe, rot-grün-gelb (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
    Foto: (CC0), via Pixabay
    Giving Europe a Home

    News / Press Releases

    Dedicated to Europe

    Organisations from France, Germany and Poland are calling on young people to participate in the second Young Europeans Award.

    Young Europeans Award | 16.01.2018

    2018 European Capitals of Culture

    From 1 January, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) and Valletta (Malta) hold the title for one year.

    European Commission | 11.01.2018