Boards and Commitees

ifa is represented by President Ulrich Raulff and ifa's director is Secretary General Gitte Zschoch. As an advisory council, the Executive Committee sets the guidelines and priorities for ifa's activities. The four advisory councils, including the Advisory Council of the Alexander Rave Foundation, the Editorial Board of the journal KULTURAUSTAUSCH, the Research Advisory Council, and the Art Advisory Board, provide feedback and recommendations on topics such as German foreign cultural and educational policy, exhibition work, and the awarding of scholarships.


Secretary General of ifa: Gitte Zschoch

Gitte Zschoch took over as ifa Secretary General on 1 October 2021. From 2018 to 2021, she was Director of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Brussels. Previously, she worked for the Goethe-Institut in a number of different positions in Seoul, Tokyo, Johannesburg and as Deputy Head of the Communications Division at the head office in Munich, and most recently as the Founding Director of the Goethe-Institut in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gitte Zschoch studied Comparative Literature at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Modern Korean Literature at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. In addition, she is a member of the advisory board and board of trustees of the Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart and an expert member of the Committee for Culture and Media (AKM) of the municipal council of the city of Stuttgart.

President of ifa: Ulrich Raulff

Professor Dr Dr h c Ulrich Raulff has been President of ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) since 1 October 2018. Ulrich Raulff was born in Hülseberg near Meinerzhagen in 1950. He studied philosophy and history in Marburg, Frankfurt and Paris, earning his PhD in 1977. From 1978 to 1993 he was a freelance translator and employee of several German publishing companies, newspapers and TV stations. He qualified as a professor in Cultural Studies at the Humboldt-University of Berlin in 1995. From 1994 to 2001 he was a literary editor of the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung', from 1997 chief literary editor, and from 2001 to 2004 he was senior literary editor of the 'Süddeutsche Zeitung'. From November 2004 to September 2018 Ulrich Raulff was director of the German Literature Archive Marbach.

Advisory Councils and Executive Committee

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee sets the guidelines and priorities for ifa's activities. It is also responsible for the election and dismissal of the President and Secretary General. Executive Committee meetings are held at least twice a year. The term of office of a member of the Executive Committee is three full business years, whereby two re-elections are possible.


  • Ralf Beste, Ministerial Director, Head of the Department of Culture and Society, Federal Foreign Office
  • Thomas Ditt, Head of Division 606, Federal Foreign Office (Goethe-Institut, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, arts, literature, film)
  • Ulrike Groos, Second Vice President, Director of Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
  • Fabian Mayer, First Mayor, Department of General Administration, Culture and Law, State Capital Stuttgart
  • Patricia Rahemipour, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Director Institute for Museum Research
  • Claudia Rose, Ministerialdirigentin, Head of the Arts Department, Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts
  • Regula Rapp, Rector of the Barenboim-Said Academy
  • Ulrich Raulff, President, ifa
  • Julian Warner, freelance curator, art director Brechtfestival Augsburg
  • Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, Vice President, former Deputy Director General World Health Organization

Members' General Meeting

The ifa Members' General Meeting is the association's central body alongside the Executive Committee and the Secretary General. Along with representatives of the donors and the parliamentary factions in the German Bundestag, the members also include up to 18 persons or legal entities from various fields of cultural, scientific and social affairs in the Federal Republic of Germany. These are proposed by the Executive Committee and approved by the Members' General Meeting. The Members' General Meeting is held once a year. Through its resolutions, it enables the operational business of ifa and advises the Institute on important matters.

Ordinary members

  • Petra Bewer, architecture antiquarian, coach and communication consultant
  • Ekaterina Degot, Intendant of Steirischer Herbst festival, Graz; former Director of the Academy of the Arts of the World
  • Nikita Dhawan, Professor of Political Science specializing in political theory and history of ideas, Technical University of Dresden
  • Olivia Franke, Director of Künstlerhaus Lukas and the Neue Kunsthaus in Ahrenshoop, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Ulrike Groos, Director of Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
  • Deborah Hartmann, Director of House of the Wannsee Conference, memorial and educational site, Berlin
  • Johanna Keller, Programme Officer and Member of the Management Executive of Akademie der Künste
  • Hartmut Koschyk, Member of the Bundestag (ret.), former German federal government commissioner for Aussiedler issues and national minorities
  • Thomas Krüger, President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education
  • Karl-Heinz Meier-Braun, Chair of DGVN Landesverband Baden-Württemberg e.V., writer and migration expert
  • Jürgen Osterhammel, historian and distinguished fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Patricia Rahemipour, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Director of Institute for Museum Research
  • Regula Rapp, Rector of the Barenboim-Said Academy
  • Stephanie Rosenthal, Director of Martin-Gropius-Bau/Berlin Festival
  • Michael Schwarz, Managing Director of Baden-Badener Unternehmer Gespräche
  • Julian Warner, freelance curator, art director Brechtfestival Augsburg
  • Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, Second Vice-President of ifa, former Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization


Ordinary members: Donors' representatives

  • Ralf Beste, Head of Department of Culture and Communication, Federal Foreign Office
  • Thomas Ditt, Head of Division 606, Federal Foreign Office (Goethe-Institut, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, arts, literature, film)
  • Fabian Mayer, Mayor of Stuttgart, Councillor for General Administration, Culture and Law
  • Esther Pfalzer, Section Head, Ministry of Finance, Baden-Württemberg
  • Jan Ole Püschel, Section Head, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media/Head of Group K3
  • Claudia Rose, Head of Arts Department at the Ministry of Science, Research and Art in Baden-Württemberg


Ordinary members by appointment: Representatives of the parliamentary factions in the German Bundestag, the state parliament and the city council

  • Renata Alt, Member of the Bundestag (FDP), Chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, German Bundestag
  • Tobias Bacherle, Member of the Bundestag (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN), Chairman of the Committee on Digital Affairs and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, German Bundestag
  • Erwin Köhler, MdL, (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN), Member of the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg
  • Gunther Krichbaum, Member of the Bundestag (CDU/CSU), member of the Committee on European Union Affairs, German Bundestag
  • Gesine Lötzsch, Member of the Bundestag (DIE LINKE), Chair of the Budget Committee, German Bundestag
  • Jürgen Sauer, (CDU), representative of Stuttgart City Council, Cultural Committe
  • Nils Schmid, Member of the Bundestag (SPD), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, German Bundestag

Ordinary member by virtue of office

  • Ulrich Raulff, president of ifa 

Honorary members

  • Kurt-Jürgen Maaß, former Secretary General of ifa
  • Ursula Seiler-Albring, former president of ifa

Advisory Council of the Alexander Rave Foundation

The Advisory Council of the Alexander Rave Foundation decides on the use of funds by the Foundation: the awarding of scholarships for the promotion of science and research, art and culture, education and advanced training, and the cultivation of heritage. The Council, which meets twice-yearly, is appointed for a four-year term.


  • Franciska Zólyom, Art historian and curator, Leipzig
  • Andrea Funck, Professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
  • Inés de Castro, Director of the Lindenmuseum, Stuttgart
  • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General,  ifa
  • Ulrich Raulff, ifa President as permanent guest

Research Advisory Council

The ifa Research Council meets to discuss developments in international cultural relations and develops research topics. It brings together political, scientific, scholarly and civil society perspectives and thus strengthens the relevance and sustainability of research and research communication on foreign cultural and educational policy.


  • Peter Kettner, Head of Division 600, Federal Foreign Office
  • Jan Melissen, Institute for Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
  • Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, former Director of the Centre for Applied Cultural Studies and Studium Generale (ZAK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Anupama Sekhar, Board Member, ArtsEquator and Res Artis - Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies, and Member of the UNESCO Panel of Experts International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) (from 2023 onwards)
  • Kira Vinke, Head of the Centre for Climate and Foreign Policy, German Council on Foreign Relations (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V.) (from 2023 onwards)
  • Gijs de Vries, Co-founder of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Visiting Senior Fellow at the European Institute of the London School of Economics, Senior Fellow at the Clingendael Institute and Former Member of the Advisory Council of the European Cultural Foundation (from 2023 onwards)
  • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General ifa

Editorial Board of KULTURAUSTAUSCH

The editorial board of the journal KULTURAUSTAUSCH meets once a year to provide feedback on the issues published in the previous year and to discuss topics for the next four issues. Thanks to their extensive expertise, the board members, coming from various fields of culture and politics, bring with them a wide range of perspectives and thus strengthen the diversity of the magazine.


  • Thomas Macho, Cultural Historian, Berlin
  • Jagoda Marinić, Writer and Journalist, Heidelberg
  • Fatima Remli, Podcaster and Presenter, Berlin
  • Evelyn Roll, Journalist, Berlin
  • Aleš Šteger, Writer, Ljubljana
  • Omid Rezaee, Journalist, Translator, and Editor, Berlin
  • Guest status: Theo Geißler, Publisher, Regensburg
  • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General, ifa

Art Advisory Board

The Art Advisory Board, which meets twice a year, advises the ifa on questions of contemporary art and exhibition work. The members are appointed for three years and can be re-elected twice.


  • Yilmaz Dziewior, Director of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne
  • Till Fellrath, Director of the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
  • Mark Edgar Kwami, M. Kwami Design Services, Berlin
  • Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz, Artistic Director of the Municipal Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kunsthaus Dresden
  • Nasan Tur, Artist
  • Franciska Zólyom, Director of the Leipzig Gallery for Contemporary Art
  • Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in her function as Chair of the Art Advisory Board of the Goethe-Institut
  • Eva Schmitt, Head of the Visual Arts Department of the Goethe-Institut, Munich
  • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General, ifa


Former Secretaries General

Ronald Grätz (2008 – 2021)

Ronald Grätz, born in São Paulo in 1958, has been Secretary General of ifa since September 2008. He studied German philology, Catholic theology and philosophy in Tübingen and Frankfurt am Main. Before taking up his current position, he was director of the Goethe-Institut in Portugal. In São Paulo, Ronald Grätz worked from 1989 to 1992 as Division Director for German Language for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and as deputy director of the UNESCO programme Colégio Benjamin Constant. From 1993 he was a lecturer at the Goethe-Institut in Munich, Cairo and Göttingen and from 1994 to 1998 a lecturer at the Universitat de Barcelona and language teacher at the Goethe-Institut in Barcelona. From 2002 to 2005 Ronald Grätz was a consultant for new media and head of local programme activities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Goethe-Institut in Moscow.

Kurt-Jürgen Maaß (1998 – 2008)

Prof Dr Kurt-Jürgen Maaß is a German cultural manager, scientist and was Secretary General of ifa from 1998 to 2008. Maaß studied law and economics in Hamburg and Lausanne, obtained his doctorate in 1969 in Hamburg with a thesis on the Council of Europe and passed the Second State Examination in Law in November 1972 after a period of legal training in Hamburg, Strasbourg and Speyer.

After graduating, he first worked as an editor at the Deutsche Universitäts-Zeitung in Bonn, then as Director of the Committees for Science and Economics at the North Atlantic Assembly in Brussels, and then (from 1977) as a consultant at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn. This was followed by assignments at the Federal Ministry of Education and Science in Bonn and a departmental position at the Science Council in Cologne. In 1988 Maaß returned to the Humboldt Foundation as Head of Department and from 1994 was also Deputy Secretary General. From 1998 to 2008 he was Secretary General of Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen in Stuttgart and editor of the journal Kulturaustausch.

From 2001 to 2013, he held teaching posts at the Universities of Stuttgart, Tübingen, Bamberg and at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku. The University of Tübingen awarded him an honorary professorship at the Institute for Political Science in 2005. At the Forum of Cultures in Stuttgart, he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2015. In 2018, he received the Cross of Merit, 1st Class, of the Order of Merit.

Maaß has published numerous books and over 100 essays on questions of international academic exchange, foreign cultural policy and international cultural relations.

Udo Rossbach (1996 – 1998)

Udo Rossbach was born in Wroclaw on 7 July 1942. He studied Slavic studies in Bulgaria and Frankfurt am Main, where he also trained as an information specialist. In 1978, Udo Rossbach joined ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, where he remained until 2004. He held several positions during his time at ifa. From being deputy head librarian, he took over as head librarian in 1988. He was Secretary General from 1994 to 1998 and headed up the media department from 1998 to 2004.

He served on the advisory board of Kulturaustausch magazine and was on the board of the Information Network for International Relations and Area Studies. Even after his retirement, he maintained his links with ifa and, as far as his health allowed, also volunteered at the Robert Bosch Hospital.  

In 2004, Udo Rossbach was awarded the Staufer Medal by the Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg.  

Former Presidents

Martin Roth (2017)

Prof. Dr Martin Roth (1955 – 2017) was president of ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen from 1 July to 6 August 2017. Born in Stuttgart in 1955, Martin Roth studied empirical cultural studies at Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen and was awarded his doctorate with a dissertation on the political and historical context of museums and exhibitions in Germany between 1871 and 1945.

After a year as a researcher at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and the German Historical Institute in Paris and a spell as a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, Martin Roth became curator of the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden, serving as its director from 1991 to 2000. From 1995 to 2003, he was also President of the German Museums Association and, from 1996 to 2003, President of the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony. From 1996 to 2001 he was a member of the Senior Management of EXPO in Hanover. From 2001 to 2011, Martin Roth was Director General of the Dresden State Art Collections. Under his leadership, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London achieved record visitor numbers from 2011 to 2016 and was awarded the Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year in 2016.

Roth was also a visiting professor at the universities of Karlsruhe and Dresden, an honorary professor at the University of Moscow, and an honorary professor for cultural policy and cultural management at the Technical University of Dresden. He has also served as an advisory board member at the British Council, a member of the Goethe-Institut, the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, the Royal College of Art, the Stiftung Kunst und Musik für Dresden, the art advisory board of the Kunstsammlung Würth, a curating member of the Humboldt Forum Berlin, a member of the International Olympic Committee Agenda 2020 for Culture, non-executive director of Expo 2020 Dubai, a founding member of the Open Society Initiative and special advisor on cultural matters to the German Foreign Office.

In 2015 he was awarded the received the Federal Order of Merit (1st class) and the University of Tübingen made him an honorary senator in 2017.

Ursula Seiler-Albring (2006 – 2017)

Ursula Seiler-Albring was President of ifa from May 2006 to June 2017. After studying sociology, political science, psychology and constitutional law in Göttingen, Tübingen and at the Free University of Berlin, she was a member of the German Bundestag from 1983 to 1994, including sitting on the Budget Committee. From 1991 to 1994, she was Minister of State for European Affairs at the Federal Foreign Office. After leaving politics, she was appointed Germany's ambassador to Austria from 1995 to 1999 and to Bulgaria from 1999 to 2003. From 2003 to 2006 she was Germany's ambassador to Hungary. Ursula Seiler-Albring is an honorary senator of the Andrássy University of Budapest. In 1999, she was awarded the Gold Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.

Alois Graf von Waldburg-Zeil (1998 – 2006)

Alois Graf von Waldburg-Zeil (1933 – 2014) was President of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen from January 1998 to May 2006. After studying economics and political science in Bonn, Rome and Munich, Waldburg-Zeil, who was born in Leutkirch in Allgäu, founded the publishing house Weltforum-Verlag in Munich in 1964. He was its managing director until 1979. He was also co-editor of the Internationales Afrikaforum and Internationales Asienforum magazines. From 1972 to 1981, Alois von Waldburg-Zeil was Chairman of the Baden-Württemberg State Parents' Council, and from 1977, Chairman of the Federal Parents' Council.

He was a member of the German Bundestag from 1980 to 1998, the first three years of which he sat on the Committee on Economic Cooperation and the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. From 1990 to 1994, Waldburg-Zeil was the education policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. He chaired the Subcommittee on Foreign Cultural Policy from 1994 to 1998. After his death in 2014, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen published a memoir, Alois Graf von Waldburg-Zeil. Eine Erinnerung (ISBN: 978-3921970591).

Bernt Graf zu Dohna (1996 – 1997 and 2017)

Dr Bernt Graf zu Dohna was born in Lisbon in 1944. His association with ifa dates back to 1992, first as a member of the Executive Committee of ifa in its legal form at that time, an institution under public law, and in 1996 as Chairman of the Executive Committee. In 1997 he became the founding President of the Institute in its new form as a registered association, and from 1998 was Senior Vice President (and Acting President from August 2017 to September 2018).

After completing his schooling in Munich, Graf zu Dohna studied law at Trinity College Dublin, as well as in Bonn, Freiburg and Kiel. He obtained his doctorate in 1972 with a thesis on "The Basic Principles of International Law on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between States" at the University of Kiel and passed the Second State Law Examination in Düsseldorf in 1974.

From 1975 to June 1977, he was a lawyer at Babcock Brown Boveri Reaktor GmbH, Mannheim, and from July 1977 to 2006 a lawyer at Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart (General Counsel from 2000 to 2006). He was also Chairman of the Head Office Senior Executives' Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Group Spokespersons' Committee.

From 1991 to 2002 Graf zu Dohna was an honorary board member of the Stuttgart branch of the voluntary organisation Johanniter Unfall Hilfe. From 1998 to 2018 he was a lecturer on the International Industrial Management Master's course at Esslingen University and from 2006-2012 was a member of the board of trustees and advisory board of Akademie Schloss Solitude. He is a Knight of the Order of St. John.


General Secretariat

Charlottenplatz 17
70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.22.25.116