Persons, Advisory Councils and Executive Committee

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.


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.

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.

Podcast Talking Progress

Former Secretary General

  • Ronald Grätz (09/2008 – 09/2021)

    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.

    Photo: ifa / Victoria Tomaschko
    Foto: ifa / Victoria Tomaschko

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.

  • Members
    • Ralf Beste, Ministerial Director, Head of the Department of Culture and Communication, Federal Foreign Office
    • Dr jur Bernt Graf zu Dohna, First Vice President ifa, former General Counsel at Robert-Bosch GmbH
    • Petra Drexler, Head of Division 606, Federal Foreign Office (Goethe-Institut, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Arts, literature, film)
    • Dr Ursula Eid, Parliamentary State Secretary (ret.)
    • Dr Fabian Mayer, First Mayor, Department of General Administration, Culture and Law, State Capital Stuttgart
    • Prof Dr Patricia Rahemipour, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Director Institute for Museum Research
    • Prof Dr Dr h c Ulrich Raulff, President, ifa
    • Dr Claudia Rose, Ministerialdirigentin, Head of the Arts Department, Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts
    • Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, Second Vice President ifa, former Deputy Director General World Health Organization


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.

  • Members
    • Dr jur Bernt Graf zu Dohna, former General Counsel at Robert-Bosch GmbH
    • Dr Ulrike Groos, Director, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
    • Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, former Deputy Director General World Health Organization
    • Prof Dr Dr h c Ulrich Raulff, President ifa as permanent guest
    • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General,  ifa


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.

  • Members
    • Prof Dr Helmut Anheier, former President of the Hertie School of Governance
    • Petra Drexler, Head of Division 606, Federal Foreign Office
    • Dr Barbara Göbel, Director of the Ibero-American Institute, Berlin
    • Sebastian Körber, Deputy Secretary General and Head of the Media Department of ifa, Stuttgart
    • Thomas Krüger, President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn
    • Jan Melissen, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Netherlands Institute of International Relations 'Clingendael' and Senior Fellow International Relations and Diplomacy, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
    • Dr Verena Metze-Mangold, former President of the German Commission for UNESCO
    • Prof Dr Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Director of the Centre for Applied Cultural Studies and Studium Generale (ZAK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Chair of WIKA (Wissenschaftlicher Initiativkreis Kultur und Außenpolitik)
    • Dr Odila Triebel, Head of Dialogue and Research 'Culture and Foreign Policy', ifa, Stuttgart
    • Dr Helga Trüpel, former MEP and Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Culture and Education
    • 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.

  • Members
    • Johannes Ebert, Secretary General, Goethe-Institut, Munich
    • Prof Dr Naika Foroutan, Political scientist, Humboldt University, Berlin
    • Theo Geißler, Publisher, Regensburg
    • Sebastian Körber, Deputy Secretary General and Head of the Media Department of ifa, Stuttgart
    • Jagoda Marinić, Writer and Journalist, Heidelberg
    • Evelyn Roll, Journalist, Berlin
    • Ebba Scholl, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
    • Aleš Šteger, Writer, Ljubljana
    • 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.

  • Members
    • Dr Yilmaz Dziewior, Director of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne
    • Prof Dr Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfale
    • Michael Hoffmann, Deputy Head of Division 606, Federal Foreign Office
    • Mark Edgar Kwami, M. Kwami Design Services, Berlin
    • Simona Malvezzi, Kuehn Malvezzi Associates GmbH, Berlin
    • Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz, Artistic Director of the Municipal Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kunsthaus Dresden
    • Dr Ellen Strittmatter, Head of the Art Department of the ifa, Stuttgart
    • Nasan Tur, Artist
    • Markus Wernhard, Head of the Visual Arts Department of the Goethe-Institut, Munich
    • Franciska Zólyom, Director of the Leipzig Gallery for Contemporary Art
    • Gitte Zschoch, Secretary General, ifa