Stuttgart/Berlin, 16.12.2020 – The Executive Committee of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa) has unanimously selected Gitte Zschoch as the new ifa General Secretary. Gitte Zschoch is presently managing director of EUNIC, the network of European cultural institutes, in Brussels. She will assume office at ifa on 1 October 2021, as successor to Ronald Grätz, who has decided to leave ifa after twelve years in office, in order to devote himself to new tasks.
Gitte Zschoch, born in 1984 in Borna near Leipzig, has been Director at the EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) network in Brussels since 2018. She has worked for the Goethe-Institut in Munich, Seoul, Tokyo, and Johannesburg, and was responsible for establishing the Goethe-Institut office in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), as its founding director. Previously she worked as an independent cultural manager and author focusing on the fine arts and literature. Gitte Zschoch studied general and comparative literature at LMU Munich and modern Korean literature at Seoul National University.
Ronald Grätz has been head of ifa since 2008. He focused ifa's work more strongly on research on foreign cultural and education policy, strengthening civil societies, and on a stable European foundation. In autumn 2021 he will become head of the Goethe-Institut in his adopted city of Barcelona.
The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen is Germany's oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations, based in Stuttgart and Berlin. It is financed by the German foreign office, the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the state capital Stuttgart. With around 140 staff and a budget of around €13m plus €18m in project funds, it shapes international cultural and education policy, focusing on the fine arts, on research, and on information, as well as on civil-society engagement.
Prof. Ulrich Raulff, ifa President, welcomed the choice of Gitte Zschoch as new General Secretary as a 'very visible sign of a new integrative approach in art, research, and politics, with a strong emphasis on participatory action worldwide.'
State minister for international cultural policy at the German Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering, said today in Berlin: 'The choice of Gitte Zschoch is a further step in renewing personnel in our cultural organisations involved in international cultural policy. ifa is gaining a European from a new generation, with experience around the world, as new General Secretary. After working in Asia and Africa, and most recently as Director of EUNIC in Brussels, she will shape the work of ifa from October 2021, together with ifa's President. We are looking forward to her contribution to further strengthening the role of ifa for art, civil society and Europe, and I am looking forward to working with her.'
'I am pleased that Gitte Zschoch has been selected, who has international experience in various positions on several continents,' said Petra Olschowski, state secretary in the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and Art. 'I am sure that she has the necessary skills and vision to work as ifa General Secretary to face the social and cultural challenges of the coming years, ensuring that ifa has a positive influence all around the world and particularly in Germany.'
Dr. Fabian Mayer, First Mayor of the City of Stuttgart, is also looking forward to working with Gitte Zschoch: 'With Gitte Zschoch, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen is gaining a General Secretary who brings multiple perspectives. She will strengthen international networks both in Stuttgart and between Stuttgart and the world, and her diverse experiences in the art world, in the administration of culture and in cultural policy will support the ongoing development of a forward-looking global player in the centre of our state capital. As a key funder, we are very much looking forward to working together with Zschoch, who is an all-rounder with intercultural experience.'
ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is Germany's oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations. It promotes a peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide. ifa supports artistic and cultural exchange in exhibition, dialogue and conference programmes, and it acts as a centre of excellence for international cultural relations. It is part of a global network and relies on sustainable, long-term partnerships.
ifa is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Stuttgart. www.ifa.de
Press contact: Miriam Kahrmann, presse(at)ifa.de, www.ifa.de