A white pigeon flying infront of a grey house wall

Interview with Palestinian artist

Covert War

Qantara | Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour lives in Jerusalem. He neither feels free nor save in the city. His paintings tell the story of his life under occupation. In order to boycott Israeli products, Mansour only used Palestinian material for his works of art during the first Intifada. In the interview with Sarah Judith Hofmann the artists speaks about Palestinian artist and why he prefers a one-state solution for the Middle East.

Portrait of the scholar Ghada Al Muhanna

Interview about society in Saudi Arabia

"We fight – to show men that we are equal"

ifa | "We still remain traditional in our behaviours and in our whole societal believes. But the tradition can merge with being modern" says Ghada Al Muhanna, ifa-fellow 2017. Women ultimately obtained new rights in Saudi Arabia and gain strength within women networks. Nevertheless sexual harassment exists like in many other countries too. In an interview with ifa she talks about political and social changes in Saudi Arabia.

Engagement against islamistic motivated extremism

The Battle of Narratives

ifa | Aizat Shamsuddin knows how attractive and captivating the offerings of religious fundamentalists can be. He himself was part of the Salafist movement in Malaysia, an ultra-conservative movement within Islam. He then came across the ideals of a progressive interpretation of Islam. This information opened up a new world to him: A world, in which Islam is understood as a source of dignity, justice, compassion and love for all humanity.

Black People disappear from Argentina

Contemporary And: Argentina's Black Legacy

Relationship Status: It's Complicated

C& | Argentina holds a barely recognized mystery: the disappearance of its black people. In the 17th century up to 30 percent of the population in Buenos Aires was black. Yet, they never played a role in Argentinas official history and identity. Black people seem to have disappeared from the country. In her project "The return of the repressed" artist Adriana Bustos reveals what actually happened to a large part of Argentinas people.

Photo: Vito Barros (CC0 1.0), via unsplash

Working paper

The role of culture in preventing and reducing violent extremism

More Europe | Political scientist Asiem El Difraoui explores how cultural activities and of inter-cultural as well as inter-religious dialogue can help prevent and reduce violent extremism. The working paper includes recommendations for further exploration of the issue by policy-makers, cultural institutions and stakeholders.

Photo courtsey of the artist

Eman al-Awami documents her perspective on the situation in Yemen

Through the Eyes of Coffee

zivik | Eman al-Awami was one of the thousands of Yemenis who were harmed by the ongoing war. She lost her job, had to change her daily routine, and had to say goodbye to a number of friends who left the country. Coffee was the only thing that remained the same and didn’t escape. In her photo series "Through the Eyes of Coffee", she reflects her view of the world through the small surface of her coffee in its cup. The series was published in Al-Madaniya, a magazine funded by the ifa progamme zivik.

Multiple Modernen, Photo: Markus Spiske (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

Multiple Modernities

The great shock

ifa | Will we be able to get modernity under control? Not quite, says the philosopher Ken'ichi Mishima. 
Interview by Sebastian Blottner 

Photo: Ian Espinosa (CC0), via Unsplash

Former Lebanese Combatants Promoting a Culture of Peace

Fighters for Peace

ifa | For 15 years a civil war raged in Lebanon, until the Taif Peace Agreement sealed its end in 1989 and guaranteed a general amnesty for all those who were involved in the conflict. But the war is still a blind spot in Lebanese collective memory today. In the Lebanese organization Fighters for Peace, former combatants face the past and publicly advocate a culture of peace and reconciliation in Lebanon. The project is currently supported by the ifa funding programme zivik.

CCP Fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi at the Workshop in Stuttgart, November 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

Interview with CrossCulture fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi

'Yemen needs peace to breathe'

ifa | 'While there is development in Germany, you can only find destruction in Yemen', says Ashwaq Al-Gobi. The young CrossCulture fellow comes from the crisis-ridden Yemen. Since 2015, the southernmost country of the Arabian Peninsula has been experiencing one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. In November 2017, we met Ashwaq during our intercultural workshop to talk about the conflict in Yemen and her experiences in Germany.
Interview by Christina Palau

Photo: Rodion Kutsaev, via Unsplash

Research Programme "Culture and Foreign Policy"

"Cultural exchange forms the lifeline of dialogue between societies"

ifa | Sanctions affect not only the political, but also the cultural relations between two countries. ifa's recently published study on the "Side Effects of Sanctions" identifies this clearly. In this discussion, author Christian von Soest gives an insight into the issues and background of, but also possible solutions for the strained relationship between sanctions and culture. For von Soest, cultural exchange represents the "lifeline" that is formed by social dialogue. He emphasises that the side effects from sanctions need not inevitably be negative; they could simultaneously be a fresh impetus for promoting enhanced civic commitment.
By Isabell Scheidt

CrossCulture Tour

'Theatre of the Oppressed' by Ramshid Rashidpour, Iran

In 'Theatre of the Oppressed', Iranian Ramshid Rashidpour aims to raise political awareness and combine it with a liberating educational function. The destination of the theatrical journey taken by the Iranian-German cast is not fixed, as the plot development and dialogue are largely determined by the audience. Only one thing is certain: 'Theatre of the Oppressed' merges democratic processes and shared ideas and solutions to create a promising entertainment format.

Karim Ghantous (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

Reading in times of conflict

Kurdistan's Book Café | More than 3,500 books in Kurdish, Arabic and English can be found in the 'Book Cafe'. Rafan al-Ta'i opened this one of a kind café in Erbil despite procurement difficulties, financial barriers and the 'tumultuous security situation'. Regardless of many obstacles, she created a place that lets people forget what happens outside the cafe. By Sahar Moqaddem

Darul Aman Palace in Kabul; Photo: Bruce MacRae (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), via Flickr


The strong women of Darul Aman | 'This is our cultural heritage: We have to preserve it', says Wazhma Kurram a twenty-six year-old structural architect. Together with 50 other architects and engineers Wazhma works on site of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace. Once built to house Afghanistan's parliament the building is currently in a war-torn state. As part of an entirely Afghan project Kurram and her colleagues aim to set a peaceful example in the midst of war. By Sandra Petersmann

Kimberly Farmer (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

A Fresh Look at Crisis Prevention

'PeaceLab 2016'

GPPi | After one year of various debates the summary of the project 'PeaceLab 2016' has been published. A diverse group of stakeholders from the German government, civil society, academia, and the parliament discussed different aspects of Germany's role in crisis prevention and peacebuilding. The project was initialized by the 'German Foreign Ministry' and various German ministers, such as former Foreign Minister Steinmeier, were part of the debates. The final report gives ideas for German government guidelines on this topic.

Rafah, Gaza; Photo: DYKT Mohigan (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr

Comedy made in Gaza

No escaping life in Gaza | From Reham al-Kahlout’s point of view "comedy is the best way to get people to change". The 19-year-old Palestinian is the only woman in the young comedy troupe called "Bas ya zalma". Other than her male colleagues she has to cope with repeated harassment and criticism, but quitting is not an option for the fierce comedian. By Peter Münch

Photo: Markus Petriz (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

Emancipation in Afghanistan

Breaking down cyber barriers

ifa | By teaching girls programming and computer literacy, two sisters in Afghanistan have triggered something of a digital revolution.

Memorial to honour Gebran Tueni, Lebanese journalist who was killed in 2005. photo © ifa/Pfordte


From Amnesty to Amnesia

ifa | "In Lebanon, repression has become a permanent state of mind," says the journalist and Orientalist Monika Borgmann. With the archive "UMAM Documentation & Research", founded in 2004, she attempts to fill the gaps in the country's collective memory. In her latest documentary "Tadmor", former Lebanese detainees break their silence. The theatrical release at different cinemas in Switzerland starts on 9 March 2017.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte

Eustaquio Santimano (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

Culture Report, EUNIC Yearbook

Ukraine goes into extra time

The cities that hosted Euro 2012 are currently at war, despite the ceasefire. There is now fighting in places where the ideals of friendship between peoples were once celebrated. Hopes that Ukraine could move a step closer to central Europe by hosting this mega sports event in conjunction with Poland have been shattered. What remains? Writer and football fan Serhij Zhadan reports from a war-weary country on the outer edges of Europe.
By Serhij Zhadan

[] Foto: Hala Elkoussy, My Cairo, edition esefeld & traub, 2014


"There’s nothing left of the euphoria on Tahrir Square"

"MYCAI – My Cairo" is the title of the book published by Jörg Armbruster in late 2014 with the Syrian, German-speaking writer Suleman Taufiq. On the occasion of the book launch in the ifa Gallery in Stuttgart, we spoke with him about his Cairo, the "Arab Spring" and his long-standing work as ARD foreign correspondent for the Middle East.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte

Poster in the Palestinian refugee camp Burj Al Barjneh; © photo: ifa / Grassmann


Creating perspectives and space to grow – cultural projects in Lebanese refugee camps

ifa | Leila Mousa, ifa expert for the 'Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy in refugee camps' research project.
Interview by Dorothea Grassmann

Catalogue of the ifa-Library

[] ifa-Bibliothek

News / Press Releases

Pakistan and India: Changing Minds, Winning Peace | 16.05.2018

Reviving cultural cooperation

How an Indian Filmmaker curated the first Pakistan International Film Festival. | 13.05.2018
Scott Webb, via Unsplash