The German Commission for UNESCO in Bonn is Germany’s voice in UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Some 100 members contribute their expertise and work closely with UNESCO’s global network.
Culture creates ties
Culture and education are mainstays of German foreign policy. Intercultural dialogue and respect for other cultures create familiarity, trust and understanding between people from different countries. Photograph right: The old city of Sanaa in Yemen is a World Heritage Site.
“The preservation of the world’s heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity are UNESCO’s most powerful tools”, says Irina Bokova, Director-General of Unesco.
Protection of cultural heritage
The Federal Foreign Office helps developing countries preserve their cultural heritage. It has supported over 2,350 projects in 142 countries since 1981. In addition to the restoration of historic buildings, knowledge transfer to local experts is also part of the cultural preservation programme.
Scientists from Cologne University of Applied Sciences are helping to preserve the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. Using state-of-the-art working methods, they are painstakingly restoring the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s sandstone reliefs and training restoration experts.
New life prospects through sport
Germany’s international sport promotion conveys such values as fairness, tolerance and team spirit, thus contributing to conflict management. Since 1961 the Federal Foreign Office has implemented more than 1,300 projects in popular and disability sport and provided training for coaches.
Boosting township children’s self-confidence with a basketball school in Namibia, promoting girls’ soccer in Laos and pioneering work in disability sport in Cambodia: Germany’s international promotion of sports is based on the idea of development through sport.
Enthusiasm for the german language
The Federal Foreign Office’s initiative called Schools, Partners for the Future, which was launched in 2008, awakens interest in German and modern Germany. Since then, 430 additional schools have been offering the German Language Certificate; 510 new schools have introduced and expanded German teaching.
100 enthusiastic children are learning German at the Gara Typical School in the northern Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan. The school near Erbil is one of 1,500 worldwide that are part of a network called Schools, Partners for the Future.
Dialogue between cultures
The Federal Foreign Office promotes understanding between the “West” and the Islamic world. This exchange of values, standpoints and opinions does not shy away from controversy. Youth activities and initiatives like the qantara trilingual portal play an important role.
The Goethe-Institut and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) foster dialogue between people on art and culture. The international cultural voluntary service kulturweit for young people is run by the German Commission for UNESCO and sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office.